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A look at mistakes many small businesses commonly make and how you can avoid them.
Wherever you are on the road to success, you can dodge the unhappy consequences of some of the more common mistakes that cause the early demise of new ventures by continually watching out for some common pitfalls. The fundamentals, the blocking and tackling of business, must be observed in order to prevent certain disaster. They won't prevent all disasters but, still, an ounce of prevention of the basic pitfalls is surely worth well more than a pound of cures.
So now that you're up and running, if you're not ready to deal with the many all-too-possible misadventures that can befall the under-prepared entrepreneur, make sure that you've covered the fundamentals:
The 10 Deadly Small Business Mistakes
These traps/mistakes are common to many entrepreneurs and small business owners:
- 01. 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.
- 02. 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 result driven marketing plan).
- 03. 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).
- 04. Ignoring Your Cash Position.
- The world (a.k.a 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).
- 05. 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).
- 06. Confusing Likelihood With Reality.
- The successful entrepreneur lives in a world of likelihood but spends money in the world of reality.
- 07. 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.
- 08. 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)
- 09. 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.