Growing a business isn’t as simple as coming up with an idea and then waiting for the customers to line up – it takes a lot more work than that. As expected, many business owners make multiple mistakes during this journey. It’s even common for some companies to completely change their business plan a year down the line.
While mistakes are an important part of learning, there are some that you should avoid ensuring your business doesn’t sink before it’s had a chance. Here are ten of them.
1: Rushing to Rent an Office Space
As a new business owner, you likely have a clear vision of your business’s future, likely involving a beautiful workspace filled with employees. Don’t jump to this too soon, though, as offices spaces are expensive to rent and run. You might end up spending more money than you can afford for little benefit!
If your home can no longer provide the space that your business needs, consider renting serviced office space. That way, you get to enjoy a range of services, including a member’s lounge and call answering, while renting a space without a rigid lease contract.
2: Underestimating Your Product’s Worth
When trying to make that first sale, there’s a risk of under-pricing your product or service. While a cheap price tag could draw some customers in, it’ll also make your product seem less valuable, and in the long run, you’ll miss out on profit. Spend some time researching the general price of what you’re selling – your goal is to offer competitive prices without selling it for far less than it’s worth.
3: Not Defining Your Target Audience
You might think your product should appeal to everyone, but that’s never the case. It’s important, then, to define exactly who your audience is in the early days so that you can tailor your marketing toward them. For example, there’s no point in gaining a bunch of sports-obsessed Instagram followers if you sell custom-made candles!
4: Expecting Growth Too Quickly
This is a particularly common mistake for new businesses. While there’s a chance your business could become the next Facebook or Apple, you need to be realistic about how long it’s going to take. Otherwise, you could end up jumping in the deep end without knowing how to swim. So instead of focusing on speed, work on building your business with quality and intention in mind. It’s because of this that many start-up owners keep another job on the side.
5: Overestimating Sales
Buying too much stock because you expect the sales to come streaming in as soon as your business goes live is a huge mistake. Firstly, you don’t know whether your product will need adjusting as you go, and secondly, there’s a great chance the sales will start slow. That’s not even considering where you’ll keep all the stock while you wait for people to buy!
6: Ignoring Trends
While it’s good to be unique in the sea of businesses, you can’t ignore what is trending; otherwise, you might end up with zero interested customers. If you’re a clothing business, you’re likely already on the lookout for current fashion, but it also applies to other types of companies. Tech businesses, for example, should look at upcoming tech trends for the year, whether that’s artificial intelligence or virtual reality.
7: Not Looking at Your Competition
No matter what your business is, there is competition out there, and to succeed, you must know who they are. Without keeping an eye on your competition, they could offer rewards, sales, and a more advanced product to people who would have otherwise been your customer. Learn what other similar businesses have to offer, and you’ll be able to stay ahead of the game.
8: Hiring Too Quickly
One of your goals is likely to hire staff, but it’s not something you should rush into, especially initially. The first few months (or even years) of running a business are tough – there’s a lot to do, and more often than not, the entire weight is on your back. Unless you have the funds to pay another’s salary, though, you shouldn’t hire staff yet. Instead, wait until your business is stable enough to provide not only a comfortable workspace but liveable wages, too. You’ll get there!
9: Not Hiring at All
On the other side of the coin, not hiring can be just as harmful to the success of your business. While doing everything yourself saves money, you’re more likely to make mistakes and not produce the results you’re looking for if you’re constantly off your feet. Some signs it’s time to hire employees to include –
. You spend all your time working
If your entire life is your business, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities. While it’s good to be motivated and passionate, you also need to relax from time to time – a couple of members of staff could cut down on your workload and provide just that.
. Customers complain about customer service
If you are receiving complaints from your customers about your customer service (or lack of it), it’s time to hire someone to handle that end of the business. That way, you can focus on product/service quality while knowing your customers are well looked after.
. You have the funds
If you have the money to hire an extra pair of hands, why not go for it? Not only will it cut down on your workload, but it’ll also give you another perspective to help you out on business ideas. Remember – every big business had to take the leap with hiring at some point, so, as long as your business is ready, you shouldn’t put it off.
10: Not Learning from Your Mistakes
You’ll inevitably make mistakes, and that’s OK. What’s not OK, however, is refusing to learn from them. Instead, see this part of your business journey as education – the more you learn, the more knowledge you’ll have down the line. Once you’re an expert in all things business, your company will have more chance at success.
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