Five mistakes your business can’t afford to make

When a business is in its early stages, the pressure to keep it afloat can be huge. Every entrepreneur makes mistakes, but some can be more critical for the health of a business than others. If you are running your own business, these are five big areas to avoid:

1. Underestimating the power of an online presence

We live in a digital world, and even the smallest business now needs a website to build its brand. Today’s website builders make it easy to create your own if need be. However, if you have the resources, the help of an agency or freelancer can be invaluable. 

Investing in marketing, copywriting and photography which shows your business in its best light is a good idea. Your website doesn’t need to be big, but it should offer the essential functions that your customers need and value. This could be anything from your opening times and the ability to make online contact, through to online service booking or full e-commerce functionality. 

For e-commerce businesses with the money to do so, an app may also be worth considering. Again, a lot of today’s software solutions are affordable and easy to use, with integrated hosting and email solutions.

2. Expecting instant results

It takes time, energy, and commitment to grow a business in a sustainable way. Many startups fail, but successful companies maintain a future-focus and keep investing in their growth. Remember that seeing results takes time. Always seek to innovate, keep abreast of what is happening in the market and listen to your customers.

3. Focusing too much on competition

It’s important to know what your competitors are doing and to have a view of the broader competitive landscape. However, don’t make the mistake of becoming obsessed with the details of what others are doing. Every business has its own strategy, and yours needs to be unique. See what others are doing for inspiration, but don’t replicate their business decisions.

4. Poor financial management

Every business owner must learn the basics of proper financial management and accounting. You don’t need to be able to keep the books; in fact, this is one task which is often best outsourced to a professional accountant or bookkeeper. However, there are some excellent expense management solutions for business owners, such as Soldo, which enables you to take back control of business expenses and see company spending in real-time. Equipped with the right financial tools, you will be able to translate financial insights into sound business decisions. 

There are plenty of courses and training material available to develop your skills in this field. You will be able to understand everything from cash flow and assets through to the ratios which identify financial health, methods of financing your business and tax liabilities. 

5. Over-borrowing

It’s common practice for a business to borrow money to finance its operations. However, there’s a big difference between borrowing to pay the bills, and borrowing to grow your business. 

Work with your accountant or financial adviser to ascertain an acceptable level of borrowing for your business. Work out the best way to access finance, which could include a flexible credit line or overdraft, or a more formal business loan.

There are various competitive business loans and even grants available which are funded through a range of private and public sources. These loans and grants often come with additional business advisory services. Do your research before jumping in. 

These steps mentioned above will help you avoid some of the big mistakes that business owners make. There is no right time to start your own business, but if your concept and product are sound, you can build from the bottom-up, learning as you go. 

Business owners should also consider getting a business mentor, investing in digital marketing and building a strong brand and personality that appeals to your target audience. Start learning now and commit to developing every day to see positive results! 

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