The mistakes many small businesses make in the early years

The mistakes many small businesses make in the early years

Do not be under any illusion, setting up a small business is tough, and around half go under during the first five years of operation. To ensure your enterprise not only survives but also prospers, it is important to learn to recognise and avoid the mistakes that have caused some small businesses to go to the wall.

One of the most important things you must realise in your quest for success is that the needs and requirements of clients and customers are paramount. You are not only physically selling goods or services but also their benefits. Fail to do that and the business will not survive. In line with that, you must also identify your target market; that means undertaking some market research. By doing so, you will be able to meet the competition from rivals and hopefully ward off their challenge while meeting customer needs.

As a small business owner, you may feel that you need to be hands-on with everything. That may be your only option in the early days because you might not have the cash available to bring in assistance. However, as you attract more business and things become even busier, you will have to delegate. No one person can do everything efficiently, even in the world of small business. That may well mean delegating certain tasks to others who are capable of doing them. In order to do that, you will have to seriously consider bringing in new or additional staff.

Hiring new staff will, of course, add to business expense, but it can make all the difference between your enterprise stagnating or advancing forward. However, be warned: bringing in the wrong people who are not qualified to carry out the work you hired them to do, or who have a bad attitude, can be extremely damaging to your company. This means you should carefully interview any applicants, check all CVs and references, and contact any previous employers to see if they are as good as they claim to be.

It might not be apparent to you when setting up your small business, but it is important to strike a work-life balance. If your life is entirely dominated by work, you will eventually become jaded and unable to run your business efficiently. Fatigue will also be detrimental to your business judgement. The key is to continue working hard but to take time out for family, hobbies and rest.

The lifeblood of any business, including small businesses, is cash – particularly cash flow. Prices have to be set competitively and customers billed for goods and services sold. Then there are taxes to be paid, which means records being kept. It is difficult enough to run a small business without the timely toil of having to take care of the books. Many small business owners decide to turn to experts such as for accounting solutions, leaving them free to concentrate on running their enterprise.

Mistakes happen in all walks of life; by avoiding them, your small business will at least have a fighting chance of achieving success.

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