The main reason that some people take opportunities when they arise, and others do not, is that some people are ready.
They have their business plan ready and all they need to do is take advantage of the opportunities.
Where can you find the right business plan?
If your business is based in the United States - click here
If your business is based in the U.K. - click here
Ideas To Action.
Part 64 - Small Business Mistakes.
Running an business can be difficult, grueling, relentless but also exciting. If you have your own business or are thinking about opening one, it will no doubt be among the most important and crucial decisions of your life. Management could be so time-consuming that it is simple to get caught up with the day-to-day decisions and ignore broader elements that might make or break your business.
Here are the standard blunders that you will need to sidestep as a small business owner:
- Having unworkable aims. Without being realistic about what you are looking to accomplish with your business, you will wind up with a good deal of discouragement and failure leading to your businesses failure. Make sure that your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive. And have SMART goals for the short (1-3 years), mid (4-6 years) and longer-term (7-10 years).
- Not writing a business plan. A business plan is vitally important, whether or not you are seeking startup capital from a backer. They help you in focusing and understanding the real world. A strong plan must include at the very least a full analysis of your target market and competition, financing needs, cash-flow calculations, and a break-even summary.
- Under-funding. Having insufficient startup money can cause you to tap into own savings or go into unplanned debt and jeopardize your personal financial stability. Creating a well-researched business plan can assist you in appreciating what you will need to do for your business to come through the first few months and avoid placing yourself and potentially your loved ones into a uncertain financial position.
- Poor risk management. It is invariably better to be safe than sorry. Consider the worst things that might arise in your company and then insure against them. Ensure you secure all of your assets, including the buildings, equipment, you yourself and all other vital employees. This means you must budget for, and then purchase, adequate property, casualty, product liability, health and life insurance.
- Not tracking income and expenses. It is critically important that you know exactly where every dollar your business receives comes from and how every dollar is spent. Not doing so is the same as driving a car blindfolded; you would be bound to crash. Tracking your cash will assist you in singling out where to economize and where to increase investment. Many entrepreneurs use accounting software but you should at least use some kind of spreadsheet to track your cash flow closely.
- Not re-investing enough in your business. You have to spend money to make money, right? It is sometimes difficult to see the benefit of reinvesting when income is low and costs are rising, but that, for part, is usually when you should invest, either in new employees or better marketing. Spending your money on stronger systems and customer experience improvement is essential for your continuing success, even if it means you have to make sacrifices in the interim.
- Insufficient cash stash. Investing is vital, but it is also imperative to have savings, even when things are good. This secures you if your company has an unanticipated hard time and your income plummets. To sidestep the risk of going into debt or losing assets, aim to put aside a minimum of six months worth of operational costs into a savings account; preferably in addition to a personal emergency account.
- Being too much of a risk-taker. Yes, you are a business owner. You were made to take a chance but that should not mean jeopardizing your hard-earned profit, and your business, by making overly-aggressive investments. When you have reached your break-even point, and have enough cash in your emergency savings, you must still be realistic with your investment plan. That will mean investing in a diverse mix of investments that should offer strong growth opportunity and protection against meaningful losses.
Small Business Mistakes
Small business marketers do not have much margin for error. They tend to be extremely short on time and resources. There’s often no cushion to fall back on. One mistake and they are even shorter on time and resources.
Here is a list of the most common pitfalls in small business marketing:
- They do not have a website - Only 51% of small businesses have websites. Some business owners think they do not need a website because they are a local business. However, 97% of consumers search online for products & services, and more than half of searches are local. People will look for your business online before they ever visit you. Bottom line, you need a website.
- They do not track results - This is more common for larger businesses, but it is also one of the worst offenses. If they do not track, they really do not know what works. Whether it is not tracking goals on their website with Google Analytics, or not tracking conversions through pay per click ads, or not tracking calls and foot traffic from a big sale or advertising investment, if they are not tracking, they are throwing your money away.
- They have no idea what their competitors are doing with their marketing - This is similar to the tracking mistake, in that they have a huge opportunity to find out what works and what does not; and yet many small business owners ignore it completely.
- They are trying to reach the wrong audience - This can completely destroy otherwise good marketing and an otherwise good business. Some business owners have such a clear, focused view of who they want their customers or clients to be that they can be completely blinded to the customers they actually have.
- They try to hire people to do marketing for them without studying it themselves - Some of the smartest owners fall for this one. They know they need to do marketing, but they have no time to do it. So they hire someone to do it for them. As they look for someone to hire, they cannot tell who knows their stuff or not. They may not have realistic expectations of what this type of marketing can do
- They put more work into their social media accounts (namely Facebook) than they ever put into their website - When social media first exploded, there was a lot of chatter about driving traffic to social media sites. Some major businesses even discussed shutting down their websites and just focusing on their social media pages, especially their Facebook page. Don’t do that. All your social media efforts should ultimately drive people back to your website. Social media is great to attract new prospects and as a channel to engage with existing prospects, but it’s no replacement for your own website.
Ideas To Action - next
A Great Business did not just happen - It was planned that way.