All businesses make mistakes. Small business owners are sometimes worse affected by this as they wear so many hats, and don’t have the functional specialists that large companies do. Due to this, and the frantic pace in which they may operate, some of the basics are missed.
What are the three most common mistakes, that cause real or potential lost profits?
- Not minding your business relationships – Customers buy from people they trust. Maintaining, building, and growing relationships build trust. It’s as simple as that. Referral business is based on relationships. Technology, social media, and your website are tremendous tools to augment the more personal approach.
- Losing the Mindset that made your business successful – Over 50% of business failures are in the first year. However, the other 50% come to those that survived their first year. Once small businesses become viable and reliable sources of income, owners often become complacent. How often do you analyze your competition to see where you can improve competitively? How often do you re-assess your customer market to see if things have changed or can be enhanced to hold and grow your customer base? Before growth slows or subsides, consider creating or updating a business plan as if you were just starting your business today.
- Choosing partners based ONLY on price – To the extent you rely on vendors, partners, and services to deliver your product or service to your clients… what is your focus? Your first question to vendors SHOULD be “How Much?”… but not regarding the cost. Your focus should be on “How much money will this make for me?”. Service prices are often flexible, so consider cost against service levels which will help you make more money. For example, fast delivery, customization, etc. Service providers should also be able to review your business goals with you and create a custom service that helps you meet or exceed these goals.