Business mistake # 1 – Not having a business plan

So do you have a business plan? Are you going to wing it like so many others and watch your business slowly die before it even starts? Or are you going to take action and propel your business into success? You see, some people have a ton of reasons not to make their business successful.

Business owners blame the economy; they claim that advertising doesn’t work; they’re too lazy to implement free marketing techniques; they are simply very close to being ran out of the marketplace. If this sounds like you, then I know exactly how you feel.

You see, when I ran my business, I did a lot of direct mail. This was when it was cheap to mail out a letter. Now it costs almost $1 to send out a single letter, so I had to get creative since direct mail costs are extremely high. So I spent money on postcards to generate a lead and follow up on this lead to close the sale. And this worked beautifully for me.

So how will you adapt to this new and changing economy? Will you sit back and do things that have proven ineffective for you, or will you try something different? It all starts with your attitude and a willingness to be successful. I’ve failed many times, but I learned something new with each new attempt to launch a successful business.

Now I asked you earlier if you have a plan for your business. And not just a generic business plan or business proposal… do you have a sound marketing strategy in place that will help you to accomplish your goals? You see one of the best things I did for my business was that I wrote a marketing plan for my business.

I had to create an outline of how to successfully market my business because everything else I had tried in textbooks simply didn’t work. In a sense, I abandoned all of the traditional ways of marketing (cold calling, telemarketing, etc.) and focused my efforts on attracting prospects to me. This simple shift revolutionized my business.

I went from practically begging prospects to do business with me – to people eagerly contacting me to do business. This is the kind of response that you should strive for in all of your run ads. To do this, consider offering prospects something for free. People love gifts, and this is a way that you can get your foot in the door to a prospect who doesn’t know you.

If you’re doing ok in your business and want to take it to another level, then I suggest you focus on ways to attract people to your business. This will take some creative thinking o your behalf, but once it’s done… you will have a consistent marketing plan that can work for you for years to come.

This simple shift in ideology can turn your business around in a heartbeat. This is how I improved my business, and I know you can turn your business around also doing the same thing.

Business mistake #2 – Not having a marketing plan

A marketing plan is something that every business owner should have. Without a marketing plan, your business is dead in the water. I used to think that marketing plans are for losers, and they have no relevance to the real-life world of doing business. But, boy, was I wrong?

I discovered that without a plan, it would not be tough to market my business successfully. It took me five painful years to finally devise a 14-page marketing plan, but the solution was revealed to me once I did it. You see, once I created my marketing plan, it was almost a copy and paste job. I didn’t have to wonder what to do next – all I had to do was refer to my business plan and follow the list step by step. It should be your goal to develop a personal marketing plan also.

So tell me, what’s your plan to acquire customers for your business? You should know the answer to this question off the top of your head. The best way to get an answer that you can remember is simply to write it down. When I wrote out my business plan, everything became clear to me, and I had to follow the plan, and I would be set. I suggest you take the time to create a marketing plan so that you can focus more of your efforts on attending to your business and not wondering how to market your business.

Part of your marketing plan should be about how you expect to sell more of your products to your existing customers. If you didn’t already know, 80% of your business profits would come from backend sales. This is simply because you don’t have to persuade or convince someone to do business with you. Your existing customers know you and like you and don’t mind doing business with you.

Now let’s talk about the content of your marketing plan. What I mean by the content is the actual strategies that you will use to acquire more new customers. One great technique that I use is direct mail. Direct mail is getting more and more expensive to do, but it nevertheless still works the same as it used to be when postage costs were left.

Another technique that still works to this day is newspaper advertising. You could run advertorials, coupon ads, free offers, etc., to make this technique work for you. People still read the newspapers, so this is a good place to begin your marketing efforts. Be sure to include your contact information in the ad and offer more than one way to respond. Not everyone wants to respond in the same way – so keep this in mind.

It doesn’t matter what technique you implement in your business, just make sure that you have a clear and concise marketing plan that will work for years to come. It will more than likely pay for itself in the long-term scheme of things.

Business mistake #3 – Failing to develop business partnerships

In the business world, building partnerships or joint ventures are critical for success. The partnerships you make can make your business a real success, making you more profitable. There are all kinds of joint ventures that you can start, and that is what I’m here to show you how to do.

