Going into business for yourself can be exciting and educational at the same time. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful, but by avoiding some common small business mistakes, you will have a better chance of seeing the growth you expect and avoiding the need to hire a crisis communications team. Here are some of the pitfalls you should avoid when getting your business off the ground.
1. Failing to listen to those who’ve been there. Believing in yourself is essential to success, but you shouldn’t get cocky. Realize that you DON’T have all the answers, and get help from a crisis management training team, accountants, attorneys, and others who can help you with some of your business’ more technical aspects. It’s also a good idea to find a mentor who’s involved in the same industry as you, who can provide valuable insight. You also need to have your communication skills excellent in a language like English, when you are going to start a business or already a businessman to learn in a better way from successful businesses around you.
2. Not having a business plan. You’ve probably been warned not to proceed unless you have a business plan; this is good advice, but you shouldn’t create one off-the-cuff. Carefully assemble it, and it will become a key component in your success. Apart from that, you should also take care of social media for maintaining your brand’s reputation. You must understand common reputation ruining factors on social media.
3. Choosing a bad location. Nothing will run a new business into the ground faster than choosing a poor location. You should find one that’s both visible and accessible; when selecting a site or brand, the needs of your customers, the local competition, and the image of the businesses around you.
4. Not knowing your customers. Before you begin building your brand through advertising, you should get acquainted with your target audience. Learn who they are and decide what you have to offer them, and then craft your marketing strategy accordingly.
5. Failing to maintain your brand. When making a name for your business, keep a constant image across each advertising medium you use. Marketing only in print, on the Internet, or on television will severely limit your audience. Show the world your best “face” by using multiple ad media, and time your new campaigns to coincide with releases of new services, products and discounts.
6. Forgetting about your current customers. Almost 80% of your customers are repeat buyers; don’t focus so intently on recruiting new customers that you neglect the ones you already have. Periodically rewarding them for being loyal is a good way to show your gratitude.
7. Not being diligent about collecting outstanding balances. Knowing how to collect on overdue accounts without offending customers is an essential skill. If you’re scared to talk money, your business will likely not succeed. If an account is more than a month overdue, send another invoice as a reminder.
8. Trying to do it all. Decide which tasks you should handle and which you should delegate to someone else. If necessary, hire a clerk, an accountant or a receptionist. Use their help to your advantage, and save your time for the really important things.
Taking care of your brand means paying attention to a variety of factors. By seeking help when necessary, choosing a good location, maintaining your brand and knowing your customers (both current and potential), you can avoid many of the mistakes that small business owners make.