Small business ownership can be rewarding on a number of levels. From setting the stage for long-term prosperity to becoming a fixture in your community, starting your own business is liable to be a deeply satisfying venture. However, this isn’t to say that owning a small business doesn’t come with a variety of risks – just look at how many businesses close within their first year. While there’s no way to eliminate said risks entirely, there are a number of steps fledgling business owners can take to minimize them. First-time business owners looking to maximize their chances of success would do well to avoid the following blunders.
Having No Discernible Marketing Strategy
Being an effective small business owner doesn’t always mean someone is an effective marketer. It’s entirely possible for someone to be adept at managing a business but clueless with regard to marketing said business. Unsurprisingly, this often results in newer businesses going unnoticed by the public at large and never connecting with their target customer bases. So, if your marketing endeavors are few and far between – or simply nonexistent – it’s in your best interest to get on top of this.
The type of marketing strategy you should undertake largely depends on the type of audience you’re hoping to reach. For example, if your focus is hyperlocal, purchasing ad space in local publications and producing ads for local media outlets can be an effective way to put your business on your target audience’s radar. Additionally, regardless of whether you’re locally or nationally focused, you should make a point of maintaining an active presence on social media. Well-maintained, regularly-updated social media accounts can effectively keep your existing audience in the know while attracting the attention of scores of potential patrons.
If your marketing experience is sorely lacking, you may benefit from reaching out to a dedicated digital marketing agency. Seasoned marketers can show you the ins and outs of modern marketing and help you implement and oversee a wide range of successful marketing endeavors.
There’s no question that the first year is a crucial time for a small business, and to ensure that this period is as prosperous as possible, many business owners engage in excessive micromanagement. To a point, this is understandable. Given how many small businesses don’t make it past their first year, it’s only natural that new business owners would want to do everything in their power to foster success.
However, while there’s nothing wrong with consistently putting your best foot forward, micromanaging can result in total burnout for both you and your staff. Hiring qualified individuals in which you have complete faith is essential for anyone looking to keep their business afloat for the long haul. And if you can’t trust these people to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, what was the point of hiring them in the first place? Part of succeeding in business is understanding that you can’t take on every conceivable task yourself, and proper delegation of responsibilities is needed to keep any business operational. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t require regular check-ins or speak up when necessary, but trusting people to do the jobs for which they’ve been hired can be conducive to preventing burnout and maintaining good relationships with staff.
Not Having the Proper Licenses
Before opening any type of business, it’s imperative that you obtain the proper permits and licenses. Some business owners fail to do this out of pure ignorance, while others do so out of sheer indifference. However, regardless of why you fail to obtain permits and/or licenses, this oversight is liable to result in immediate business closure, enormous fines or serious legal problems. Keeping track of which licenses are needed can be particularly easy for small business owners in municipalities that use convenient business license software.
Owning a small business can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming, particularly for first-time entrepreneurs. Since the first year of operation is such a crucial time for most small businesses, it’s important to consistently put your best foot forward during this period. Among other things, this entails avoiding a litany of rookie mistakes that are liable to lose you capital and negatively impact your professional reputation. With this in mind, take care to steer clear of the missteps outlined above.