In today’s blog, I’m going to be sharing the ten big mistakes that many entrepreneurs make when it comes to growing a business. These mistakes can lead to huge issues, but luckily they are totally preventable if you know how to plan for them.
I’ll also be sharing some tips and resources to help you tackle each of these problems. Head on. By the end of this blog, you’ll know what to focus on while you build your own business to have the best possible chance of finding success.
Contrary to popular belief, growing a successful business is not a straightforward, linear, predictable journey, the way it can look from the outside. Ask any successful entrepreneur or professional wordpress seo experts and they’ll tell you about all the times when product flopped or when they launched a campaign to crickets or when they lost money because of a bad decision. Mistakes are a normal part of the process, and rather than seeing them as signs, we should quit.
We can treat them as the important learning opportunities that they really are. Mistakes give us data that can help us make better choices in the future. As Henry Ford once said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” That being said, there are some common mistakes that are totally avoidable with just a little preparation and foresight. So today I’m going to be sharing some of the biggest pitfalls for new entrepreneurs and how you can avoid them in your own business.
Of course, you’ll still make plenty of mistakes of your own, but you can rest easy knowing that you’re doing everything you can to proactively address these common issues and help your business succeed. And make sure you stick around until the end of the episode, because I’ll be sharing a free blog series full of advice for new business owners from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Number One Not Writing A Business Plan
Here’s what will probably happen if you don’t take the time to write out your business plan. First, you won’t have a clear sense of your target market or the forces affecting it. You also won’t necessarily understand your ideal customer or how best to reach them. You won’t know what your priorities are for the business or what you should focus on first. And worst of all, you probably won’t have a good understanding of your financials or your cash flow.
The result is that you may end up making a lot of reactive decisions that may not necessarily be in the best long term interests of your company. Your business could suffer simply because you didn’t properly anticipate all the risks you might face. A business plan is what allows you to see the big picture and make better choices that are strategic and intentional based on your goals.
When you write everything down, you’ll be forced to carefully examine every aspect of your business and make a plan for any gaps or unknowns that you uncover. Obviously, you’ll still run into roadblocks you never could have predicted, but with a business plan in hand, you’ll be a lot more prepared for the road ahead. And if you need help writing your business plan, we have a free template that can walk you through the process from start to finish. Click the link in our description box below to access your free copy of the template.
Number Two Not Focusing On Cash Flow And Profits
If you aren’t making money, you don’t have a business, but if you’re not making a profit on the income you earn, then your business will not be healthy for long. Many entrepreneurs focus all their attention on the income they’re generating without being mindful enough of their cash flow, expenses or profits to figure out how profitable your business can be.
You need to do a bit of simple math: profit equals demand times revenue minus expenses. That means that if your expenses are too high or your demand is too low, your business will end up in the red. So make sure that your accounting for your true expenses in all areas of your business, such as your operating costs, your shipping materials, your online presence, and paying for your team.
Make a point of looking at your numbers every day, or at least every week, and be ruthless about cutting costs wherever you can. All the customers in the world won’t matter if your expenses outstrip your revenue and your operating at a consistent loss. Now, if you’re new to the concept of cash flow management, we have a whole blog devoted to the topic that will teach you how to keep track of your numbers and prepare cash flow statements. Be sure to check that out using the link below.
Number Three Not Assessing Your Business Idea
It is so important to figure out if you have a viable, realistic business idea before you spend time, money, and energy launching it into the world. Now, if you’ve written your business plan, as we mentioned in mistake number one, then you will probably be covered here. But it’s such an important factor that we’re giving it its own section. When you’re assessing your business idea, you need to be thinking about more than just the product or the service itself.
Let’s face it, if you think selling something is a good idea, chances are there are a lot of other people who think so, too. This shouldn’t discourage you from trying, but assessing your competition and your niche are very important steps to take before you invest a penny of your own money. If your chosen niche is crowded with other sellers without a lot of demand from buyers, it might not be the easy money or low hanging fruit that you imagined.
Also Read: The Benefits of Business Process Automation
Do your research, determine whether your chosen niche is just a short lived fad or if it’s likely to grow over time. Pay attention to how much buzz this niche is currently getting and what its customers are complaining about and take note of your major competitors to figure out some smart ways to differentiate yourself from them. Most importantly, do not be afraid to walk away at the idea stage.
