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Top Small Business Mistakes
Mistakes Small Businesses Often Make
By Sharon Housley
Many small businesses make mistakes,
and smart entrepreneurs will learn from the mistakes
of others. With that in mind, we have compiled a list
of some common mistakes that small business owners often
1. Knowing It All
Business owners who think they have learned
it all will very often tend to fail. Even the most experienced
entrepreneurs have to be willing to learn continually.
There are always new technologies and markets emerging.
It is very important to learn these new technologies
and adapt to changing markets.
2. Blindly Taking Advice From Others
What works well for one business may or
may not work as well for another. It is important that
all advice be considered and weighed. When evaluating
advice, be sure to consider the source, the similarities,
and the dissimilarities to your situation, and then
make a determination of whether the advice is applicable
or relevant. Avoid the urge to just blindly follow the
advice of others, no matter how successful they might
3. Not Using Targeted Marketing Efforts
The most effective type of marketing is
"targeted" marketing. A locally-based retail store that
spends money on a global marketing campaign will likely
spend that money reaching customers who will never cross
their threshold. Target your audience with a clear message,
and focus your advertising in ways that will target
legitimate prospective customers.
4. Believing That If A Little Is Good, Then More Must
This applies to a wide variety of business
aspects. Not everything in business will scale equally.
For example, if you conduct an email marketing campaign
once a week and have great results, that does not necessarily
mean that increasing the frequency of the mailings will
lead to even more positive results. Such assumptions
can often lead to big and costly mistakes.
5. Not Listening To Customers
Your customers are the best source of
ideas and inspiration available to you. Welcome both
compliments and criticisms from your customers. Small
businesses can learn a lot from their customers, so
listen carefully to what they are saying, and more importantly,
listen to what they are not saying!
6. Lack Of Diversification
Having all your eggs in one basket can
be a serious mistake that many small businesses fall
into. Small businesses should make an effort to diversify
their income streams whenever possible. The key to doing
this successfully is to strike a balance between diversifying
your business interests to create multiple revenue streams,
yet not spreading yourself or your staff too thin to
adequately handle everything.
7. Hiring Friends And Family
They are your family. You know them,
you love them, but... can you really afford to hire
them? Hiring family members, as well as close friends,
can often do serious damage to otherwise strong relationships.
How someone behaves in a social situation is not always
a good indication of how they will perform as an employee.
Many small businesses staff their companies with friends
and relatives, and at times it works just great; but
when it doesn't, it can be really messy, and can often
lead to seriously damaged personal and family relationships
outside the business. Avoid the urge to hire friends
and family members as employees.
8. Failure To Adapt
Businesses may need to make changes due
to shifting economic conditions or advances in technology.
Small businesses have the advantage of being agile,
and most can quickly and easily adapt to changing market
conditions and advancing technologies. Yet many still
fail to do so, and that can lead to serious problems.
9. Failure To Build Brand
Regardless of a company's size, building
a brand is all about establishing a reputation. Do not
make the mistake of thinking your company is too small
to need a brand. Identify an image or logo with your
product or service in order to effectively establish
a brand, and then use that image to reinforce your brand
on an ongoing basis.
10 Failure To Track
It is critical that business owners track
what works in their business, and what does not. Why
waste precious and often limited advertising funds on
marketing efforts that do not result in sales. Monitor
and track all marketing efforts carefully, so you will
know the best and most successful options to spend your
marketing funds and efforts on.
These are just a few of the more common
mistakes that small businesses often make. Watch for
and avoid making them yourself!
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
audio recording and editing software.
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