Though small business owners don’t set out to fail at their ventures, most, if not all will at some time make mistakes that can affect their businesses drastically. The important thing is whether or not they learn from these mistakes.
The worst mistake you can make is forgetting that your customers ARE your business.
Make the purchasing process easy for your customers and the same goes for returns or correcting errors. If it’s too difficult your customers will give up and go elsewhere. Put yourself in their place and decide if your product or service is attractive to a large customer base. Ask yourself how you would like to be treated if you were your own customer.
Never under value your product or service.
Just as you are hungry for new business when you first start out, many consumers are particularly interested in new businesses. They are looking for better services, better offers and improvements on what have become mediocre or boring products. What can you do to make your offer stand out from the rest?
Use social media to get to know your customers, not just as a marketing tool.
Intelligent use of social media creates a bond and a level of trust. Use your mistakes and failures as an opportunity to learn and grow, to keep from remaining stagnant. There are growth stages throughout running a business and you will not always be moving forward and upward. Use these stages, the growth plateaus, to take stock of where you are now, how far you have come and where you would like to go. What you thought you wanted a year ago may have changed.
Know your gifts, talents and skills.
Some business owners don’t realize what they are good at. Those closest to you can be of the biggest help and advise you of what they see as your best abilities. What you’re good at is what will make you successful. Get help with the rest and position your business so it revolves around your unique talents. Knowing when you need help and not taking advantage of the talent of other employees is one of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make.
Also know your style, how you like to work and when you work best. Taking advantage of your strengths can be just what your business needs to outpace the competitors. You know yourself better than anyone else, so concentrate on what improves your productivity.
Always remain professional.
The life of a small business owner isn’t easy but as your brand grows and people get to know both your products and how you deal with the public, your business and your name will always be linked. Remember that how you react to adversity and/or complaints will also be noticed. How you choose to respond can make or break your business. Don’t forget word of mouth, some of your best customers will be referred to you by others and you can also miss out on new customers through bad publicity.
Keep up with technology. The world of business is constantly changing. Take some time to enrol in online courses, free or otherwise. Keeping your finger on the pulse of small businesses, especially those which are local, and always increasing your knowledge will help you avoid most business errors and ensure that your business is around for a long time.
© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc 2013