There are plenty of ways to make money. The world is busting with businesses, who are all trying to grab a piece of the pie. These range from billionaire mega corporations to small work-from-home punters.
For this reason, there’s a lot of money floating around. There are a lot of entrepreneurs cleaning up online, but there are also a lot of businesses being cleaned up.
If business was an easy gig, everyone would be doing it and we’d all be zillionaires. The fact is, there’s a heap of effort that goes into running a business and the start-up phase of most businesses is well, hell. People who leave the workforce to start businesses sometimes have a romantic view of the concept.
These mistakes can kill your business
Read on to discover the mistakes that can kill your business and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Not valuing time as money
Here’s my short summary of this:
There’s little support day-to-day and as a business person. You have to be everyone. The cleaner, the accountant, the receptionist, the manager and much more. There isn’t a lot of standing around next to the photocopier having a chat when you’re in business. Because frankly, time is money – and in business there never seems to be enough of both – until all that hard work starts to pay off and usually that’s years down the track.
Then there’s competitors. They can come and grab what you’ve got in a moment, so there’s a lot to learn. Sadly, usually us business folk – learn this lesson the hard way.
Work harder, not smarter
For all the above reasons it’s important to work smarter, not harder. This is especially relevant when it comes to competitors. Whatever you’re going after, don’t randomly throw your net out hoping to catch a fish. You need to be strategic and focused while fishing and practice good and consistent habits from day one.
Focus is key.
Not knowing your stuff
Know these two facts:
- Never assume your idea hasn’t been done before. Google it and you’ll find it’s probably already out there.
- If it’s not – great! But you’ll have to get used to the fact that the minute your idea is out there, it’s going to get copied. Period.
So, no matter how you approach the market – you need to be the best at what you do and do it differently than everyone else. You have to know your point of difference and make sure that point of difference is very different! Not just a little different. Otherwise, you’ll just disappear into the cloud of sameness that everyone else is floating in.
Trying to compete with Amazon
Amazon work hard at delivering consumers exactly what they need, fast, and at the right price. They’re big players in the market with massive resources, staff, investors and more. So if you are a small fish in this big pond, you’ll have to find a way to compete with big fish like Amazon or drown.
Yeah. In other words – if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
No. Don’t try to compete with Amazon (unless your selling stuff on your street and you can compete with postage prices!)
It’s better to play a game you know and are passionate about and you’ll reap rewards.
Not finding a niche
Big companies have a wide focus. Think of a huge net that can capture an entire ocean of fish. They’re awesome fishermen too and they can make huge sweeps of that ocean in terms of sales.
Let’s talk about McDonalds.
The burgers are pretty overpriced now. They’re smaller than at my local burger shop and they taste well, plastic. And yep – I still go to Maccas with my family because it’s a ‘thing’ we all do. But I don’t visit Maccas nearly as often as I used to. This is because I’ve kinda been poached by a local punter.
Our local burger shop knows my name. They’re cheaper than Maccas and their deals are not only reasonable but their burgers are fresh and delicious. My local takeaway cares about me and knows my kids’ names. They put effort into personalising their service and have a passion that shines through everything they do.
When trying to find a niche – think about what you really care about and what your passions are. If you love what you are doing business is easier. You don’t have to try nearly as hard as others, because you are excited to get up in the morning and do what you do.
This will shine through in everything you and your business does.
I love penny-pinching in combination with writing.
I’m loving sitting here at my desk right now helping others live better lives. Nothing beats that kind of creative and happy satisfaction at the same time. When I get nice letters from people thanking me for the help – I get the warm and fuzzies.
This is not a hard job or business – because it is fun, satisfying and I love it!
Not setting goals
In business you’ll be targeting a particular demographic of people. Before doing this it’s important to define your company goals.
What is it that you ultimately want to achieve for your business?
Here are some scenarios – you might:
- Have a specific financial goal in mind
- Want to improve a product or service that is underperforming
- You might be more interested in people, and have the aim of giving back to the world, or hiring large numbers of people as you grow
Benchmark where you want to go as a company. This will affect your short term objectives and give you drive. The goals don’t have to be specific, but they should influence your decisions and keep you from straying too off course. In this changing business climate, it’s easy to feel pulled in all directions. Your goals will help keep you in line and focused.
Not knowing your audience
Once you’ve established who you are as a company and where you want to go, get serious about finding customers. While it’s good to have lofty ambitions or a desire to change the world, there’s no point if you’re being ignored or you simply can’t be found.
Think: Empty shop on a main street and you’ll get the picture.
Use the expertise of companies to bring in what you need. For example, Flagship Digital Services can help you target a specific demographic. Your market research now will be pivotal to your ongoing and longterm success.
- Knowing who’s interested in your company can reduce any unnecessary admin – this saves money
- Your marketing will be highly focused and not wasted on people who aren’t interested
- You’ll gain insight into how your customers or audience think
- You can market directly to your customer if you know who they are and what they’re thinking
Ignoring social media
You already know the power of social media sites and what they can do for you. They represent your company. They give people real insight into what you’re all about.
This is one area where you should take a ‘catch all’ approach. Many companies aim for as many followers as possible, whether they’re potential customers or not. There isn’t really a downside to having too many followers, so long as you’re getting engagement.
Tip: Keep the content relevant to your audience and be authentic too. If you don’t know where to start – ask your kid! They know this stuff!
Not flaunting your expertise
There are no rules about how to run a company. In fact, stepping outside of expected business norms is even recommended. If you have an area of expertise, harness that by bringing this facet of yourself into your business if possible. This can help define you and ultimately your company brand.
Think of your business, at least in the early stages, as an extension of yourself. Tap into every internal resource you have and your true passion.
Businesses powered by passion are generally successful. Especially when all the other facets of business have been well thought out, researched and put into action.
Hiring good people is a skill, so if you are planning to hire – do your homework. People get poached everyday because employers see these employees in action – on the job.
Select candidates who will maximise efficiency in your workplace and who are also passionate about what you do. Of course, check track records and credentials.
If you outsource some of the more menial tasks in business, you’ll be able to focus on the more important aspects of your business. The strategic stuff that will grow your business exponentially and fast.
Tip: This goes the same for employees. Don’t work for idiots – you’ll just get sad and implode.
Ruling with an iron fist
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and be humble. No one loves a power tripper. We’re all human. Keep a healthy level of ‘who’s in charge’ without being condescending or controlling. Never micro-manage. You’ve hired for a reason – so trust your decision and let people add value to your business with the knowledge they have that you might not.
Not building new skills
Start small by developing who you are as a business person and leader in your niche. Only then will you be able to manage others, build a brand and deliver those important brand and key messages to staff.
Crawl before you can walk
Like most things in life, how you start can determine how you go on. Start smart and you’ll continue on that path. Start small, in a manageable niche and grow from there. This way you’ll gain confidence to hang with the big players one day.