A small business owner that has never made a mistake is one that simply hasn’t been doing it long enough. Mistakes happen to the best of us, and realising you’ve made one can be outright disheartening, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Being able to “fail fast” and learn from your mistakes can actually help you refine your business in the long run. With that in mind, let’s look at 5 of the most common mistakes small business make.
Forgetting about Digital
A strong digital presence is essential in the modern world. It can help generate leads from search engines, showcase your best work and allow existing customers a chance to interact with you. Chief among your digital assets is your website. A stunning 64% of shoppers who are unhappy with your website will go elsewhere for their next purchase. It’s an essential part of their path from desire to purchase, even in the physical world where many will choose to look at online reviews and your website for a few minutes before entering your premises or making a purchase. Fail to deliver here and it won’t matter how much experience and expertise you have because you won’t ever get a chance to put your case in front of the customer. Your website is the opening pitch for your business, it’s worth time and investment.
Not focusing on the customer
Do you know what your customer wants? Your business is, essentially, a way for them to solve a problem in their life. Maybe they need somewhere to eat or to buy some new clothes. Maybe their faulty roofing tiles need replacing or they need their website built. Whatever the case may be, your job is to help them solve that problem in the most satisfying and friction less way. To do that, you need to understand their needs and their concerns and address them ahead of time. Create a product or service that really does what they want it to. Customer research, staying in touch with developments in your industry and regularly checking review sites are all essential to understanding your customer.
Ignoring the execution
It’s common for business owners to get so wrapped up in a brilliant idea that they fail to stop for a moment to actually consider how they’re going to bring that idea to life, or if they even should. Before you get too carried away with any new idea, think about how it fits into the wider context of your business. On a broad scale, consider your industry. What are your competitors doing? Is your idea innovative? If it, is it too innovative for the market right now, do you need to stagger its implementation? If someone else is already doing something similar, what can you learn from them? Does the idea fit with current trends? Once you’ve considered all that, what about the specific circumstances of your business? How much expendable income does your customer base have to spare? Is this the kind of idea that will bring in local footfall or drive it away?
Sometimes, you just have to spend money to make money. When times are tough, the business has just started or cash-flow is limited, it’s tempting to make do, spending as little as possible. In the long run though, you could be severely stunting your business. Aim to strive, rather than simply survive, and you’ll find growth comes much more naturally. Attracting new leads, getting new content, recruiting, promoting yourself locally, SEO all cost money but they also serve a greater purpose: getting more people to come to you. Managed responsibly, business loans can give you the extra injection you need to keep your business moving forward.