What Not to Do: Big Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Big businesses and massive corporations have plenty of margin for error. They can throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. Small businesses? Not so much.

With limited resources, even the simplest mistakes can have devastating consequences. If you can learn how to avoid them, you increase your chances for success.

Avoid These Costly Mistakes

No two companies are identical. Yet regardless of the industry you’re in, there are a few common mistakes that tend to hold small businesses back. Find a way to overcome and avoid the following and you’ll be far ahead of the competition.

  1. Casting Too Wide of a Net

It’s very tempting to try and be all things to all people – particularly if you have a product or service that appeals to a massive percentage of the population. But with very few exceptions – like Amazon – there’s no successful brand in the world that appeals to everyone. Casting too wide of a net will come back to bite a small business almost every time.

Ask yourself this: Would you rather have a minuscule percentage of a large market, or a majority percentage of a smaller market? In most cases, the latter option is more profitable. It also leads to greater brand loyalty, lower overhead expenses, and much more consistent and streamlined branding. As the saying goes, there are riches in niches.

  1. Trying to Do Everything in House

When you first launch your business, you probably feel like you’re the only one who can do certain tasks. And while there might be certain tasks that require your direct input, the reality is that you’re pretty replaceable. Spoiler alert: We all are! Once you accept this fact, you’ll free up a lot of time and energy.

Outsourcing is a huge blessing. Get over your fear of losing control and begin delegating. For example, you should outsource website development to ensure you get a professional website with a proper user interface. Customer service and content writing are other aspects of your business that can be handed off to someone else.

Likewise, you should bring in a few other voices to help you on the leadership and strategy front.

“Find and onboard trustworthy seasoned advisors to discuss your business ideas, strategy, challenges, and progress. Wisdom and power exist in the multiplicity of counsel,” business owner James Zimbardi suggests. “Incentivize four to six people to join your company as advisors in order to receive continuous feedback so that fewer mistakes will occur.”

Outsourcing and partnering with other people will feel weird at first, but it’s the right move. You’ll benefit from having more skill and a better perspective. Mistakes will still happen, but so will growth.

  1. Not Having a One-Sentence Elevator Pitch

The 60-second elevator pitch is dead. While it’s a good idea to be able to coherently talk about your business for several minutes, the moments where you’ll have a chance to do so are few and far between. Attention spans are shorter than ever and you won’t always have an opportunity to give a comprehensive explanation of your business in passing. That’s why we recommend developing a one-sentence elevator pitch.

A one-sentence elevator pitch is basically your unique sales proposition (USP). It’s the one thing you do well/differently. It should be interesting, clear, and straight to the point.

Take a financial advisor, for example. Rather than saying you own your own financial planning practice, you could say something like: I help people not destroy their retirement portfolios OR I work with lawyers who hate financial advisors. Both of these statements are clear and compelling. Find one for your business.

  1. Having Sloppy Books

Nothing will cause more stress and frustration inside of a small business than sloppy accounting. If you want to streamline your business operations, improve your profit margins, and feel like you’re in control, develop an accounting system and clean up your books. Better yet, outsource it to someone else.

Set Your Small Biz Up for Big Results

Small businesses don’t have to settle for small results. It’s possible to run a lean business operation and still rake in six-, seven-, and even eight-figure profits. And it all starts with laying the correct foundation. Avoid the aforementioned mistakes and you’ll be well on your way!