No matter who you are or what your business is, starting and managing a business can be pretty difficult. If you are starting a business or if you are researching because you are planning to start one, keep one thing in mind: the biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you won’t make any. And while mistakes are not good, they are not necessarily bad; you should learn from them. However, learning from the experience and the mistakes of other businesses and entrepreneurs is even better.
Here are some of the most common mistakes business owners make, and the simple solution of avoiding them.
1. Failing to Plan
There is an old saying that goes: “When you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Maybe the most common mistake that small business owners make is failing to plan. Not having a business plan will lead to struggling to make decisions, bringing investors on board, or getting loans. Overall, without a business plan, you won’t be able to guide your startup and its growth.
Solution: There are plenty of helpful tools to help you write a business plan available. A good example is BPlans.com, which offers free sample business plans and free business plan templates that any business owner can use.
2. Skipping Market Research
It is absolutely terrifying to know that some entrepreneurs start their businesses based on a cursory survey or friends’ and family’s word. Without a well-defined target market, the business will struggle to compete, and that is why taking the needed time to do extensive market research is necessary.
Solution: Conduct thorough market research and pinpoint your target customer base as narrowly as possible. You can also use secondary sources (a good example is Census data) and primary sources, such as holding focus groups or surveying prospective customers. Take the time to research and gather the most information you can.
3. Not Putting Agreements In Writing
When you land a partnership or a new client, you may be so excited that you neglect to iron out all the details and jump right into getting started. This mistake can cause massive problems if something goes wrong or a misunderstanding arises (most severe ones can even include lawsuits).
Solution: Before providing a service or product or entering a business relationship, you should always insist on a written contract. You can use templates that are available at websites such as Rocket Lawyer to draft contracts and then have an attorney review them.
4. Not Having A Website
Starting a business, but not bothering to tell your potential customers about it via the website, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a small business owner. Digital technology and the Internet have influenced our lives and our work so much, and it is shocking to know that a very small percentage of small business owners bother to make a website. Websites hold a lot of potentials, and it is a huge mistake not to utilize it.
Solution: A lot of web-hosting companies offer to host, design, maintain, and market your website for you, for prices as low as a few dollars a month.
5. Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Sometimes, business owners get carried away in the process, and they try to play all the roles in the business. But hiring the appropriate people and finding the right services are crucial components to maximizing your success and can provide you with the support that you need in the first days. You can’t do it all, and you should not even try.
Solution: Get a great answering service. Use a virtual bookkeeping service. Hire the workers you need.