The Top Mistakes of Small Businesses to Avoid at All Costs

Starting a small business is hard work, no one would argue with that. And one of the biggest problems is that there are so many potential mistakes just waiting for you to make.

We all learn from our mistakes, but wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to make them in the first place? When it comes to your business, a mistake can be very costly. Here are some of the top mistakes that you can avoid when starting your own small business.

Doing Too Much

Business owners are enthusiastic and driven, and that’s a great thing. But that also means it is easy to do too much too soon—and risk burnout. If that happens, your productivity will drop and you could put the whole success of your business at risk.

Don’t focus on too many things at the same time. Instead, prioritize tasks each day and week to ensure you are doing a reasonable amount of work and not pushing yourself too hard.

Make sure you delegate tasks where possible. You cannot do everything yourself, even though you may feel like you have to, and that is why you hire employees. And if you don’t have employees, outsource tasks where necessary.

Hiring the Wrong Employees

Your employees are your business. You’ve got to make sure you don’t hire time wasters or people who are not going to give you their all, so you need to take your time over hiring. Yes, it takes time and effort, but the results are worth it.

You want people who share your vision, people who are prepared to give you everything. They won’t all work out, but the more long-term, loyal employees you can find, the better.

Get more people involved in the hiring process if you can, and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions so you can really understand the people you hire.

Failing to Keep Your Employees Happy

Once you have gone to the effort to hiring the right employees, you want to keep them happy. One of the main ways to do this is to respect their work-life balance. You may want to work all hours of the day on your business, but they will not.

You want them to be productive, but by overworking them you risk them becoming overwhelmed, and that’s when productivity can suffer. Instead, let them know you appreciate their work, and reward them for doing well. You could even attract better people to work for you if you offer them a flexible working arrangement and good staff benefits.

Not Having a Clear Vision

You need a clear vision when you are starting out. You need to know your products, your services, and where you are going. You are the leader, and your employees will follow you.

A clear vision helps you to meet your goals and ensure that you are all working towards the same objectives. So make sure you know where you want to be in one year, five years, and further down the line.

You need to define the market and know your target audience. Don’t just assume something is a good idea and invest everything you have in it, and instead carry out detailed market research to ensure you are going in the right direction from the start.

Not Marketing Enough

Marketing can seem like a waste of money—money that you don’t have when you are starting out. But it is essential. Whether you are launching a new product or running a used car dealership, you need to reach out to your customers effectively from day one.

One of the problems is that there are so many marketing options to choose from. If your budget is low, start with online marketing. There are many cost-effective techniques to choose from, and many of these are highly measurable so you know when you are spending your money wisely.

Build your email list and send regular newsletters, start publishing a weekly blog, launch a PPC campaign, and ensure you have a presence on social media—none of these will cost you much, and they can all help you to start finding customers.

Having Unreal Expectations

Perhaps the biggest mistake of all when starting out is to have unreal expectations. Success is not something that will come overnight, and it could well take a long time and a lot of hard work. Be prepared for this and know that it will not come easily. This is going to be a long journey, and you are only at the very beginning.

Avoid These Mistakes when Starting Your Small Business

Making these mistakes can have a serious impact on the success of your business. Of course you will make some mistakes along the way because it is inevitable, and you will learn from these. But there is no reason to make the above mistakes because they are easily avoided, so watch out for them and give your small business the best chance possible to be successful.

Ray Greaves has been providing business consultancy services to SME’s for many years. He is keen to share his insights with an online audience and has already written for a number of business-orientated websites.