Starting a business or running an existing one is never easy. There are so many things to think about and decisions to make on a continuous basis, it can be difficult to know if you are doing things right. Sometimes the pressure can cause you to make a poor decision that can hurt your potential for success, or at least set you back. Unfortunately all it takes is one bad decision to break the business.
While there is no perfect plan or magic wand to help you succeed, there are several common and dangerous mistakes often made that can have a negative impact on your business. As a business mentor, here are the mistakes I have encountered over the last three years:
1. No Strategic Plan or Long Term Vision
Planning is essential! Without a solid plan for your business that includes business ideas based upon market research and market potential, you will be operating in the dark. The most important plans to consider are a robust and evidence based business plan, a simple but realistic financial plan and an agile marketing plan that is reviewed and edited often based upon changes and results.
2. Not Setting Goals or Clear Business Objectives
Business goals or objectives give you direction when you first start your business, then keep you on track during the day-to-day operations. It is vital that your goals are realistic and identify where you want to go and outline specific steps that you will take to get there. Have a clear plan on how you intend to measure your goals i.e. profit levels, sales, feedback etc.
3.Undervaluing Your Products or Services
Undervaluing your product or service is a serious mistake in business. This is a dangerous path to take because it undermines the unique value you bring to your industry and your customers. Recovering from undervaluing your goods or services is a long road, so you should explore the market thoroughly as you start your business to identify the best price entry point for what you’re selling. As they say….. the value you place on yourself is the value others will take you as!
4. Being Afraid of Marketing
A big mistake to make is to assume you don’t need to market your business. Marketing involves using social media, networking and engagement as well as maintaining an informative website that is updated on a regular basis. There aren’t any set rules when it comes to marketing although it is vital that you identify your target market and consider how best to communicate your message to them in the most effective manner.
5. Cash Flow and Spending
You don’t need a significant investment to start a business, but it can be tempting to spend money on equipment and software that may not be necessary. Always try to be prudent and go for the less expensive but equally viable options if available. Stay aware of your financial position each week and be honest with yourself. Don’t over spend when the cash is not there.
6. Not Knowing Your Target Audience or Customer
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 exactly who you are trying to reach, where you can find them and how they will react to your marketing activities. A scatter gun approach will never work.
If you are unsure about how best to avoid these mistakes, then contact us today so we can assist you in achieving your business goals.