So you want to start a business but you’re afraid that it may crash. Or maybe you already started a business but you truly have a fear that it won’t last.
Fear of failure is a legitimate concern for business owners-but you don’t have to let that fear influence your business decisions. These are five common mistakes that business owners make that cause their business to fail.
1. Not writing a business plan. Traditionally, a business plan is supposed to be updated every year, but some people don’t write a plan at all. A business plan is exactly what it’s called-it’s a plan for your business-your business’ success, that is. What you will do is map out all the different strategies you will use to keep your business afloat. You will also keep track of sales, profits, and expenses on your cash flow statement. For tips on how to write a business plan, read: Starting a Small Business 101: How to Write a Business Plan . TIP: Your very first “plan” would be to sit down with a pen and paper and write a vision statement. Your vision statement is your hopes for what you want your business to become. You can write down as many details to your vision as possible. Don’t rush. Just imagine the success of your business, then write it down. This is the most important part of your business plan.
2. Waiting for people to motivate you. If you are waiting for people to stand behind you’re business ideas, you are making a big mistake. People don’talways support their friends, family, or co workers on new ideas.If you feel like you have a great thing to offer the world, believe in yourself and go for it! It’s good to have a support base, but don’t wait on them to come to you. Once you start showing the world what you have to offer, you will start to gain support. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon if they see that it’s leading to success.TIP: Your customers are your support system. These are the people that you should rely on for success. They are the ones that motivate you to create something bigger and better. The good thing about them is that they motivate us to create a great product, and then on top of that, they buy it! What a win-win deal!
3. Not having a sales strategy. Nothing happens until somebody sells something, so not knowing how you’re going to sell your product is probably the biggest problem you could have. Everyone needs to have different ways to get their product on the market and get it in the hands of the consumer. If you don’t know how you’re going to do that, then don’t start your business just yet. TIP: For more tips on how to close a sale, read the article: Secrets of Sales Success Pt. 1: 4 Easy Steps to Closing the Sale.
4. Not valuing customers. No matter how many times people will say “The customer is always right”, there are still business owners that treat the customer like they are dumb. Yes, of course there are things about your services that you know and they don’t know, but don’t treat them as such. Tell them about what you have to offer, and answer any questions they have about the product. Treat them the same way you would treat a friend. TIP: Too often businesses chase one sale, and fail to keep the customer as repeat customers. Repeat customers are what you should be looking for. You want to change each one of your customers into “addicts”- meaning you want them to keep coming back.
5. Being prejudice. Judging a book by the cover does not work in business. Assuming that all your customers will have the same background, look, income, and education is naïve. Granted, you are supposed to have a target market. But your target should be a certain kind of customer. For example, if you are selling swim wear, you should target people that live near the beach-not people that you think will look good in a bathing suit. TIP: You may find that some of your customers do have a certain kind of background, but don’t target them because of it. Write down in your vision plan what kind of customers you are looking for. Try to focus on things related to what you’re selling.