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Small Business
Resource Center > Article
10 Mistakes Small Businesses Make
14 Sep 10 Posted by: Zipporah Porton
in Running Your Own Business
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Everyone makes mistakes in their business efforts, so there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Mistakes are only a bad thing if you don’t learn from them. Here are some common mistakes people make when starting a business and advice on how to avoid them:

1.      Starting before you’re ready. Getting a business opportunity going is an exciting prospect, but be careful not to jump the gun and dive in before you have all of your ducks in a row. Waiting an extra day, week or month to make sure you’re truly ready could be the difference between a business that fails and one that succeeds.

2.      Not spending enough money. The old saying is true ― you have to spend money to make money. There is often a reason things are cheap, and spending a little extra money in the beginning can save you a headache down the road. There are many ways to cut corners when necessary, but be sure that you are spending enough money to create a business that is well-run and primed for success.

3.      Spending too much money. There is a fine balance between spending too much money, not spending enough money and getting the ratio correct. There is no reason to purchase fancy furniture for your home-based business if you don’t plan on having any meetings there. Comfortable chairs from IKEA will serve the same purpose, allowing you to spend money on more important items for your work-at-home business when you really need to.

4.      Not giving your website enough attention. No matter what business opportunity you are pursuing, you must have a website that accurately explains what your potential clients can accomplish by using your service or product and that tells them how to get a hold of you. A useful and easy-to-follow website makes your business appear legitimate to new customers. You don’t need to include complicated features that will blow your budget, but potential clients will need to know the facts, and a website that looks professional speaks volumes.

5.      Focusing on too many things. If you’ve never started a business before, then take it one step at a time. Launch your most marketable idea first, and build from that success. If you try to do too many things at once you could fail at all of them.

6.      Not giving your workers credit. Whether you’ve just got one person working for you or an entire team, your employees comprise the backbone of the company. Be careful who you hire, and treat them with the respect they deserve. If you’re unable to pay employees a lot at the start, then reward them in other ways, such as with verbal appreciation or a free lunch.

7.      Hiring your friends without expectations. Who else can you trust to help get your business going other than your closest friends? But be careful…if you’re not paying them, then your business opportunity probably isn’t their top priority. You don’t need a notarized contract, but you should sit down and have an honest conversation about your mutual expectations, as well as how your friends will be involved when your business takes off. If they are true friends, then they will understand where you’re coming from and vice versa.

8.      Being inflexible. Life is unpredictable, and so is starting a business. You’ve created a concise business plan that you’d like to follow to the “T,” but nine times out of 10 you’re going to encounter a problem that you didn’t expect. Do not throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble. Instead, make adjustments and handle each curve ball as it comes at you.

9.      Trying it alone. Hard as you try, there is no way you can successfully run a business completely on your own. Whether you’re in need of accounting help or someone to spruce up your website, it’s impossible to be an expert in every field. Look to others to help you get your business off the ground and keep it running smoothly so that you can properly focus on whatever it is that you do best.

10.  Forgetting to have fun. Chances are you want to start your own business because you have a killer idea or you’re tired of working a 9-5 desk job. No matter what your reason, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then your business will not last. As the owner of a small business, your attitude directly affects those that work for you, as well as your clients that you’re aiming to please. Be sure to keep a positive outlook at all times and take a moment to enjoy what you’re doing along the way.

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