Starting a new business is a bit like opening a fresh notebook, with each page representing an opportunity. Just as you are sure to misspell a word or have a blotchy pen that mars the perfection, there’s no avoiding mistakes as you work to get everything in your business up and running. The unavoidable nature of mistakes has a silver lining – you can learn from the blunders of those who started before you. Here are five common pitfalls that your future self will be eternally grateful to have avoided.
You can’t be an expert at everything, but you want to make the right choice when you invest in IT solutions. Many businesses end up with multiple systems that don’t integrate, which means they need to do hours of data entry to move information from one to the next. Or they buy several software solutions that do similar things because they aren’t familiar with all of the functionality of each one.
If you are in the dark about technology, small business IT support services can steer you in the right direction. Most companies are switching across to a Software-as-a-Service model to pay for what they need with inbuilt scalability and flexibility. Finding a reliable tech partner could save you a great deal of time and money in the long-run.
Trying to Appeal to Everyone
If you try to appeal to everyone, there is a high likelihood that no-one will want your products or services. Instead, you need to select your target market carefully. The best way to do this is to identify a need or gap in the market. For example, Whole Foods was launched to offer people a destination to find healthy, natural, and organic groceries. They weren’t just another supermarket – they were the first supermarket of their kind. Before you even launch the business, look for your niche.
Skipping the Research
Once you think you have an excellent product or business plan, you need to test it out. You can do focus groups, surveys, or usability testing. It is all about getting honest feedback and opinions from people. Ideally, you want to get feedback from people outside your family and friends because no matter how objective they think they can be, they will have natural biases. Test your ideas with the general public, and you should be able to gather some incredibly helpful data.
Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Unless you are a sole trader, you will likely need to bring in other staff at some stage. Many business owners put this off for too long as they are reluctant to outlay the wages. While it is sensible to be frugal with your cash in the early days of launching a new business, you will reach a point where you cannot expand without hiring someone. In fact, you will likely find that you are struggling even to do the basics because there is now just too much work for one person.
Neglecting Your Online Presence
Few businesses can get away with not having a website or a social media page where they offer information to potential customers. A Google survey found that 63% of shopping occasions begin online. That means even if they make their final purchase in a brick-and-mortar store, they’ve started their research and decision-making via the internet. Whether you set up a Facebook page or outsource your website, you need a digital presence.
Be kind to future you by skipping these mistakes. They may seem small, but they could turn your exciting new business adventure into a nightmare.