6 Business Blunders Entrepreneurs Will Make in the Next Year
Starting your own business is filled with challenges and learning experiences. No matter how long you’ve been in business or what your background is, you can be sure you’ll make at least a few mistakes. How well you recover from those blunders means the difference between success and failure.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, around 33.6% of small businesses survive the 10-year mark. If you want your company to be around longer than a couple of years, you must learn from the mistakes of others and embrace change.
What are the biggest mistakes made by startup entrepreneurs? Here are six business blunders we think are worth looking at and how to rise above them.
Mismanaging Cash Flow
One of the top reasons businesses fail is due to cash flow issues. Either your brand grows rapidly and you can’t keep up with demand, or you flounder at first and lack revenue.
When times are good, plan for lean times. Put aside an emergency fund. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced stores around the world to shut down, brands with some money in reserve were able to weather the storm.
Expect the best, but plan for the worst. Have enough for any catastrophe. If one never occurs, you can eventually use some of the money to expand your store, market to a new audience, or otherwise improve your business.
There are many ways of getting the word out about your brand. If you serve business-to-business (B2B) customers, realize your target audience may be broader than you think. Around 79% of companies involve more than one person in their decision-making. Your buyer personas may cover a broad range of personalities.
Tap into both online and offline marketing. With online marketing, you can get very audience-specific and put the ad in front of certain demographics. With offline marketing, look for opportunities to reach those who are most likely to become your customers. Attend trade shows and other events in your area.
Many companies either lay off a dedicated marketing manager or ignore the need for a social media presence due to the cost. However, your name recognition and branding will suffer without a professional at the helm.
Being Too Confident
Perhaps your company started off strong. You outshone the competition on every level. Unfortunately, that may not always be the case.
Competitors often revamp their efforts and become more desirable. They add services, lower prices, or find unique marketing angles. There is also always the possibility of new startups taking away your clients.
Keep an eye on what the competition is up to. You can’t adjust your efforts if you don’t know how to combat theirs.
Not Adapting to Mobile Device Usage
According to Statista, there are approximately 4.66 billion active internet users globally. Around 92.6% of them accessed the internet via mobile devices at least some of the time.
Your website must work well on mobile devices. Images and text should adapt to smaller screens. Pay careful attention to navigation and how well it works on smartphones.
Think about the user experience (UX) of your page. Is it easy to tap a button or two and order from you? If the user has to type a bunch of text on a small screen keyboard, they may grow frustrated and bounce away. Create the best UX possible.
Choosing the Wrong Staff
While growing your brand, you may be on a limited budget. It’s tempting to go with the inexperienced intern who will work for free. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. If you don’t invest in the right people, you might as well throw your money away.
Keep in mind, too, that you’ll get the intern trained and then they’ll leave for a paying job. No one will work for free or cheap forever. People have families to care for and bills to pay.
Hire the absolute best people you can afford. Pay them well and give them raises, even if it is a stretch to do so. Not only will they stay with you, but your company will also benefit from their growing experience and dedication.
Many entrepreneurs are guilty of wanting to do everything themselves. After all, no one else can do it quite the way you would, right? Unfortunately, this is also a recipe for burnout.
Sit down and make a list of the tasks you do on a regular day. Next, divide those tasks into things you absolutely must do and things you could delegate. For example, punching sales receipts into your accounting software can easily be delegated to an administrative assistant or accountant.
Once you delegate, don’t micro-manage. If you spend all your time checking and redoing other people’s work, you don’t save a minute. Ideally, your time is spent developing relationships with clients and coming up with fresh ideas to keep your brand forging ahead.
Get a Mentor
One of the smartest things entrepreneurs can do is seek out someone with more experience. Find a successful business owner and ask them to teach you what they know. Ideally, they will be in the same industry but not your competition.
The wisdom of those who’ve gone before you and paved the same path will save you from making costly blunders. You can run big ideas past your mentor and get feedback on why they think the move will or won’t work. With a little foresight, you can avoid missteps and embrace opportunities.
Contributed by Eleanor Hecks
Eleanor is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.