Don’t you wish you could avoid all those mistakes that kill businesses?
Starting a business is a difficult task. You will be investing a lot of time, energy, and money in the venture. Let’s take a look at some common business traps that you should be careful to avoid if you want to be successful.
The Trap: Not having a business strategy.
Maybe you don’t need investors or you aren’t trying to secure a business loan. Or maybe you just don’t feel like taking the time and effort to write up a business plan. Doing the research and gathering all the data you’ll need for a plan might take you away from doing other important things. Why even bother writing everything down if you already know what you’re doing?
A business plan is not essential, but you need a business strategy or a document that acts as a roadmap for every decision you make. It sets your goals and details how to reach those goals. Without the details, you won’t understand if your goals are realistic or if it’s possible for you to make a profit.
The Trap: Insufficient cash flow.
Even with a solid business strategy, you will more than likely run into surprises and setbacks when starting a business. You might also find that it takes longer to establish a reliable flow of customers and cash. In order to minimize your risk of insufficient cash flow, do some research. Look at other businesses in your industry to find out how much they spent to get started. You should also determine the average annual sales for businesses similar to yours.
The Trap: Lack of marketing.
Even if you’re offering great products or services, they won’t sell if your customers don’t know about them. If you want to avoid this trap, develop a carefully thought out and well-rounded marketing plan. You should identify who your target market is, how you will reach them, and how much money you’ll need to market. Also, remember that marketing is ongoing and will need to be maintained and tweaked.
The Trap: Jumping on too many ideas.
It is important to assess the viability of opportunities and only to take it up if it’s aligned with your business goals and if your business is ready to add new products or features. Carefully consider your finances, personnel, operational efficiency, and customer base. Decide if this new opportunity will fit in with your business without compromising your current level and quality of operations.
The Trap: Inflexibility.
Make sure that, in addition to staying focused, you also stay aware of the ever-changing marketplace. Your business plan and your attitude should be flexible enough to allow you to change course when it appears to be in the best interest of your business.
The Trap: Failure to stake your claim online.
Whether you like it or not, all businesses today need to have an online presence. In fact, they need to be present in multiple places on the Internet. Almost every business and consumer looks online to find products and services provider and to research what they want to buy and who they buy it from. You need to ensure that you have a great website, detailed social media profiles, and accurate local listings on the major search engines.
photo credit: Peugeot Chimera