Small businesses are vital to the economy, but keeping one up and running in the early years is also a minefield full of ways to destroy the shaky balance you’ve managed to establish.
That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to failure, but like any small business owner, there are probably a few areas that could stand to be addressed.
Forbes ran an article on this very subject recently, covering the biggest mistakes that many entrepreneurs make. How many do you think you’re guilty of?
The Top 5 Mistakes Made By SMB Owners
Running a business is often like swimming in a tub full of gelatin while blindfolded, in the dark, with all your clothing on. It’s not easy, that’s the point. Every business owner makes mistakes, but the more you can avoid the better.
Here are the major problem areas Forbes addressed for business owners:
- Working too much. You’ve probably read, heard and been given random advice on the topic of burnout over and over again. Yet, you often find yourself working late into the night, only to get up and start again early in the morning. After a while, your motivation starts to wane, you feel like you’ve make a huge mistake by starting your company and you just kind of want to sleep for a month. That’s burnout. It’s insidious.The solution? Give yourself a strict work schedule, just like you’d have in a corporate office. Do some things for yourself. Take a vacation if possible, even if you just stay home and watch Netflix.
- Neglecting the business side. You may be the best cobbler in all of Texas, but if you ignore your books, are terrible at returning telephone calls or consider organization a tool of those of lesser intellect, you probably need to step back and re-evaluate.Running a business means handling both the fun parts and the less fun parts. The two have to balance or you’ll run out of customers long before you’re ready to retire.
- Not accepting credit cards. In the modern world there’s zero reason to refuse to take credit cards.You can get credit card readers that work with your smartphone, your website can process credit card orders, you have all the tools you need and it’s basically automated from the start. Some complain about the approximately three percent fee, but consider how many sales you’re losing by refusing a major form of payment.
- Refusing to delegate. Kind of sideways to the cobbler who won’t do his accounting, small business owners who want to hold on to all the tasks are looking for trouble.At first, you had no choice but to do everything, but your company is expanding, this is the time to divide your tasks. Even if you don’t have extra staff just yet, you can do things like sending your callers to a live answering service with a virtual receptionist and mark juggling the telephone off your to-do list.
- Treating marketing like a punishment. Without marketing, you have no clients. There’s not much else to be said on this topic.You have to put yourself out there, do lead generating things like mailers, email newsletters, social media and the like. If you really feel unqualified, hook up with a marketing company that can help you determine who your market really is and how you can grab their attention.
Since you may only ever own one small business, it can be really easy to fall into some of these traps. Just remember, the end goal is to get out of the way as much as possible and let your employees or outsourced teams do the bulk of the heavy lifting.