10 Common Business Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
Starting a business can be an amazing adventure.
But only if you learn what business mistakes to avoid before you jump in.
Business mistakes can be costly.
They can drain you of your resources, time, energy and your sanity.
So it’s important to know what to avoid before you get started.
Here are the 10 common business mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Business Mistakes Are Made When You Listen to Everyone
Whether you just started a business or you’ve owned a business for awhile, everyone will offer you their advice.
Whether they know what they’re talking about or not.
Often their advice starts out with, “you know what you should do?”
Even if an expert is providing the advice, it doesn’t mean he or she is right.
And it doesn’t mean you have to follow it.
Trust your gut. And trust you’ll probably make a few business mistakes as you’re learning to trust yourself.
Listen to all advice but only follow through on what makes the best sense for you and your business.
2. Paying for Cheap Advice
You learn quickly that in business, you definitely get what you paid for.
So if you’re trying to save a few bucks by hiring a low-priced accountant, you’re going to get a low-priced accountant’s advice.
The decision to hire a professional based on cost rather than experience can be a costly business mistake.
If you choose to hire a professional for help or advice, make sure they are experts on the specific points you have questions on.
If you’re the, “I can do this myself” type, then get used to finding out how many costly business mistakes you can make by trying to become an expert in law, accounting, and marketing.
Often it’s worth the time, money and effort for you to outsource your needs to a well known professional.
3. Ignoring the Competition
Business mistakes are made when you underestimate the competition.
Worse business mistakes are made when you flat out ignore the competition.
Here’s what you can learn when you properly research your competition:
- What products or services they offer
- What marketing efforts they’re investing in
- What sets you apart from your competition
- What your competition is doing wrong
- What your competition is doing right
- If there are possibilities to align with your competition: Yes, that’s right. Sometimes you or your competition may offer something the other doesn’t. Having an ally versus an enemy can bring in lots of unexpected business.
4. Bad or Non-Existent Marketing
A huge business mistake is made when you think anyone can find your business without investing in any kind of marketing.
How do you expect to find customers?
A smart business owner invests in marketing because they know it will provide them with the income they need to continue working on the business.
There are countless ways to market your business.
But first, you need a strategy. Then you need to know your budget.
After that, it’s simply a matter of placing your business exactly where your customers happen to be.
Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, here are steps you can take to get your business noticed:
- Have an Elevator Pitch – In 60 seconds or less, know how to sell your business to anyone you meet. It’s free but powerful.
- Think Locally: Sponsor a local 5k, print bookmarks for your local library or handout dog bones with your business card attached. Get creative, but get out there!
- Collaborate: If two heads are better than one, then two businesses promoting together will get your more bang for your buck.
5. Not Getting Or Being Organized
Did you know being disorganized causes anxiety? And depression?
Clutter also forces you to:
- Lose items easily
- Lose track of time
- Cost you more money
- Force you to work longer and harder
- Make you look unprofessional
Know what you own and why. Know where you keep it. The more systems you put in place, the more productive you’ll become.
Countless business mistakes are made when the business owner or the business itself is disorganized.
- Know your priorities: What is important to you and your business? Write them down. This will help you reach your goals more quickly.
- Set boundaries: Set boundaries with employees, customers, business associates and even yourself. Use your priorities to help you set appropriate boundaries that will lead you your goals.
- Make smart business decisions: You know what your priorities are. You have set healthy boundaries. This system will help you then make smarter decisions based on what your goals are and the boundaries you’ve set.
- Identify and create effective systems: You want to invest your time and energy into solving the hard problems rather than wasting time reinventing the wheel. Creating effective systems that are easy to use will help you streamline your business and save time and money.
6. Not Having Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
What’s the point of owning a business if you don’t have goals?
Is your goal to make money?
If so, how much? And by when do you expect to earn that money?
What about business growth? What are your expectations on that?
So many business mistakes are made when the owners fail to plan.
Every business should have short-term goals and long-term goals.
There should also be a well-thought out strategy to achieve those goals.
Here are some steps anyone can take to help them set and reach their business goals:
- Be precise: You can’t achieve it if you don’t have a clear picture of what you want. Write your goals down and add as many details as possible.
- Set performance goals rather than achievement goals: This will help keep you motivated.
- Make them realistic: Nothing can throw you from your goals more than being unrealistic. If you’re broke and in debt then it may not be a realistic goal to become a millionaire in 6 months.
7. Doing It All Yourself
Just like no man is an island, no business is self-contained.
If you’re doing everything yourself, you’re opening yourself up to making a bunch of business mistakes.
Business mistakes that can cost you:
- Extra hours working: You keep thinking you can rest on the weekends but somehow those hours are also spent working. Do that too much and you could wind up battling some serious exhaustion issues.
- Money that you were trying to save now goes toward fixing the error you made: Money comes in, money goes out. Psychologically and physically, doing it yourself can quickly become a drain on your systems.
- Energy: Not only do you need the energy to get the work done, you need the energy to keep the business going. And you also need the energy to keep your private life going. Having someone else bear part of the load ensures you have time for everything.
- Relationships: Every relationship from clients to parents to friends and even the relationship with yourself can suffer if you try to go it alone.
- Customers: It’s hard to be patient when you’re exhausted or overwhelmed or struggling. It’s also difficult if you’re not a people person. Not everyone should be out in front of the customers. If you aren’t, hire someone who is.
A successful business knows when it’s time to hire a new employee, outsource and delegate.
8. Not Giving Back To Yourself
When you give everything to everyone else you have nothing left.
When it comes to business mistakes, this one is common for most business owners.
They give and forget to give to themselves.
Here’s where a business owner should remember to give back to themselves:
- Pay yourself first and pay yourself so you can live
- Take breaks
- Have fun
- Eat healthy foods
- Get enough rest
The business can only be healthy if you are. The business can only thrive when you do.
Take care of yourself first and only then will you truly be able to share 100% of yourself with others.
9. Choosing the Wrong Partners, Employees, & Tribe Can Cost You
Remember the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?
Business mistakes are made when you align yourself with the wrong partner(s), employees or tribe.
A tribe are other business owners you tend to network and socialize with.
It’s vital to make wise decisions about who you spend time with. It’s vital to surround yourself with a team of professionals just as dedicated to success as you are.
You want to be surrounded by positive, trustworthy people.
They can literally make or break you. Especially if you have to break ties with an employee or worse yet, your business partner.
Choose wisely who you spend time with and especially who you choose to do business with.
Debt is a hard thing to get out from under.
Overspending is so easy to do. It’s a business mistake that anyone can make without even thinking about it.
It’s all too easy to overspend on typical things like:
- Office Space
- Meals & Entertainment
- Business Travel (hotels, etc)
Until you have a real sense of what your monthly income is, be wary of making big investments.
You want to avoid credit card debt as much as possible.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you start a business. While it’s extremely fun, it can also be hard, frustrating and time-consuming.
Making sure you get the right advice at the right time can save you time, energy and money.
Looking for more business advice? We’ve got you covered.