Prepping for Pitfalls: Common Mistakes of Small Businesses

For a small business owner to succeed, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes and take measures to avoid them. Whether you’re a tech startup, fashion retailer, food stall, or financial consultancy, some mantras remain consistently true – here are a few to consider.



Business Plan

As a new business, having a formal, written plan is imperative for survival and a lack of forward vision is tantamount to failure. This document should detail the nature of your business, its structure, long-term goals, market analysis, strategy/implementation, and, of course, financial constraints & projections. It’s important to explore these issues in a formal, thorough manner, especially if you’re planning to pitch for investment and use the plan as a tool to help with this.

Legality

Although not the most attractive aspect of running a business, understanding legalities is crucial for keeping things above board. Avoid any shortcuts and make sure that you’ve secured a business license and other permits in accordance with state laws. You should also apply for a federal tax ID, register a business name, adopt a formal business structure and open separate bank accounts to help compartmentalize your finances.

Business Relationships

In the early stages of a business, it can be tempting to draw upon the support of friends and family to help boost your company. Although this is a common strategy, it’s also a common mistake – doing so may pose a threat to your existing relationships, create awkward scenarios or land you in a partnership that you can’t easily escape. As a rule, it’s best to keep business as a business.

Finances

Simple budgeting, bookkeeping, and financial regulation are a must for business survival. If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to find a reliable accounting system that will make it easy to organize and store receipts so that you can claim deductibles whilst remaining legally compliant. This can also help you to monitor your cash flow and run your money matters with more efficiency.

Software

Speaking of software, a full switch to digital solutions is essential for businesses of any kind looking to thrive in the modern economy. Computer AI has revolutionized the speed and efficiency of business logistics and no market is exempt. Whether you’re looking to gather & organize leads, communicate within your team, gather research or advertise to customers, make full use of the widely available and often affordable programs on offer.

Marketing

Marketing is often a necessary instrument of business growth but knowing how much and how to market your services/products in relation to your budget is not always easy. To avoid overspending or running ineffective campaigns, you’ll have to develop detailed customer profiles and utilize the right tools to target them. There is really no limit as to how much you can market and how much you can spend doing so – this bottomless pit of expenditure, therefore, needs to be watched with caution.

Contracts

For a new business, it can be tempting to sign contracts even if they’re not favorable for long-term profit, especially if you’ve been experiencing stagnation for a while. But locking yourself into a poor (and legally binding) position indefinitely can prove disastrous for your bottom line when things eventually start going well. Make sure to read through any documents carefully and seek legal assistance when necessary before signing on the dotted line.

Employees

In the early stages, hiring a new employee can make or break a business. That’s why it’s important to carefully vet anyone that you’re bringing on board – if you’re doing your own recruiting, take the time to scrutinize every section of a candidate’s resumé, following up on references and prioritizing experience. You should also only aim to hire for positions that you know would have a direct and positive effect on the trajectory of your business.

Conclusion

Running a company is never easy and, without years of experience, you’ll need to take special precautions if you want to avoid the common mistakes that sink so many new ventures. Often, the ones who succeed are the ones who listen – remember to always seek advice and research carefully before committing to any major budgetary investments.

Featured image provided by Pexels

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