If you want to start a business, it might sound simple at first. You come up with an idea, you create a website, and you wait for orders to come in. For many business owners, this would be a dream come true because the reality is that there is a lot more to starting – and running – a business than this. If you want your business to be successful, you need to put many measures in place to help you. What these measures are will be partly universal and partly unique to your business and the niche you are selling in, so it’s wise to do some investigation before you get started to ensure you know just what to do.
Something that can easily happen when you run a business is that you will make a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, and business owners are not immune. However, although some mistakes are forgivable and won’t damage your business too much (at least not irreparably), others could spell the end of your venture before you’ve reached your ultimate business goals. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest mistakes business owners – old and new – make so you can avoid them wherever possible and push your business forward in the right way.
Not Having A Business Plan
Coming up with an idea for your business may have felt hard, even if you knew what you wanted to do. Being unique and trying something new is important, but it’s also difficult to come up with that USP (unique selling proposition) when there are so many other businesses already in existence, with more and more popping up each day.
Once you decided on an idea, you needed to decide on a business name. Then find a domain name for your website. You had to think about branding. You had to come up with prices. There was a lot to think about right from the start, and it all needed to be in place before you actually began selling anything.
Yet did you think about your business plan? This is something that many business owners either don’t know about or don’t think is important. In both cases, it means there is no plan for the business, and this can lead to big problems in the future. It’s important to take the time – even if it takes a long time – to write your business plan because it really is the foundation for everything else you do.
To begin with, your business plan is important for you. It’s your guide to where you want your business to go and how you intend to get there. By following your business plan, you’ll always know what decisions to make and what step you are working toward, helping you stay calm and in control.
Your business plan is also crucial when it comes to proving to potential investors and lenders how profitable your business will be. Plus, you can show them how you want to spend their money and how you are going to ensure you pay it back (with interest, in many cases). This is far easier than trying to discuss the ideas without anything to back them up.
You can see that you need to take your time and research all the ideas, facts, and figures you want to put into your business plan. If you can do this, even if it takes longer than you might have liked and delays the start of your business, it will pay dividends – perhaps literally – in the future.
Not Carrying Out Market Research
Market research is another area of business that is often ignored. How can it be of any use to someone who has already decided what their business will be and how they will run it? The fact is that market research will be of use to everyone, whether they have an idea for their business or not.
This stage of your business is linked to your business plan, so it’s a good idea to do both tasks at the same time. When you understand the market you are launching into better, your business plan will be more accurate. You can also market to the right people in the right way.
However, the first important thing to note about market research is that it will help you determine whether or not your business idea is one that can make money. You will find out whether people actually want what you are offering, and even how much they would be willing to pay for it. As hard as it might seem, it’s far better to understand that your idea is not a viable one before putting time, effort, and money into it than it is to realize this a year down the line. An online masters in business analytics will help you if you need more confidence and knowledge about exactly what you should do when it comes to market research – click here to find out more.
Your market research will, as we’ve said, also help to narrow down precisely who will want your products and services. When it comes to budgets, your marketing budget should be as large as you can afford it to be, and you should try not to waste a cent of it. When you know who will be most likely to buy from you, you can direct your advertising in the right way, focusing only on those people, and that will make your budget go further.
Expecting To Make Money Right Away
One of the biggest reasons why someone might want to start their own business is to make money. They feel that whatever it is they can create, do, and sell, it will bring them more money than if they were to work somewhere else. In many cases, with the right products and hard work, and the right profit margins, of course, this can be true.
Some people want to start a business because they like the idea of having more freedom because they can choose their own hours. Others can’t find a job, so they create one. Or maybe they want to start a business because they want to feel they have achieved something in life, and this is what they have chosen to prove that to themselves and maybe others too.
No matter what the reason might have been for starting your business, it’s going to have to make money. If it doesn’t, what will you live on? Even if you have a second job and your business is a side hustle, what is the point of all the hard work and investment you put in if it never pays you back?
So, of course, you’ll need to put measures in place to ensure you make money. The problem that some people come across is that these measures, no matter what they might be, take time to come to fruition. Even if you are doing everything in exactly the right way, it’s unlikely that your business will start making money as soon as you launch it. In most situations, it’s a slow process, and it will, with time and patience, build up as you keep moving forward.
If you want to be a successful business owner, it’s crucial that you avoid the mistake of assuming you’ll make plenty of money right from the start. If you think this will happen, you might invest too much (because you are sure you’ll get it back immediately), or you might quit your day job too soon. Equally, if you think you should be making more money than you are and then you don’t reach that goal, you might fold the business because you think it’s not working. The reality might be that it is working and could be extremely successful, but you haven’t given it enough time.
When you know that it will take time to make a profit, you can adjust your expectations accordingly.
Not Separating Your Business And Personal Lives
When you run a business, it might seem as though it takes up every moment of your life, especially at the start. So you might feel as though there is no real separation between your business and personal lives. However, this is a bad mistake and a trap that many people fall into. There must always be some form of separation between these two parts of your life if you want to be successful and happy.
There are a number of different things you can do to avoid this mix. One that is easy to set up is to have two separate bank accounts. One will be solely for business income and expenses, and the other for personal use. You can even pay yourself at the end of every month from one account to the other to help keep all finances on track. If you combine the two elements and only have one bank account, this might seem as though it would be easier to keep track of everything, but it won’t be. When it comes time to do your accounts and pay your taxes, it will be hard to split the two. Plus, if you are combining your business and personal money, you might overspend in one area, leaving the other with problems.
Another good way to split the two halves of your life is to have an office to work from. This could be an external office that you commute to (you can rent a space long-term, or you can rent a desk by the day, for example, depending on what you need), or it could be a room in your home. If you work from home, ensure that you can shut the door at the end of the day and not have to go back into the office until the morning. Otherwise, you’ll never actually stop working, and ‘switching off’ will be hard. This can lead to stress and burnout. Keeping things separate means you have more chances to relax and unwind, which will actually help you become more productive.