For many, owning a business is their dream. They want to bring their idea into reality, whether it’s a craft store, a car detailing service, a corner diner, or any other type of business. However, creating a small business is no easy task, and a lot of planning is required for it to succeed. No small business is launched overnight, and success doesn’t come immediately. Thankfully, there are blueprints from previous owners, words of advice from entrepreneurs, and other helpful tips and tricks that can help. “Every business owner, no matter how niche the industry or specific the product, can learn something from who came before,” says Olivia Tan, the co-founder of CocoFax. So learn, learn, learn! Check out these 10 mistakes small business owners make, and when you’ve finished, be proactive about avoiding them. After all, a fool learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
Lack of a Business Plan
Not having a business plan is a surefire way to sabotage your business before you even start it. It isn’t enough to simply say that you want to sell handmade crafts – you need to understand where your audience is, how much to charge, where your materials will come from, the overhead costs, whether or not you’ll need employees, the rent of a premises, and so much more. Jumping into a business without proper planning is a guaranteed way to fail.
Instead, sit down and draw up a plan – or speak with a consultant to get on the right track.
No Marketing Strategy
While your business plan is the outline for the logistical side of your company, your marketing strategy is the plan for how you’ll reach customers and advertise your services. Relying on referrals and word of mouth is not great – you’ll need to come up with ideas on how to market your business, whether it’s taking advertisements out in the paper, running online ads, pushing your website, and more.
Visit a marketing expert for a consultation, and do your research on your target audience.
Spending Too Much
When you launch a business, you need to be careful with your budget and expenditures. If you’re not careful, you could lose your money or waste it on a bunch of stuff you don’t need or materials you won’t use. You might even overspend on rent for too large of a space.
Work with an accountant or financial advisor to ensure that you’re spending your money smartly, not sinking into debt.
No Business Insurance
You should look into various business insurance policies depending on the type of company you want to start. If you plan to hire drivers, for example, you’ll need commercial auto insurance. Without insurance for you, your business, and your workers, you’re risking the livelihood of everyone.
You can talk with your current insurance provider to see if they offer any bundles.
Hasty Hiring Decisions
If you need employees, be sure you’ve got the right fit for the job. If you try to rush the hiring process, you’ll end up with unqualified workers who will not help the business grow or who will ruin relationships with clients. As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you’ve got the right team on your side.
Always take the time to go through interviews and fully decide if an employee is right for your business.
Not Following Labor Guidelines
After hiring employees, you have to familiarize yourself with labor guidelines, such as overtime hours, work and safety protocols, worker’s rights, sick leave, and more. Not following these guidelines can land you in hot water and lead to fines, lawsuits, and suspensions.
Speak with an attorney to make certain that you aren’t violating any labor laws.
Contracts are perfect documents to show proof of work you plan to do and what you’re going to receive in return. Without written agreements, there is no way to determine who is owed anything, and you might suddenly see yourself out of a lot of money with no way to recoup it.
Search for sample contracts from other businesses in your industry and use the template if you have never written a contract before.
New business owners often think that their company is going to blow up overnight. They imagine that success is just on the horizon and that they can hurry through the process. Yet being impatient is one of the fastest ways to become extremely disappointed – obstacles, roadblocks, and other issues come up all the time, and you have to deal with them.
Instead of being impatient, find a way to channel your energy into more productive areas of the business. You should identify what is potentially holding you back and redouble your efforts into correcting it.
Not Protecting Intellectual Property
If you aren’t careful, your intellectual property can be used by competitors and other individuals as their own. They can resell it and profit off it. Without adequate protection of your intellectual property, your business is vulnerable.
Contact a copyright attorney or other lawyer to guarantee that your intellectual property remains wholly your own.
Failure to Engage with Customers
Customer engagement is important, and it’s a part of marketing, in a sense. With deals, promotions, and more, you can net customers you otherwise wouldn’t have coming to your business. However, this isn’t all – you have to make sure that you’re open with your clients or that you’re actively speaking with people. Brand loyalty for small businesses is hard to cultivate, but if you prove to customers that you’re at the helm and that you’re a responsive, responsible, active business owner, they’ll be much more likely to return to your store – and refer you to others, too.
You might need to hire a customer relations employee, a social media manager, or someone else if you’re too busy to always interact with customers.
Marketing for Your Small Business
Promotion LA is your trusted company for marketing your small business. We are dedicated to each and every client we have, and we believe in the little guy. To learn more and receive a free consultation about maximizing your reach and marketing your business, contact Promotion LA today.