Although many people decide to try and realise their dream of starting their own business, unfortunately it often turns into a nightmare for them. It is estimated that around a third of new small businesses fail within two years and that figure rises to more than 50% over five years. The problem that many face is making simple mistakes due to their inexperience and unfortunately these turn out to be extremely costly, resulting in the business failing before it ever really had a chance to grow. This article examines five of the worst rookie errors that a business owner can make.
The most common mistake is to underestimate the level of capital that will be needed in order to safeguard against miscalculations or economic slowdown. It takes time for a business to build and for the first few months you may only achieve a small number of sales. In order to keep the business afloat during this difficult period it is advisable to have around three times the amount of capital that you expect will be needed.
Another problem that small businesses have is mainly due to the attitude of the business owner. If he or she is stuck in the mindset that the business is too small to aggressively compete with and win customers from larger competitors then it will always suffer from a lack of drive and self-belief.
It is also generally a big mistake to think that you can save money by under-investing in technology. This applies to all aspects of your business – for example you could save around a thousand dollars by purchasing a very cheap computer for the office. However, this hardware would be far more likely to break down often and cost you money in terms of hours wasted. One of the greatest advantages of being a small business is the ease in which you can quickly implement new technology into the way you work, whereas any change for a large company is a lengthy and expensive process.
Also, it is important not to lose focus of your main priority as a small business: making money. Being creative is wonderful but you must be able to monetise your ideas or sadly they are useless to you. Every business needs someone dedicated to sales (even if it is just you) to make sure that customers keep coming through the door.
Finally, do not lose focus of the direction in which you are headed. It is easy to become distracted or head off on an unprofitable tangent. Make sure that you have a clear vision of where your business is ultimately going and make specific plans with achievable goals to steer you in the right direction.