Ten Common Small Business Mistakes
Small businesses are the backbone of every economy in every country. Yet, their contribution is hardly recognized. Every multinational company we have today, was once a small business. Until they achieve success and get recognition from their peers and customers, running a small business on a limited budget, in this tough economy, is a huge challenge. Small business owners face problems from large businesses, government regulations, customer complaints and the freedom the Internet gives to disgruntled people and jealous competitors to write whatever negative remarks they want to post about the companies they want to bring down. This is apart from the overhead expenses you incur and the payments you have to make to the dealers, the credit card companies, IRS, banks, insurance companies and advertising agencies. If you are running an e-commerce business, you will have more problems, including the credit card fraud and loss of shipments. If you are not careful, you will end up losing lot of money as refunds for missing packages and charge backs for the frauds committed by criminals for which Merchant Services holds you solely responsible. In these circumstances, small business owners have to exercise great caution while running their businesses. The following article presents ten common mistakes small business owners should avoid while running their business enterprise. Jayaram V
1. Getting Wedded To an Idea And Sticking With It Too Long.
Don't marry a single idea. Remember, ideas are the currency of entrepreneurs. Play with many ideas and see which ones bring money and success.
2. No Marketing Plan.
A marketing plan creates the kind of attention you need to get in front of the right types of people, companies, etc. It is what attracts people to you! There may be as many as 25 ways to market your business at no or low cost. A good marketing plan implemented effectively, efficiently, elegantly and consistently, will eliminate the need for "cold calls!" (See below for how to create a results driven marketing plan).
3. Not Knowing Your Customers.
Changes in your customers' preferences and your competitors' products and services can leave you in the dust unless you get to know your customers well, what they want now and will likely want in the future, what their buying patterns are, and how you can be a resource for them even if you don't have the right products or services for them now! (See below for low cost techniques to gather facts about your customers and the people you'd like to have for customers).
4. Ignoring Your Cash Position.
The world (aka customers) doesn't respond to even superior products in the timeframe that you think they should. You'll need plenty of cash to sustain yourself in the meantime. (See below for how to forecast your cash needs and protect yourself from cash crisis situations).
5. Ignoring Employees.
Motivating, coaching and managing your staff is probably one of your toughest challenges as an entrepreneur/business owner today! Without your patience, persistence and "people skills," your problems can multiply quickly. Morale, productivity AND PROFITS can easily be destroyed! (See below for how to get your employees' full commitment to job performance).
6. Confusing Likelihood With Reality.
The successful entrepreneur lives in a world of likelihood but spends money in the world of reality.
7. No Sales Plan.
Without a sales plan, there's no serious way to gage the financial growth and progress of your business. You need a realistic map for where the sales will come from, how they'll come and from whom.
8. Being a Lone Ranger.
You might be the key to everything BUT you cannot DO everything and grow at the same time. Even modest success can overwhelm you unless you hire the right staff and delegate responsibility. (See below for effective delegation techniques)
9. No Mastermind.
Get an advisory board or a mentor! Sounds crazy for a small operation? It's not! The board can be family members that you trust, or friends. Ask them to be your board of directors and review your business plans and results with them. Having someone to bounce ideas off and get an objective opinion is critical.
10. Giving Up.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs failed several times before doing extremely well. So, if you're failing, fail. And fail fast. And learn. And try again, with this new wisdom. Do NOT give up. Yet, do not suffer, either.
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