I came across an article in the Globe and Mail about common mistakes made by small business owners . I like the list she put together but it made me think about my experiences and what I’ve seen as major pitfalls of small business owners when they are looking to start-up a company.
1) Is entrepreneurship for you?
Many times what I see is people make haste decisions about entering the small business world; usually motivated by unhappiness at a current job, on the rebound from personal problems etc. They don’t really know what it takes to be an entrepreneur, primarily: you need to be a risk-taker, you need to be able to sell (be a good communicator), have strong business acumen (have an understanding of how the functions of business – marketing, sales, finance, administration and of course web – work together) and you need to be able to roll-up your sleeves and work hard – a “doer”. Think about whether this is you; otherwise, you are going to waste a lot of time and money!
2) Know your limits – know when to hire experts
I can definitely appreciate the thought-process here: it costs money to hire an expert, usually, money start-ups don’t have. Reference #1 above. Strong business acumen and realistic budgeting will help the start-up entrepreneur prepare accordingly for outsourcing expertise. The most obvious that comes to mind is accounting and legal and of course, marketing, specifically website development. Sure, I’m tooting my own horn here but if you are an entrepreneur, time is everything: not enough of it. So, why not cut through the learning curve and seek an objective and expert opinion – in my experience this is critical for success. Ask Jim Middlemiss of the National Post, he agrees with me in his article on the “Seven Sins of Entrepreneurship” . The bottom line is, the more time you spend on trying to know and do everything, the less time you are selling and growing your business!
3) Network. Network. Network.
I love to network! I love to learn about what people do and in turn, see if I can make a connection for them. When I encounter small business owners and chat with them about their product or service, very few of them actually know “how” to network and seek networking opportunities – I’m not talking about social networking (though, this takes some thought as well). Small business owners need to be aware of the many events that exist in the market place and they need to be there interacting, selling their business and distributing business cards. You need to be thinking that every person you meet can help your business grow; directly or indirectly. Most of the time, you need to be able to make the connection yourself on whether or now someone can help; don’t leave it up to them to do it for you.
4) Choose the right partners
If you are entering a partnership, just because you’ve been best friends with someone for 25 years, it doesn’t mean you’ll be great business partners. Don’t go into business with someone only because you “like them” or because you are friends or family. Be sure to identify the skills and experience each partner brings to the business partnership and that these skills and experience are complimentary. You don’t want to have replicated skill-sets. Also, be sure you have similar goals not only in business but in your personal life. A partner who has a family has different personal and professional priorities than someone who has yet to start a family. Last, no matter what, partners need to be able to communicate honestly with one another – this is key.
Be Real. Be an entrepreneur.
Reality Business Consulting (RBC) (www.realityconsulting.ca) is a Toronto-based marketing and website design and development company dedicated to helping small business grow. We do this by providing insightful marketing and sales knowledge, planning, execution and website design and development, on a small business budget. The foundation of our success lies in our strong business acumen and our ability to listen to and understand the needs of our clients, translating their ideas into a concrete plan of action; ultimately, delivering profitable results for them.
If you are searching for a professional and customer-focused marketing company with extensive work in website design and development located in Toronto, contact us for a “Reality Check; a no-obligation, no-charge consultation.