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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

7 Things You Should Never Underestimate In Business

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Being in business can be a lot of fun. When you’ve worked super hard for everything you have, and you’re willing to keep on putting the work in, sometimes you can stand back and be in awe of what you have achieved. If you find yourself at this phase, allow yourself some time to feel good, but then go right back to hustling. No matter how big your business gets, or how well you do, you need to stay humble. Because getting too big for your boots is bad for business. Not only does it look bad, but it can also mean you get caught off guard.

When you’re doing well, it’s easy to believe that you’re unstoppable, or that you’re better than the best. And it’s this kind of attitude that can kill businesses. Because when you’re least expecting it, you can be beaten. To stop that from happening, you need to always be on the ball and never underestimate anything. When you’re quick to write of threats as being not-so-threatening after all, you could be stabbing yourself in the back. So, instead of feeling invincible, you’ll benefit from always pushing, always watching your back, and always trying. And above all else, never underestimating anything – especially when it comes to these seven areas.

Competitors

First up, there’s always your competitors to be aware of. It’s easy to think that, when you’re doing well, you don’t really need to have your nose in anyone else’s business. But you do. When it comes to your competition. You should always know what they’re up to. Because if you underestimate them, and believe that they’ll never catch up with you, they could be sat working on a strategy to do just that, and you’d never even know. So keep an eye on the competition, and you’ll always do well.

New Market Entrants

Likewise, it’s easy to underestimate any new market entrants too. When you’re starting to see success, you can often feel like no newbie will knock you off the top spot. But that’s a dangerous mindset to have. Just remember what it was like for you when you first went into business. New market entrants are hungry. They want to be successful – and they’re willing to work hard to make it happen. So take them seriously and don’t underestimate anything they do.

Employees

When you have good employees, you often feel as if they’re going to stick with you until the end. Some will. But most won’t. So don’t just assume that those happy employees actually are happy. Because maybe they’re not. And maybe they’re planning on leaving soon and setting up shop on their own – taking their hard work with them. Treat your staff well, but always remember that they’re not the owner, and they could up and leave at any point.

Suppliers

Another key stakeholder to key an eye on is your suppliers. They’re a business, just like you are, and they’re always going to put their business interests first. So don’t assume that they’re going to do you favors forever. Because they might not. Keep them at arm’s length if you can. Because they could do something to mess up your current relationship. And that’s just business!

Economic Conditions

Never underestimate the current economic conditions either. Whether they’re good or bad, you have to learn to be reactive and stay on top of economic growth in your own way. Sometimes, the conditions will work with you, but don’t ride the wave for too long as they can soon turn. So you have to have your wits about you and be ready to react as soon as they do.

Health & Safety

Then there are the things that are ingrained in your company philosophy. So much so, that it’s easy to assume that they’re running smoothly. Like your health and safety. But you have to actually stay on top of things for that to happen. Including everything from ladder safety gates to protective clothing, you have to be sure that everything you’re doing is above board and as it should be. It’s easy to just assume, but don’t underestimate the ways of the world. Keep on top of everything and you should be fine.

Success

And finally, never underestimate your current levels of success – or the possibility of sudden failure. Things don’t always last. You worked really hard to get where you are, and you have to carry on working hard if you want to stay there. Never adopt the “I’ve made it” kind of attitude, as it could be that one thing that knocks you off the top spot.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

The 6 Most Common Mistakes New Online Business Owners Make & How to Avoid Them

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Growing an online business is as much about learning what we should be doing, as it is about learning what we should not be doing. It is important to have a solid plan in place with a trusty list of your ‘to-do’s which can be satisfyingly ticked off as you go along. However as you move forward with your new business it is also just as important to be aware of the things that you should avoid and the common pitfalls involved in starting an online business. Whilst the obstacles to starting an online business are low, the potential initial mistakes, that can affect the long-term success of a business can be high. Read on for our list of the six most common mistakes that new online business owners make and our tips on how to avoid them.

A Weak Business Plan

It is all very well and good having a fantastic idea but if you don’t have a solid plan of attack then you could be on a backfoot before you’ve even gotten started. Whilst it’s not necessary to have a formal business plan, a plan of sorts is extremely necessary. In order to build an effective business plan you need to be considering the following: Who is is your target market and what do your customers look like? What is their ‘pain point’ and how will your product or service help them with their problem or issue? What are you selling and why would anyone be willing to pay for your service or product over your competitors? What makes your business different and how do you plan to position yourself to stand out alongside your competitors?

