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Making mistakes is fine. We all do it, from small mistakes to life-changing disasters. So it is with people in business. Embarking on a new venture can be rewarding, and the chances of getting things wrong are high. But then again, nobody’s perfect, not even experienced business owners with inflated egos and know-it-all attitudes
Whatever your position in business, take heed of the following mistakes that many people make along the way.
Having no vision
You need to have a vision for your company. Without one, you are destined to fail. You need a business plan, so you know where you are heading. Consider your target demographic, budget, and your goals in both the short and long term.
Being second best.
Maybe you have a business selling cushions. You may think you are the greatest cushion maker there has ever been. However, there are a lot of other cushion sellers out there, so you need to be able to compete with them to stand out in the market place. Check out the competition and find ways to make your product unique, in design and affordability. No matter how busy you get, don’t get corners. If your product is not up to scratch, it is not going to sell.
Sadly, no matter what you think, you are not superhuman. You may be able to take on some or all of the tasks your business needs, but you will be tiring yourself if you try to do everything. Find people who can help you, such as hiring new staff or an accountant for financial matters. Ultimately, it is better to be a master of a few things rather than everything.
All good businesses use the power of the internet for their services. Whether you own an actual store or are setting up a business when working from home, you need to get online. Create a website to sell your product. Make a social media account, Facebook or Pinterest for example, and rally a legion of followers and customers. Send out business cards and flyers, through email and the post to local houses and businesses. Hire somebody with SEO skills to ensure you are featured prominently on search engines. Take out ads in the local media, including radio and newspapers.
It is rare that people will just stumble on to your business, so make it easy for them to find you.
Not budgeting properly
Many companies fall at the first hurdle because money dries up. You need to plan right at the beginning of your business, be it through saving capital or taking out a bank loan. You will run at a loss initially, but with the right marketing and selling tools, you will eventually make money.
Money invested into the business should not go towards the new TV you always wanted, so have separate bank accounts for business and personal use.
Most of us buy insurance cover to protect our lives and homes from potential damages. Doing the same for our business is equally as important. There are different types of business insurance, covering your assets, employees, and liability in the event your product harms somebody after purchase. It may cost a little in the short term, but is vital for the long term.
You still have a life outside of your business, so in budgeting take into account other important expenditure such as family, bills, and food!
Not taking it seriously
There is a lot of hard work involved in setting up a business, so it is important to take it seriously and not treat it like a hobby. Check out the competition when considering prices, spend time maintaining your website, and do all the legal and accounting paperwork. Cutting corners in any area of the business may cause problems down the line. Yes, it is hard work, but it should be worth it down the line when you start making a profit.
If you have a small or large team working with you, it is important to communicate with them clearly. Share with your team the company vision and work collaboratively in making it come to fruition. Be honest about your feelings towards them, giving praise when it is due and pulling individuals up if they are slacking. Good communication is a two-way process so listen to the opinions of your team. Be a good role model, inspiring the trust of those around you. A good leader is one who knows what he wants and delivers on his promises. It is important to give equal respect to everybody on the team, to ensure you get the same in return.
Ignoring customer needs
Without customers, the business is not going to go anywhere. Therefore it is important to understand the needs of the customer. For example, help them to save money by offering promotional deals and allowing for free shipping of your product. Listen to any feedback and take action on it. When a customer raises a question, don’t wait a week before you answer them. Remember, there are probably hundreds of businesses like yours, so maintain customer loyalty, and consider these customer service quotes.
Forgetting their personal lives
Of course, you want to make a good go of your business, but don’t forget other areas of your life. Spend time with family and friends, and enlist their moral support in both the good and the bad times. Make sure you eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle, including exercise to build up your physical and mental health. Being happy in both your personal and professional lives is important as if you fail in one you may fail in the other.
You aren’t going to get rich overnight; it could take years to achieve. Whatever pitfalls you encounter, don’t give up too early. You need to persevere, seek help where you need it and be prepared to eat humble pie occasionally. If it doesn’t work out, well, at least you tried. Whatever mistakes you make, learn from them.