It is a lot less expensive to quit now rather than after investing in a business that just won’t work. And if you decide that your business idea isn’t quite right, don’t worry. There are a lot more great businesses where that one came from. In fact, if you’re looking for inspiration, check out our big list of over a hundred in demand business ideas broken down by category. Grab your copy using the link below.
Number Four Spreading Yourself Thin With Products
If you’re initial products aren’t selling. It can be easy to think that the solution is simply to sell more products so that you can attract more customers. This is risky for a few reasons. Mostly, it can be expensive to invest in new inventory, especially if you’re still carrying products that you can’t sell. But even if you’re running a drop shipping or print on demand store, where the financial cost to add new products is relatively low.
The cost to your brand could still be high. When you clutter up your store with lots of disparate products, you run the risk of diluting your brand values and your messaging, which can be confusing and off putting for your customers. Remember that your brand is an extremely important element of your business. It’s what sets you apart and keeps your customers coming back for more. So while it’s totally normal to add new products to your store over time.
Be sure that you’re evaluating each new product idea in terms of how it supports your business and your brand as a whole, and not just whether you think it can sell every product or service you offer should feel aligned with your business values and speak directly to your ideal customer.
Number Five Not Investing In Organic Marketing
Paid marketing can be a great tool for entrepreneurs who are just starting out and may be struggling to grow their audience and their reach. On this channel, we have several tutorials for how to start your own paid ad campaigns on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. But while paid marketing can be great.
It’s also important that you invest in organic marketing through creating content like valuable articles, email newsletters and helpful blogs. Unlike paid ads, which will only be seen as long as you put money behind them, organic content can last for years on the Internet, bringing traffic to your website through referrals and search.
In fact, more than 70% of clicks on Google search results go to organic results rather than ads, and the first five organic results get more than 67% of all clicks for any given search. Translation. Overwhelmingly, customers don’t really click on ads. Instead, they’re looking for helpful content that fits their interests or solves their problems.
When it comes to creating content, the key is to build your strategy around your ideal customer, rather than only writing articles about the benefits of your product or your service. Focus on what would be useful or interesting to your clients. Think about what kinds of things they might be searching for, and then create content that meets that need. The more that you can connect to your audience in this way, the freer, ongoing traffic you’ll be building in your business for years to come.
Number Six Not Thinking Through Freebies And Contests
As we mentioned before, focusing on profit is one of the most important things that a new entrepreneur can do. Which is why it can be dangerous to your bottom line if you rely too heavily on the popular practices of offering freebies, contests and giveaways starting a business.
These marketing techniques are often recommended to business owners who are just starting out because they can be a great way to grow your brand awareness and your audience size. But they can also be expensive, especially if you’re regularly donating your valuable inventory. Not only that, but if your customers see that you are constantly offering giveaways, they could become less motivated to purchase your product themselves.
So rather than overspending on contests and freebies, be strategic. Make sure that you can afford it by choosing to give away products or services that are inexpensive for you to provide or ship. Instead of going it alone, try to partner with a larger business to take advantage of their increased reach and bigger audience.
Or you could skip the contest altogether and instead offer your freebies as a bonus gift with purchase, which drives sales rather than one off giveaways, which don’t typically lead to customer conversions. Whatever you choose, make sure that your contest or freebie is a good fit for your niche, your ideal customer, and your brand values of starting a business.
Number Seven Not Hiring Help When You’re Bootstrapping Your Own Business
It can be hard to decide when to stop going it alone and start bringing in people to help you. As I mentioned a few times today, profit is key in business, so it can be scary to think about adding to your expenses in order to hire help. But on the other hand, most entrepreneurs quickly reach a point where it is no longer possible to manage the business all by themselves starting a business.
You may not have enough time or energy for everything that needs to get done. Or maybe you just have other priorities like spending time with your family or taking time off. Either way, don’t wait too long to get yourself some support. If you’re nervous to spend the money to hire, help just start small. One tip to remember is that when it comes to automating or eliminating tasks, hiring systems can be a lot less expensive than hiring people.
