So we’ve all made them at one point or another. But what exactly are the big business mistakes to avoid?
- Using poor market research
Knowing your target audience is crucial to success. The best way to do this is through market research. It is therefore essential that this is accurate, reliable and up to date. This is important both before and during launch, as feedback from the people that use your product is priceless. Always remember to develop a business based on your customer’s actual needs, rather than what you think they may be.
- Having a weak financial plan
Prepare for the unforeseen circumstances that will undoubtedly present themselves with costs that haven’t been budgeted for. This could be something as simple as a late payment, broken equipment or a missed sales target. Make sure that these possibilities are all taken into account during the initial plan and if need be seek professional advice to ensure that things run smoothly.
- Being too ambitious
Be realistic in what you can actually achieve. Although businesses should aim high, be careful not to cross over into the unachievable. Make sure that forecasting is accurate and fully question new costs before over committing. Can you really provide all the orders that you have taken on? Are you ready for the expense of an additional employee? Is your target audience ready for you to diversify? Strong and effective planning will ensure that you stay on target and in budget.
- Having poor stock control
Only keep in stock what you actually need and be careful not to over order. Keep a close eye on stock levels, especially when starting out as you get to know what requirement levels really are. It’s also important to ensure that stock is in the right place at the right time. After all, it’s a wasted expense if it isn’t useful!
- Failing to recognise your competitors
Make sure that you’re always ahead of the game and know what potential threats lie in wait. This way you will be able to address any competition early on. Also, being the first to find out about a new technology or service that is being developed could also mean that you are able to snap it up before anyone else.
- Being technology adverse
There are plenty of technology solutions available to make business life easier. This could take the form of fulfilling a skill set that you don’t want to employ someone specifically for, such as accounting. Removing travel time to meetings by using a conference calling system, such as Powwownow. Or cutting down on overhead costs by implementing an energy monitor. Whatever you need a helping hand with, running a business is hard work, so why not use technology to make it that little bit easier?
What business mistakes have you fallen victim to over the years? Are there any funny stories? Or do you have any good advice?