The first kind of joint venture that you can do offline is selling a physical product. If you have a product, but your potential partner has a list, you could offer them a nice percentage of each sale for promoting your item to their list. It takes a bit to set everything out, but there isn’t any doubt in my mind that this is an effective strategy.

One of the fastest ways to obtain a joint venture partner is by meeting up in your local chamber of commerce and networking with the business owners there. Everyone is looking for ways to make more money in their business, so partnering up with them would be a no-brainer.

The next thing you could do is run an ad and be the endorsement for the partnering business. Finally, you could be the referral, and the targeted company should be your JV partner. You can run an ad in the local newspaper or even on social media promoting each other’s services. If you both have a website, you can link to each other’s websites to boost search engine rankings.

Another JV idea is to write reviews for one another. For example, send a letter or postcard to your list talking about your joint venture partner and include an offer to take advantage of your partner’s product or service. When writing the review, speak in 3rd person. You could also run an ad in a magazine in your partner’s niche and endorse your partner that way.

Another form of a joint venture that you can do is to generate more leads. For every lead that you generate, include an option to subscribe to similar lists. A similar list should be your joint venture partner’s list. And for every lead that your partner generates, have them offer their leads the ability to subscribe to your mailing list. (Make sense?)

Using these ideas can land you more customers or clients in a short period. You have to spend minimum advertising funds, and it’s an effective way to get your name out there to the masses. Stick with these models of joint ventures, and you will be well on your way to success.

If you were wondering if joint ventures could work for you, now is the time to test it out. Because believe it or not, you’ll make more partnering up with a similar company in your area. It all starts with your proposal letter – so make sure you make the deal as attractive as possible. Remember that business owners are very busy, so you have to make it seem worth their time. If you can do that, then you’re halfway there.

Business mistake #4 – Failing to set attainable business goals

What goals have you set for your business this year? Have you set attainable goals or impossible goals? I ask you because you have to set clear goals that will guide you on your path to success to know where you’re going. Of course, most business owners don’t want to hear this “self-improvement” advice, but little do they know that it’s the one thing that can take their business to the top.

Beyond marketing and advertising your business, you should start with small goals and then gradually increase them to long-term goals that you will accomplish. For example, a short-term goal that I have set in my business is to get at least ten subscribers per day to sign up to my mailing list. And my long-term goal (in about three years) is to have over 100,000 subscribers on my opt-in mailing list.

Another one of my long-term goals is to average one sale per day in my business. Hopefully, ten years from now, I’ll be able to get around five sales per day in my business, but this is something that is far out in the distant future. So what about you? What are your goals for having success in your business?

When making out your goals, I think you should stick to basic things first. For example, one short-term goal that you can set is to contact your customers monthly. This one change alone can help you to make a lot more money in your business. In addition, 80% of all business profits will come from sales on the back end, so if you have a customer list that is dormant right now, more than likely, you can reactivate these customers with a simple letter to their home.

A long-term goal you could have is to hire more employees. And, if you’re going to hire more new employees, there must be a clear reason for why you want to do this. Well, a great reason you can have for wanting to hire more new employees is that you have a lot more business. And if you have a lot more new business, then more than likely, your advertising and marketing engines are running at full speed.

Setting goals in your business isn’t hard to do at all. Sometimes a single goal that you’ve set for your business is the one thing that can take your business over the top. I can remember one time in my life where I wanted to start my own home business, but I had no idea of how to go about starting one.

I had tried everything from direct mail to online affiliate programs, but I wasn’t having any kind of success at all. Now when I look back at that period, I realize that I didn’t set clear and attainable goals to follow. This was part of why my business failed because all I was doing on a daily basis was running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Don’t be like me. Start setting goals in your business now so that you can track and measure your progress. The more successful you are with your goals, the more attainable goals you should set. Keep these tips in mind when marketing your products and services.

What are the worst business mistakes entrepreneurs make?

Watch the above video to learn about some of the top business mistakes. Also checkout our article called “Why Some Businesses Fail While Others Succeed“.

Here is an outline on what’s covered in the video:

  • Lack of planning. It is important to do strategic planning the right way.
  • Partnering with the wrong people. Take the required steps to find the right business partner.
  • Making products without consulting the customer.
  • Lack of focus.
  • Insufficient capital.
  • Bad management.
  • Hiring the wrong people.
  • Growing your business too fast. What to do if your business is growing too fast?
  • No disaster recovery plan.
The following two tabs change content below.
George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.