For example, most CRM and eCommerce software solutions cost less each month than just a few hours of a worker’s time. So they can be a worthwhile and relatively inexpensive investment. And when you are ready to hire a human, prioritize offloading the necessary but tedious tasks that take up your time but don’t require your specific expertise.
For example, things like inventory, uploading, doing your bookkeeping or data entry over time, you can continue to grow your team by filling in knowledge gaps with contractors, freelancers, or employees who can help you grow your business even further.
Number Eight Not Knowing Your Target Audience
not knowing your target audience while not assessing your business idea is pretty bad. Not knowing your target audience is arguably worse because while it’s possible to build multiple useful businesses for just one ideal client, it’s a lot harder to start with a product and then go searching for customers. You might have the coolest new invention on the market, but if nobody is interested in it, your business won’t succeed starting a business.
When you’re starting a business. Make sure that you know your ideal customer inside and out. You’ll want to figure out things like what their pain points are, what they’re interested in, the kinds of topics they care about. What other kinds of brands they love or what their goals and dreams are for themselves.
The easiest and cheapest way to do this is to talk directly to your customers or to the kinds of people you hope will become customers one day as you get to know them. Put together a customer profile that can start to act as a compass for you to better serve your target audience and meet your customers needs starting a business.
Number Nine Not Having A Solid Marketing Plan.
Here’s a startling fact: marketers with a documented strategy are 313% more likely to report success in their campaigns. Clearly, it pays to plan, especially when it comes to marketing. And the good news is that a great marketing plan starts with understanding your ideal customer, which you’ve already taken care of thanks to this blog. When you have a good understanding of your clients.
You’ll know the right language, visuals and incentives to use to entice them to learn more about your business. Knowing your target audience also helps you figure out which marketing channels will be the most effective for selling your products and services. For example, if you sell beautiful jewelry and accessories you might have more success on a visual platform like Instagram than you would on LinkedIn.
While there is no one size fits all strategy for marketing there is a strategy that will be perfectly tailored to your business and your clients. And if you take the time to make sure that this plan is in place from when you start your business, you’re much more likely to find steady and sustainable growth.
Number Ten Not Securing Intellectual Property.
Last but not least, make sure that you’re fully protecting yourself and your intellectual property as you grow your business. Intellectual property is any work or invention that is the result of your own creativity or original ideas. This could be your marketing slogans and branding materials or the content of your online course or even your product idea itself.
This tip won’t be relevant to all business owners, but if you create intellectual property, it’s important to take steps to protect it. Using tools like copyrights, trademarks and patents. That way, if your intellectual property is ever stolen, you will have the right to defend it in a court of law. And if you aren’t sure where to start, be sure to check out our blog post all about protecting your intellectual property, which outlines tips and information on getting legal advice for your starting a business.
Always Share Some Links To Helpful Resources
There you have it the top ten things that new entrepreneurs often neglect when starting a business. By tackling these common issues up front, you’ll be avoiding some of the biggest factors that have the potential to sink a business in its early stages. You’ll still inevitably make some mistakes along the way, but you can take comfort in knowing that you’re doing everything you can to help your business grow and thrive.
To get even more support on your business journey, be sure to check out our free blog series E Commerce Inspiration. Inside, you’ll find interviews with some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, sharing their best advice for new business owners. If you learn from the best, you’re more likely to be the best. So click below to hear what these entrepreneurs would have loved to know when they were just starting their own starting a business.
Shopify The Best Ecommerce Solution
As I mentioned before, one common mistake that new entrepreneurs make is not investing in the right tools to help them grow their business. We are a little biased, but we think Shopify is the world’s best ecommerce solution for business owners at all stages of growth. Whether you’re just starting out or have grown many successful brands already.
Shopify provides tons of tools and features to help you create a beautiful store that stands out, showcases your products, and helps you connect with your customers. Plus, it’s totally free to try out the platform for 14 days if you’re ready to start growing the business of your dreams.
Now I know it can be tempting to just jump in to running a business and figure it out as you go. But taking the time to work through each of the steps I covered today can make a huge difference in terms of building a more sustainable business for the long term for starting a business.