For as long as you can remember, you’ve wanted to start your own business. You’ve seen the late-night infomercials — start a business with no money and sit by the pool while the checks roll into your mailbox!
It’s time for a reality check.
Those claims may be unrealistic, but your dream of starting and running your own successful business is not. It won’t be easy, and many small businesses fail, but not because they weren’t a good idea or the person starting the business wasn’t passionate about the venture. They failed because of small mistakes by a new business owner that added up to a big failure. Here are some common mistakes for a small business.
Do Your Homework
Understand you will be spending a lot of time with this business, so make sure you choose something you’re passionate about rather than selecting something that you just think will make a lot of money. That means doing research — a lot of research.
Once you have some ideas about the business you want to start, you’ll want to research the competition and how they present themselves to the world via their marketing and their websites.
You may think you know your chosen industry, but you also need to do your research there and be sure of current trends and projections for the future. For example, maybe when you were younger, you always wanted to start a business selling used CDs or creating them with your own artists. But now, almost nobody buys CDs, so starting that kind of business would be a dead end for anyone. Check forecasted trends.
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…
There are some businesses you can start with very little capital, such as drop-shipping or selling print-on-demand T-shirts where you don’t have to buy anything upfront. Rest assured, you’re still going to have some expenses no matter what your industry.
Websites and their domains are cheap, and you can find good deals on hosting your site, but those are still going to be expenses. Advertising is going to be an expense. You can advertise on social media for free if you’re willing to wait years to build up visibility and a client base. It’s free, but it will take forever unless you invest in some paid advertising.
You’ll have to rent office space or even if you’re running your business out of your home, there will be equipment expenses and utilities.
The reality is, even if you’re selling a product you don’t have to buy upfront or selling a service you’re doing yourself, there are still going to be expenses involved. You need to make sure you have enough money to make this business work and failing to do so is a common small business mistake.
Your Business Website Is Not the Field of Dreams
Just because you build it, that doesn’t mean they will come. Customers, that is. One common mistake among business owners is thinking that if they simply build a website they will suddenly get tons of business. Unfortunately, that’s not true.
Once you build a website, you need to find ways to drive traffic to that site, or no one will even know it — or your business — exists. Marketing through social media and advertisements are great ways to promote your business. One of the biggest advantages of social media is the fact that it’s free or very low cost.
You could create a page or a group on Facebook. A page is just a place where you can get information, but along with giving some information about your business, try to include posts that are useful or humorous to potential clients. People love a site that makes them laugh.
If you create a group, it’s more of a discussion between you and people who are interested in the topic of your business. You’ll have to choose whether to allow other people to post or not. Know that allowing everyone to pose will eventually lead to someone trying to take advantage of the system and posting their own advertisements, or spam. But it’s still a useful way to promote your business, as is paid advertising on social media sites which aren’t free, but are usually very inexpensive and you can choose your budget.
Also consider other social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, or even a site that matches businesses with customers looking for specific services, like Angie. Research which sites target the demographic you want to target. Facebook audiences are much older than Tik Tok users.
Don’t Buy a Mailing List, Create Your Own
Giving potential customers an incentive is a great way to get them to give you their email address and agree to a newsletter from your business. You can choose a coupon or you can offer some kind of free download as an incentive, such as a free e-book or PDF file. The majority of business owners agree that having an email and newsletter list brings them the most income and business of any other method.
You Can’t Do It All By Yourself
When you start a new business, it’s like your baby. You want to make sure everything is done exactly the way you want, plus you don’t want to have to pay for other people to help. But sometimes you have to.
Expect to work harder for a new business than in any job you’ve ever worked in the past. The difference is, that you’re working for yourself and your dream, so you don’t mind working hard. But that has its limits.
If you have a business online, consider hiring a virtual assistant or even family members to help you with the business. If you have a business that has a physical location or offers a service, you’re going to need to have people to help you out to be able to grow your business.
Having said that, there are also ways you can keep the hired help to a minimum to save money. There are software programs designed to help small businesses, including the one from ServiceWorks. It offers lead tracking, scheduling appointments, handling invoices, handling payroll, and so much more. This can be invaluable for a new business until it grows large enough to hire a full support staff.
And it can keep you from going crazy through those awkward stages of expansion. You don’t even have to pay anything upfront and can try it for free. Contact us today.