Whether you have an idea for a business, or you’ve been at yours for a while, there are some pitfalls lurking around the corner. Because we want you to succeed at every possible turn – that is the foundation of The Kickass Entrepreneur, we’re sharing 5 of the biggest mistakes a small business can make, and how to avoid them.
5 of the Biggest Mistakes a Small Business Can Make
1. Getting Stuck in Idea Mode
Ideas are sexy and exciting! A new idea can hit you like lightning and that initial euphoria, during which you think it is the best idea ever, is thrilling. It’s easy to see why so many of us get addicted to that feeling of newness.
Those of us who are natural ideas people know that it is very easy to get stuck in this mode and find there reason to continue to stay stuck there. But an idea is just a thought, it requires action to be anything close to “Good.”
And sometimes our paralysis in idea mode stems from a deep-down belief that if we try, we might fail. The best way to get unstuck from idea mode is to take an honest look at your business WHY – that mission that drives you forward – as well as the core values that define you. Run new ideas through this filter to see how they truly sit with you.
Do they move you forward in your goals or mission?
Do they allow you to live your values? Let go of the ideas that don’t actually fit with your larger vision, but zero in on putting action behind those that do.
2. Thinking a Dry Spell is Cause to Wallow
Here’s the frank and honest truth: almost every business hits a dry spell at one time or another. You might be flying with lead after lead, and then BAM a very low valley.
First, know that ebb and flow of entrepreneurship is a natural and common feature. Rather than stressing about these, you need to protect yourself from dry spells with a little foresight. Save money in a good month, to make up for low valleys. And when you are in a valley, don’t use it as an opportunity to throw your hands up in the air and say “see I’m not good enough anyway.” Stop and reflect on what is and isn’t working in your business.
What can do you do MORE of that is working.
What can you do LESS of that isn’t working?
Reach out to old connections, try to forge new ones.
Take the extra time you now have in your schedule to develop a skill or improve your natural talents. What makes you more marketable in your business?
Take the time to re-focus – on your customers, and discovering what it is they truly need from you, and on yourself- what is your area of brilliance and how can you do more of that?
3. Believing You Can Go it Alone
The lonely entrepreneur … what a cliche! This is not how we work best! We work best when we are members of a vibrant community – giving and taking fantastic ideas and new perspectives. We work best when we allow others to contribute their area of brilliance, to strengthening our own. We are not meant to be a one-woman show, and most of us are not multi-talented in all areas of business, parenthood, and life.
So let others in.
Let others form a community around you, to not just take work off your plate (if you can afford to implement this do – it will accelerate your business) but to make the work before you are more enjoyable. Thinking you can go it alone is a reason many businesses fail. You may not be able to hire a Virtual Assistant, but you can find small ways to build a community around you. Hire a mother’s helper a few hours a week to give yourself uninterrupted work time.
Delegate household duties to children and spouses, and join our Facebook group (it’s free) to surround yourself with supportive entrepreneurs who are in the exact same boat as you – great for moral support, great for referrals, great for taking the lonely out of entrepreneurship.
4. Undervaluing Your Offering
Many entrepreneurs struggle with confidence in entrepreneurship. This could be a challenging “mistake” to avoid.
This sputtering confidence means we often undervalue the contribution we have to make in the world. Are you charging enough for what you provide to clients and customers? Your pricing strategy should be built on the value your customers are receiving – how is your offering changing their life or economic outlook?
Your pricing strategy should not be built on an arbitrary figure you or the rest of the world attaches to the hours you devote to your work. We’ll be publishing an article soon with advice for how to price your freelance service or coaching offering. If you catch yourself leading with a lack of confidence, make this a priority. Build up your confidence and boldly ask for MORE. And then, it’s important that you understand the gross and net margins in your business, as most businesses are much less profitable then you would hope.
5. Working In Your Business, Never Working On Your Business
One of the biggest mistakes a small business can make, especially startup mistakes, is spending so much time focused on the work it takes to run their business every day, they seldom take time to focus on strengthening the long-term growth of their business.
This is a bit like following your toddler around the house all day, instead of putting up the appropriate safety measures to make her exploration a little less worrisome for you. Constantly troubleshooting existing problems, tackling immediate daily tasks and not setting aside adequate time to focus on what’s next, means you are always in the moment, and never planning for the future. Servicing existing clients is important, but not having any means of getting new ones means your existing business is precariously built on the whims of the people you are servicing right now. What happens if they walk away from you tomorrow?
Yes, working ON your business is an investment: of time and often money, towards courses, coaches and membership programs. But this investment is in your future. And isn’t that worth it?
Hopefully the above helped you in better understanding some of the biggest mistakes a small business can make.
Good luck with building your business (and avoiding the mistakes).
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this one: Profit Isn’t a Disease. It’s the By-Product of a Well-Run Company. If You’re Not Yet Profitable, Fix It or Get a Job.
You should also consider subscribing to my blog. I publish one article a week on small business and wealth creation. You can subscribe here.
Also, I published a book during the summer of 2018, “The Kickass Entrepreneur’s Guide to Investing, Three Simple Steps to Create Massive Wealth with Your Business’s Profits.” It was number 1 on Amazon in both the business and non-fiction sections. You can get a free copy here.