Continuous learning is one of the greatest traits you can possess as an entrepreneur – one of the so called – “entrepreneurial character traits” . I strongly believe if you have this quality, you will succeed in growing your small business.
Part of continuous learning is making mistakes and making mistakes is part-in-parcel of starting-up and growing your small business. I find that small business owners can often be derailed when they make a poor business decision, a mistake. They dwell on it rather than pause to learn from it and grow from it. I’ve been there – it’s easy to get sucked into the “black-hole”. This is where your entrepreneurial spirit kicks in, to get you out of that hole.
I was meeting with an associate the other day and he was speaking to me about a mistake he made for his start-up business (a few months ago). I said to him, “what have you learned from it?” He said, he “hasn’t had the time to yet to really think about it”.
Ca c’est mal.
Growing a start-up isn’t easy – I’ve been through it twice and I have helped many. Spend the time to reflect and LEARN from your mistakes – it is well worth it.
In the meantime, take note of 3 common mistakes small-business owners should be aware of:
1. Create a real budget
Don’t underestimate how much it will cost to start your business. I believe most small business owners are afraid of the true cost of starting-up a business because it becomes intimidating. Also, it’s because they don’t necessarily know HOW to create a budget (see point 3 below). The truth is if you don’t do this right, you are setting yourself up to fail. Cost out everything and stay disciplined with your expenses. By doing this right you will have a better idea of your break-even point and your profit margins. Don’t start a business to create a job for yourself – create a business with a strong and sustainable business model that will earn profit and grow. You can’t claim profitability unless you’ve identified the TRUE costs of your expenses.
2. Stay Focused
What happens in the early stage of a start-up is you might get some quick sales – this gets you excited (which it should). However, stay focused and don’t get caught up in thinking of ways to expand and try to service and sell to everyone because you’ve seen some success, particularly if it isn’t complimentary to your offering. The problem here is that you will find that you are moving away from your core business way too early – trying to please these customers and getting out of your expertise. Be careful about this as you could “demobilize your plane before you even get off the runway”. Stay focused, do what you do best and do it well before you start expanding into different areas.
3. Hire the right people – the experts.
As a small business owner you are hoping that companies/people will purchase your product or service because you have the best product or possess the most knowledge in this area. Essentially, you are telling them you are the expert; you are the right person to purchase from. Why should they try and manufacture “widgets” on their own or try and prepare financial statements for their business when that’s not their expertise. Similarly, know your limits and hire the right people for the job. It will cost (see #1 above) but you will be way ahead of the game. You will be able to spend time focusing on what you do best for your company – leverage your strengths and hire an expert to fill the gaps.
Real Growth for Real Business.
Reality Business Consulting (RBC) (www.realityconsulting.ca) is a Toronto Web Design and Small Business Marketing Company that helps small businesses grow by designing profitable, creative and practical small business marketing plans and web marketing strategies, including WordPress small business websites.
If you are searching for a professional and customer-focused small business marketing company with extensive work in small business marketing planning, WordPress small business website design, contact us for a “Reality Check”; a no-obligation, no-charge consultation.