Alongside exploring the above questions you will also want to be thinking about the budget that you have available to you and how long that will last. You will want to be submerging yourself in a constant learning curve about how best to market yourself utilizing social media platforms and other avenues that will benefit your business. You will also need to be thinking about the details such as logistics, hiring staff, your accounting and your website content and strategy. You will realise that as your business develops so will your knowledge and understanding of all areas of business. You will essentially be ‘learning on the job’. However having at least a basic plan of the above will help you to avoid coming up against unexpected surprises and bumps within the initial first few months.

Becoming Obsessed with Detail

It is very natural to want everything to be perfect before we launch the fruits of our hard labour. We completely concur and agree that there are many things that need to be in place and fully functional before launch date. However becoming too hung up on the minute details of a new website has delayed many a business from launching and therefore has resulted in months of lost business revenue. You would be surprised how easy it is to fall into the routine of carefully analysing every last detail, tweaking, changing, moving, shifting, then changing it back to how it was in the first place. This process stalls the process of moving your business forward so try to be relaxed with the smaller details and keep modifying and playing with the details, as you go along in order to experiment with what works and what doesn’t.

Being a Bit Too ‘Old School’

Regardless of what generation we are from there is no denying that we are all now living in a digital age. For many of us that have been in business for a while and have different tried and tested ways of promoting and growing businesses it is easy to dismiss elements of modern technology and software as a ‘passing fad’. However there is so much technological support now available that will benefit your business that it is essential to be getting your head around the modern developments that will help you to grow your online company.

Regardless of what type of business you are planning, the bread and butter or the ‘first impression’ of your business, is going to be your website so this is always a good place to start whether you are focused on investing in software to prevent enterprise-level disasters with SEO alerts to ensure that your content is doing your business justice. Or perhaps your problem area is keeping on top of the finances in your business in which case you should be looking into the software and programmes available to support you in that area. There really is a whole world of wealth when it comes to the software, technology, apps and programmes available to you that will help you to grow your business to future and long-term success, so make sure you are taking advantage of it.

Not Focusing on Finances

One of the most common areas where businesses fail is through lack of proper financial planning. Many new online businesses fall foul of running out of money before they get to the point where they are making any and there is no other choice but to abandon the project. Therefore long-term financial projections are essential in order to plan out your time efficiently. Look into how much money you have in order to be able to run your business, how long that money will last whilst also factoring in a contingency budget that will cover you for unexpected costs and expenses along the way. Too often online business owners have to quickly try to pull funds together after realising that their budget is almost gone. By then it is probably already too late. So plan effectively in advance and keep your eye on your finances on a regular basis in order to avoid burning yourself out too quickly.

Lack of Confidence in Product or Undervaluing Your Service

It is very common for businesses in the initial months to want to just get the orders and the business rolling in and commonly that is to the detriment of a solid pricing structure. This is a big mistake however as lowering the price of your products or service is essentially devaluing your product and damaging your business. You should not be creating a business in the first place if you don’t believe in your product, so make sure that you are staying true to the proper pricing of what you are selling in order to build your business in a solid way.

Customer Service Focus as Secondary

As the sales come rolling in, a common mistake is to feel content that success is yours and that your job is done. However major value in your business is how you take care of your customers after their purchases. It is a dangerous mistake to see customer service as an afterthought for your business, as good customer service can be the make or break of any company. Living in the online age makes business easier in a lot of ways but it also makes the world of business pretty cut-throat too. Customers are savvier and more demanding than ever and if they are made to feel unimportant or unhappy, in any way, by a company, you will certainly know about it.

Dealing with customer service as a priority for your business means that you can look after your clients in a way that makes them feel valued and important to your company. That will keep them coming back and loyal to you and your business. Ignored requests, enquiries or complaints can, and very often do, lead to damaging public reviews that not only ensures they are never coming back to you again, but will also work as a huge deterrent to any new potential customers.

Recognising the above mistakes and taking great strides to avoid them will go a long way in steering your business in the right direction and keeping it on track for long-term success.