Entrepreneurial ventures are fraught with missteps, mishaps, and mistakes. No matter how steeped you are in business-ownership experience, you are bound to run into problems at some point. The key to your success is to quickly identify your mistakes, learn from them, and prevent them from happening again.
Here is a list of ten of the most common and harmful things small business owners can do to keep their brand from becoming successful, and how you can avoid following in their footsteps.
10. Trying to Get Rich Quick
Don’t be fooled by the idea of overnight success, on average it usually takes 15 to 20 years to achieve a financially viable company. If you go into business expecting to be rich overnight, you may become discouraged early on and give up your dream prematurely.
Know that success takes time, perseverance, and a little bit of luck. Give your business the time to grow. Remember, only if your company is stagnant for a long time should you take it as an indication that you need to try something new.
9. Assuming You Have No Competition
Even if you have an utterly unique approach to running your brand or developing your products, never assume that you have no competition. Competition is more than just the direct, obvious competitors. Competition is also all the available alternatives.
Consider what else could the consumer do instead of using your product or service? The customer almost always has the option of walking away, and that alone is a serious competitive threat.
8. Being a Weak Leader
The success of your company is contingent on you being a strong, effective leader. This does not mean you need to be an authoritarian, but you also shouldn’t be everyone’s buddy. A great leader walks the line between being direct and working with others to get a project done.
You are responsible for setting the course for the company, and therefore you need to always be sure you are communicating it constantly and inspiring your team to get to the next level.
7. Not Having a Work-Life Balance
Many entrepreneurs put their personal lives on hold to focus exclusively on their businesses. However, doing this causes both to suffer. There is no question your business needs your full attention and effort, but only in measured amounts.
Just like an elite athlete in training, you need to have a proper, healthy diet, get enough rest, and take breaks. Balance your personal and business life, and you will find both will thrive.
6. Setting Unrealistic Financial Goals
Many entrepreneurs go into new ventures planning astronomical returns. Yet most never even get the business off the ground. Unrealistic goals not only hurt your credibility, but can also be an emotional drain and make you feel demotivated. Set specific, measurable, accountable, realistic, and time specific (or SMART) goals to ensure continual progress and build your brand.
5. Having No Purpose
It is vital to identify and clearly communicate your business’s ethics and mission statement. People are driven to serve an important purpose, in addition to getting a paycheck. Many businesses never define their real purpose for existence, and continually attract a mix of employees who are seeking success in different ways.
Clarify the purpose of your company, beyond just making money, and you set the stage for attracting like-minded employees. A team focused on the same goal is a very powerful force.
4. Cutting Prices
Often, the first thing entrepreneurs resort to when business is tough is to try differentiating on price. Yet this can often lead to even worse economic situations. Most customers are willing to buy more expensive items because of the greater quality or the added convenience.
During tough economic times, an increase in price, coupled with improvements in quality or convenience, can drive customers to your door. Remember that cutting costs is a dangerous game, which could lead to slashing employees or salaries to keep costs down.
3. Having No Clear Marketing Strategy
Prospective customers can hear about your business anywhere, and it is paramount to make a good first impression. If you have a mix of messages in your advertising campaigns, the prospects will have an unclear expectation of what your business can offer. Your company must present a consistent, clear message on all fronts. Make sure every new prospect who sees your business for the first time receives the same coherent message.
2. Not Being Honest
In the modern era, the anonymous nature and grand scope of the Internet allows people to share anything with anyone at anytime, including their thoughts on your company. It’s natural to make mistakes—particularly in the turbulent business world—but if your business tries to cover up a mistake it is just a matter of time before word leaks and your brand’s reputation is tarnished.
Be the one to break your own bad news to clients and shareholders, and you will be perceived as honest and trustworthy.
1. Trying to Do Everything
The greatest mistake entrepreneurs make is to believe they can do it all by themselves. Just like any other person, an entrepreneur has one or two natural talents, and it is your job to identify those talents and focus on them to your fullest.
Surround yourself with people who are strong where your talents are weakest. Great companies are built on the foundation of exploiting a few strengths and using that to their advantage.
It would be foolish to say this article covers everything you, as a business owner, should avoid. You should be cautious of everything on this list but it’s important you don’t overthink what you’re doing.
Many small businesses fall victim to one of the things on this list. It doesn’t necessarily mean your business will fail, but it does mean you have to be prepared to adapt and learn new things! Running a small business is a process of learning – you’ll encounter many stumbling blocks. The important thing is to know when you need help!
If you would like to learn more about how Floodmaker can help you and your company flourish, contact us today!