7 Mistakes Small Businesses Often Make – How To Avoid Them

Are you making any of these common, costly mistakes in your business?

1. Not setting aside funds into a Reserves account when times are good. The seeds for future problems and dismay are often sewn during the good times, when it seems the sales and money are rolling in and won’t stop, and no one is insisting that some of that income gets put into Reserves (savings).

But market conditions can change, industry conditions can change, the overall economy can take a downturn. So peel off some of that income and plunk it into a Reserves account so you can weather any future storms.

2. Committing to increased fixed expenses when times are good and seem like they will never end. Just be very sure you could manage those future obligations if your business takes a real downturn. It can happen. Obviously, you have to keep pace with expansion, but you have to know you are covered if things turn sour.

3. You or your key people focusing most of your attention on chasing that one big deal, or that one big sale. The one that looks so promising… and not paying enough attention to keeping the flow of regular deals or sales coming in.  Yes, chasing that rainbow can be exciting, and it could pay off BIG.

But it can also be a rude awakening if that one big, promising deal doesn’t come through, and you suddenly find that the flow of your regular smaller deals has dried up because you weren’t paying enough attention to keeping that flow alive and well.  So keep some attention on the smaller stuff that got you there, too!

7 mistakes small businesses often make

4. Not checking into the history or background of a new hire before taking them on in a KEY position in the company. This is not a cause for paranoia, it is just common sense.  People fudge their resumes and often know how to say all the right things in an interview.

But some have a criminal background or terrible credit histories.  Some may have the right degrees, but terrible job performance histories. Do check references.

For your key positions, there are companies that will conduct background checks for you, probably located right in your area. You can find them by searching the net.  NOTE: Concerning discrimination in your hiring practices: Seek professional legal counsel from a qualified attorney so you really know what you can and cannot do. Ours is a very litigious society, and you don’t want or need a lawsuit.

5. New Locations: Small retailers often don’t do their homework before moving into a new location. Then they find they are in trouble, because there is hardly any walk by traffic, or there is a hot competitor located just 4 blocks away who has a booming business. Or the new lease payments are too high to sustain. Or the City is about to do six months of construction work on the road running right by their front door. It happens.

6. Trying to be too many things to too many people or businesses. It is much easier to stand out in a niche market, and it often requires less resources to do so. If you are trying to be everything to everyone, you don’t stand out for anything in particular. Sure there are huge exceptions like Amazon or Wal-Mart.And in some rural areas, “Joe’s General Store” can maybe make a living by being general.

But today, especially when you have to compete with online, ecommerce websites, it is much better to become known for something specific.Even if you can deliver a wider range of products and services, in your marketing and promotional activities, you need an entrance point or spearhead into the market and into people’s minds. This could be your lead product. Or even a loss-leader product or service. Once you have a new customer, you can also introduce them to your other related services and products.

7 mistakes small businesses often makeWhat does your business stand for in people’s minds?

7. Business Websites: When you go to some websites, you can’t always get a clear picture of what exactly they offer to prospective customers.  Knowingly or subconsciously, visitors to websites are asking themselves, “what advantage or benefit do you offer me that I can’t get elsewhere, simply by clicking back to my Google search page?” This is commonly known as the Unique Value Proposition (UVP), which we have discussed in a few of our blogs.

What’s your Unique Value Proposition, your competitive advantage?

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