They say mistakes make great entrepreneurs. Most mistakes help you make better decisions in running your business and give you the needed push to forge ahead. But while some teach you to be smarter and tougher in handling your business, other mistakes can cause a serious dent to your long-term plans, not to mention unnecessary costs that could negatively impact your finances.
In this blog, we share 10 of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner and snippets of important learnings that helped our company, Outsourcing Angel.
Mistake 1. Settling for cluttered work
Being organised will help you manage your work easily while saving time. Your business is demanding more and more time from you as it grows. Keeping a log or simply outlining a list of all your tasks will help you focus on completing each item and growing your business daily.
Mistake 2. Being obsessed with your ideas
As an entrepreneur, you have a steady flow of ideas coming your way and it’s not wrong to explore them as they come. But not all ideas are good or practical and sometimes we get carried away with them not knowing if they could serve your business in the long run.
When an idea comes, the best thing to do is to bounce it off with your co-decision makers or colleagues and be receptive to feedback. Study, research and test your idea to determine whether it’s viable or not. If it’s not, let it go no matter how passionate you feel about it.
Mistake 3. Not clearly defining terms of the partnership
Running a business can be extremely daunting, so some entrepreneurs choose to work with a partner. But failing to identify the right partners and to scope out a clear working relationship can be detrimental to your business. Create criteria on what type of partner to take, such as:
- Your partner should be on the same level of success as you it would be worth your time, money and effort.
- You should share the same vision and values.
- You should have a written buyout formula that you will both agree on.
Mistake 4. Failing to document your processes early in your operations
You should start putting all your business processes on paper as early as you can so you won’t have a hard time catching up when your business starts to scale. Document all the core tasks as well as those that you can easily delegate to your staff.
Mistake 5. Expecting instant success
Despite what we’re shown on social media and the stories we hear around us, success doesn’t come easily to most entrepreneurs. It promises to be a long journey full of roadblocks and it’s often a struggle to be profitable for the first few years. So it’s best to manage your expectations. This is why successful entrepreneurs always preach the benefits of having a business plan. Look at long term success and expect small wins along the way.
Mistake 6. Not embracing technology
New technology can seem intimidating at first. But once you’ve learned the ropes, you’ll find that technology can help you be more efficient at work, save money and allow you to explore more opportunities. Don’t be afraid of the learning curve; your reluctance to adapt to new technology can hurt your long-term and short-term success.
Most of Outsourcing Angel’s clients have learned to invest in new technology and use it to scale their businesses. This enables them to work efficiently while saving on operational costs. At the same time, our virtual assistants are skilled in new project management, administrative and digital marketing tools, so they are able to provide the needed boost to their clients’ business.
Mistake 7. Being afraid to take risks in marketing
Many business owners make the mistake of building a business and waiting for customers to come to you. Marketing is seen as an unnecessary cost. But marketing can take different forms and you can opt to go the traditional route like advertising or explore digital marketing. But don’t try to do everything. Create a marketing plan to determine which type of marketing will go well with your business and your ideal customer.
Mistake 8. Not niching your business enough
It’s tempting to offer your products and services to a broad market and chase every kind of customer out there. But the more you try to be everything to everyone, the more you lose. You’ll only end up sacrificing your business’s core values and strategic objectives.
There’s a lot to benefit from understanding your ideal customers, mapping out their personalities and buying behaviours and narrowing down to a particular segment. This will allow you to be more laser-focused on their needs and developing a product or service that stands out in your industry. Decide early to specialise and focus on your niche. This will put your business in a position of leadership and authority.
Mistake 9. Making uninformed decisions
Whether it’s a product feature, a new service offering or an investment, you need to make sure that your decisions are backed by thorough research. As visionaries, you tend to get caught up in your ideals and your passion for growing your business, and this sometimes leads to impulsive decisions. Learn to look at every possible outcome and always think of how your business will benefit from these decisions.
Mistake 10. Doing repetitive tasks yourself
If there’s one thing to love about running a business of your own, it’s the freedom it gives you. But be careful not to fill up your to-dos with too many things that might sidetrack you from your business goals. Work ON your business and not IN your business.
Doing everything yourself will only lead to burnout. As your business grows, delegation becomes more of a priority. You need to hire skilled people who can take on admin, project management, marketing and other tasks so you can focus on growing your business.
Hiring a virtual assistant is the most cost-efficient way to get all non-core, repetitive tasks taken care of while you work on taking your business to the next level. Our virtual assistants are knowledgeable in new technology and can take on all sorts of tasks, from administrative to highly specialised ones like graphic design, blogging, video editing, financial accounting and web development to name a few. Without having to worry about tedious daily tasks, you can focus all your energies on strategically scaling your business.