Your business is your baby, and as such it can be immensely hard to see the flaws in it. But everyone makes mistakes, the only difference between big businesses and small businesses is the in big business they have more people in the process to mitigate those mistakes.
Have a read through this list and see if any of these apply to you…
1. Not making a plan
It takes a time, and you won’t get it right straight away, but without a clear plan of action, with actionable steps and achievable goals you are going to struggle to go anywhere.
Read: How to create a content plan.
This will help you avoid the boom and bust trap that I’ve seen several small businesses fall into. When business is slow they focus on driving their marketing and getting more business, and inevitably it pays off. However, they then swap their focus and their resource to managing this increase in business and because their marketing has slacked off, the business slows down.
2. Trying to be a jack of all trades
You can’t do everything all the time, you simply don’t have the time or expertise to do it all properly. If you don’t have the resource to do something consistently and well in-house, whilst budgets might be tight, think about outsourcing specific tasks to motivated professionals.
Don’t think about it as an expense, it is an investment, and if it is part of your ongoing business plan then you should be able to manage that investment.
3. Having an unclear USP
You started the business because you had an idea your, product/service is the best at something, it is different in some way. Having a clearly defined USP and a strong brand identity is vital to the successful marketing of the business.
It will help you identify your buyer personas and allow you to target specific markets accurately and effectively.
You don’t want to try to sell to everyone. You want to market to the people who will find your product/service useful.
4. Trying to appeal to everyone
We’ve already mentioned the buyer persona. But what did we mean by that? You need to identify with specifics, who the type of people are that buy your product.
From there you can identify what information to give them during each part of the buyer journey.
5. Promoting only yourself
If you attempt to close the sale too early, you will likely drive your buyer away. What is often done by new and small businesses is they share the excitement about their product without ever identifying the problem that the product addresses.
Once you’ve identified your buyer personas, you need to make sure you have marketing content that is right for each stage of the buyer journey.
6. Ignoring the competition
Your competition are in the same place as you, some will be doing things well, others will be doing it badly. You can learn a lot from both of these things.
Do your market research, it’s a time consuming process, and one you have to stay on top of constantly, but done properly it will help you market accurately, efficiently and avoid making the mistakes of your competitors.
Consider doing a SWOT (Strength Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) analysis.
7. Your employees
This may sound a broad and somewhat generic washing statement. But your employees are the bread and butter to your sandwich filling. It is absolutely vital that you recognise their input, their strengths and weaknesses and make the right hiring choices.
You don’t want people that are just like you, you want people who will pick up the slack that you leave. But also who you get on with them, people who will make the workplace a better, friendlier and more efficient environment.
Of course this is all easier said than done…
Bonus Tip: Try to do two essential tasks each day. As a business owner you don’t answer to anyone and it can be easy to get caught up in a thousand different things, in managing your staff or just reading through the infinite number of emails coming to you. At the end of the day you don’t want to be thinking you haven’t achieved anything, so set yourself two essential tasks and make sure they get done.
I would love to know if you agree. Please leave a comment with your own insights.