For a small business owner, running a small business can be like walking down a cluttered stairs in the dark, it’s full of unseen hazards. There are so many things to think about and decisions to make; the pressure can cause you to make poor decisions that can hurt your potential for success, or at least set you back. No matter how steeped you are in business-ownership experience, you are bound to run into problems at some point.
“The key to your success is to quickly identify your mistakes, learn from them, and prevent the same mistakes from happening again,” notes Mike Michalowicz, small business expert and author of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.” “Most business owners fall into the same traps. It’s those mistakes which could make the difference between owning a successful and viable small business, or owning a money pit that could leave you in financial pain for years to come.”
So, what are common mistakes owners make when starting and managing their small businesses? Alyssa Gregory is a small business expert and founder of Small Business Bonfire highlights the following mistakes to avoid:
Hanging-on to legacy technology: As small business owners, technology can provide new opportunities, help us do our work more efficiently and even help us save money. New technology may be intimidating, and require time to learn and understand, but an unwillingness to adapt to technological advances can hurt your business in the short- and long-term.
The Fear of Marketing: Marketing can take many forms from word of mouth referrals, to traditional advertising, to Internet marketing. There aren’t any set rules when it comes to marketing; the best type of marketing for you depends on your business and your target audience. The mistake is assuming you don’t need to market and that business will come to you.
Not Understanding the Value of Your Best Customers: One vital part of any successful marketing campaign is understanding who your ideal customer is. It’s not enough to create a marketing budget and try a little bit of everything. You need to do market research to identify who you are trying to reach, where you can find them and how they will react to your marketing activities.
Not Committing: Starting a business requires a number of success-oriented character traits such as drive, dedication and a serious sense of commitment. Small business owners need to be willing to make sacrifices, put in the time necessary, and face challenges head-on if they want their businesses to be successful.
Overspending: Starting a business doesn’t have to require a large investment, but some new business owners feel that they need to spend a lot to purchase the best of the best everything from marketing help, to equipment, to software. There are usually other, less expensive but equally viable options available, if you’re willing to do the research. Creating and sticking to a business budget to curb overspending is always an excellent idea.
Underspending: Some small business owners who don’t overspend fall on the other end of the spectrum and refuse to spend much of anything. While there are certainly ways to start and grow a business with limited funds, going too far and not investing any kind of capital in your business can severely limit your potential for success.
Being Too Controlling: A small business owner may be willing to learn how to be a jack-of-all-trades, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Effective delegation can be one of the best ways for new small business owners to build their businesses, free up their time for business activities that require their unique expertise, and build a team positioned for future success.
We all make mistakes. The key is being aware of them and consistently working to make smart, well-informed decisions in your business. If you can do that, and remain resilient when you do make a mistake, success will be within your reach.
Mr. Kelly is an expert in online marketing, search engine optimization, content development and content distribution. He has consulted some of the top brokerages, media companies and financial exchanges on online marketing and content management including: The New York Board of Trade, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Business Times, Briefing.com, Bloomberg and Bridge Information Systems and 401kTV.
He continues to be a regular market analyst and writer for ForexTV.com. He holds a Series 3 and Series 34 CFTC registration and formerly was a Commodities Trading Advisor (CTA). Tim is also an expert and specialist in Ichimoku technical analysis. He was also a licensed Property & Casualty; Life, Accident & Health Insurance Producer in New York State.
In addition to writing about the financial markets, Mr. Kelly writes extensively about online marketing and content marketing.
Mr. Kelly attended Boston College where he studied English Literature and Economics, and also attended the University of Siena, Italy where he studied studio art.
Mr. Kelly has been a decades-long community volunteer in his hometown of Long Island where he established the community assistance foundation, Kelly's Heroes. He has also been a coach of Youth Lacrosse for over 10 years. Prior to volunteering in youth sports, Mr. Kelly was involved in the Inner City Scholarship program administered by the Archdiocese of New York.
Before creating ForexTV, Mr, Kelly was Sr. VP Global Marketing for Bridge Information Systems, the world’s second largest financial market data vendor. Prior to Bridge, Mr. Kelly was a team leader of Media at Bloomberg Financial Markets, where he created Bloomberg Personal Magazine with an initial circulation of over 7 million copies monthly.
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