10 Things You Should Never Do to Grow Your Small Business
BY: EMILY SNELL ON THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2019
The small business confidence is at its peak these days. In a recent survey, more than 50% of small businesses agreed that they experienced higher economic growth throughout 2018 and are quite confident that their future is bright.
Clearly, things are working in favor of small businesses. But that’s the case only when you have a good plan and structure in place for your business. And this is where small business owners make the most common, destructive mistakes.
In this article, we’re going to take this discussion forward and talk about the things that you should never do when you’re part of a startup or a small business.
Seeking suggestion to skyrocket your small business's growth, try taking lessons from the mistakes your fellow managers and business owners made in their own time. Here’s your first lecture. Below, we’ve outlined some of the biggest business mistakes that you should never make - like NEVER EVER.
Ready? Let’s get started then.
1. Taking a chance with planning
Strategic planning is what turns a great idea into true success. Now, planning is not a one-time event. It's an ongoing process that requires a significant amount of attention and time investment. Remember what Benjamin Franklin said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Before you even start taking actions to grow your small business, you need to do some serious research. You need to determine what your business is actually capable of achieving with the available resources (time, money, and people) and make an actionable plan accordingly. Never take chances with planning, no matter what's at stake. Take all the time you need to assess your business and its requirements, collect all the analytics, stats, and records that are available to you, and finally, use all the available insight to create a full-proof plan.
You can also consider taking help from your trusted advisors or using a software like ProofHub for task management and project planning so that you can make good decisions about your business’s future. It might take more time and money to get all this input, but it's all worth the effort if you create a plan that points your business in the right direction.
2. Rushing through the hiring process
Since your business is still growing, you will likely need to hire more talent. But rushing through the hiring process to fill every position as quickly as possible is not the ideal way.
If you're rushing through the hiring process, you might end up hiring wrong people for your team. Hiring platforms like Indeed are a great place to start. Create a detailed job description before you start the hiring process and keep your focus on the candidates who possess the required skills and qualifications.
3. Relying too much on paper
Despite all the facts and fringe benefits, the paper simply can't beat digital technology in terms of file management and data security. So if your business-critical information still relies on papers and binders, then you need to update your business's file management process.
There are many popular file management and file sharing tools that can help you collect all the important business data in one place and access them easily whenever, wherever needed. With the help of digital technologies, you can not only keep your information but you also keep it safe from potential threats like unauthorized access and poor file versioning.
Moreover, there are many software and tools that provide online proofing and feedback sharing functionality. That means everyone associated with a project can share files and collaborate seamlessly on them using comments and markup tools.
4. Going after every opportunity that sounds exciting
When you're growing your small business, you might become proactive. You might want to grab every opportunity that could help you grow your business. But this proactiveness could easily become your biggest mistake and hurt your business badly.
Remember, there are local business experts who hold experience with what you’re trying to do and are more than happy to help you out. And above all, you've your fellow team members whom you can consult before making any important decision for your small business.
5. Trusting informal, verbal agreements
Small or large, businesses should always put their agreements in writing. However, there are many who still prefer to rely on informal, verbal agreements. Assuming that an oral agreement is as legally enforceable as a written one is their biggest mistake. Having written agreements with employees, business partners, lenders, etc helps to ensure that everyone (including you) keeps their promise and gets what they want.
6. Spending too much time on low-value activities
As a part of a growing business, you (and your team) have too many goals to hit. This is the time where you often lose track of what's important and what can be done later. The result? You end up spending too much time on tasks and activities that were not that important or urgent.
Using a to-do list or time tracking app can be a great help in this case. Such automated resources can not only help you get organized with your day but also allow you to track every minute you spend working on a specific task and activity, allowing you to identify if you're moving in the right direction or not.
7. Overlooking strengths unless they're surfaced
This is probably the biggest mistake many small business owners and leaders make today. Every business is unique – they have one thing that others don't. Sadly, most businesses fail to focus on their strengths.
If your small business has some quality or service that can be highlighted in the market, then do just that. Don't let your strengths get surfaced. In this competitive business world (where providers are continuously increasing and purchasers are limited), what you need to do is showcase your expertise and tell your targeted audience why your product/service is the BEST.
8. Continuing marketing strategies that show minimal results
Online marketing has become an integral part of the business world. From email marketing to website optimization, there are numerous marketing strategies that can help small business owners grow their business online. Unfortunately, not all marketing strategies are equally effective.
Most of the ideas you'll hear are either too common or are about to be replaced by something more effective. In all, the business world is continuously evolving and so are the various marketing strategies. So if your current marketing campaign is not bringing you the expected results, try something new. Remember what Matt Rissell said: “the best way to grow your small business is to never become complacent and always be testing. Identify your customers’ needs, test your hypothesis, iterate, and test again.”
9. Focusing too much on bringing in new customers
Businesses often underestimate the importance of an existing customer while welcoming a new one. Yes, it's important that you attract new people towards your product and services, but that doesn't change the fact that your current customers are the key to your business's success.
Do you know that your customers can be a great source of insight when you're looking for ways to grow or improve your business? You can simply ask your current customers to submit reviews and answer surveys. If possible, you can interview some of your customers and delve deeper into what they want and what they feel about your product or services. This will help you figure out how to grow your small business and what services customers really want. Try this simple trick and you will see your business profits improve.
10. Ignoring the bad news
Starting or expanding a small business can never be done without taking risks. While you do your best to make the right decisions, there is always a chance that you might end up with bad news. Now, getting into the details for what went wrong is obviously important, but what's even more important is the lesson you learn.
Never ignore a piece of bad news, especially when you're a part of a small business expansion. Instead, analyze the situation carefully, proactively identify potential roadblocks, and make sure that you and your team never encounter the same situation again. Use every bad news to learn a valuable lesson and set your business up for success in the future.
When you start a business or join one, don’t be too quick with your decisions, don’t do things that feel easier and obvious. Instead, analyze every stage and situation very carefully and do what’s best for your business and your team. Keep the above point in your intellect so that you can make the right choices at the right time.
In the end, you will see your business improve if you’re more cautious and you know what’s the worst that could happen in a situation. Use the insight you’ve got today to get yourself better prepared for the future. Have a plan for everything and stick to your plan to get the best results.
Do you have some useful tips for your fellow managers and leaders? If yes, then don’t forget to share them in the comments below.