How to Avoid Making Small Business Mistakes

A business mistake, whether large or small, can potentially cost a small business owner time, money and aggravation. Before you make mistakes that outweigh your successes, take note of five common business mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Spending too much money on overhead. A suite of offices may sound appealing to you, but if you conduct your business primarily by phone and e-mail, why waste money on rent? Instead – at least for your first year in business – run your business from home. You could use the money you save on rent, on office equipment or other supplies.

Mistake #2: Failing to research demand for your product or service. You may have an innovative product or service, yet if no one needs it you’re wasting your time and money. Conduct informal online surveys and get the opinions of friends and business professionals whose opinion you trust, to find out how interested they are in your product. The time you spend researching your idea will save you time in the long run.

Mistake #3: Ignoring the competition. Don’t obsess over what your competition is doing, yet don’t discount new services or products they have to offer or even a new website they’ve created. Although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, resist the urge to copy your competition. Find your niche and develop a market around it. Eventually your competition will start taking a closer look at you.

Mistake #4: Not networking. When you go out on your own, e-mail and call everyone you know including clients, business associates, friends and anyone else who can help your business grow. Also, increase your involvement in various trade associations.

Mistake #5: Not writing a business plan or goals. Think about the old saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there.” Have a clear vision of your business, especially how you’re going to be profitable and find new clients, and you’ll be able to measure your success.