The road to starting and growing your small business can be full of twists and turns. Unfortunately, some things can only be learned from personal experience. While many of the tough lessons of owning a business must be learned firsthand, there are a few others that can be avoided if you know the potential pitfalls to stay on the lookout for.
When you examine the data, the statistics for the number of businesses that open only to fail is decidedly depressing and a little intimidating. But those stats don’t have to reflect the future of your small business. Failure doesn’t necessarily mean the end to your entrepreneurial dream; it can be a painful but important first step in a long journey towards fulfilling your goals and realizing the life the life you desire.
As you begin to build or grow your business, keep an eye out for these five missteps a successful small business entrepreneur would never make twice.
Resist Raising Prices
Self-doubt in yourself or your business can prevent you from keeping prices in line with the value and results you are providing to customers and clients. You do great work, but worry that raising prices will lose you too much business.
Every entrepreneur should set the goal of getting compensated for what he or she is worth. If a client doesn’t want to hire your services because your prices are too high, they’re probably not the type of client you’d want to deal with anyway. Successful small business owners look to avoid these types of “tire kickers” whenever possible. The effort to justify your rates to this kind of client and convert them isn’t worth the headaches it will cause, and they will most likely complain throughout the business relationship.
Quality customers understand the value of hiring someone who possesses the experience they require and can complete the job they need done. Your pricing should be based around the value you provide, and successful entrepreneurs will charge accordingly. If you do quality work and help clients as a result, charge a fair rate that makes the job you’re doing worth the time and effort. After all, time is every entrepreneur’s most valuable resource.
Blindly Accepting Popular Advice
In business circles there are a few tips and strategies that have been so widely circulated they’re considered gospel. These types of urban legends may work for some businesses, but it’s a mistake to consider them universal for every type of business.
Testing new strategies and receiving feedback from customers are the only ironclad methods for improving on your practices and providing the knowledge needed to help your business grow. How to decide to grow your business should be based on hard data, not general business philosophy. So the next time you hear about the amazing results being offered from utilizing a certain business strategy, make a note to conduct a little independent research before jumping onto the bandwagon. It’s better to be profitable than to do what’s popular.
Giving Way Expertise
Once upon a time offering “free” initial consultations was considered a standard starting point for most business relationships. Now a days entrepreneurs have videos, podcasts and blogs as a means of offering free information to potential clients in an effort to help build trust and credibility. These types of medium are the contemporary free consultation call.
People don’t place much value on what they get for free. As a result, you lessen the value of what you sell, and sacrifice your most valuable resource, time. Every minute of a successful entrepreneur’s time has an associated cost. Don’t give yours away for free.
Giving Credence to Detractors
The world is full of jaded customers and former and present small business owners. For many, their primary goal is to drag others down to their level. Make it a point to avoid these people and what they have to say. Their negative attitudes will impact you and the way you view what you’re creating.
Understand that what happened to them doesn’t have to happen to you, and has little bearing on your business. Ignore the detractors and spend your time and energy helping clients and customers. They are the foundation of your business.
Social media and the Internet offer plenty of distraction that can rob you of productivity. It’s easy to hear popular advice, see other entrepreneurs succeed and become distracted by trying to replicate their strategies.
They key to making headway with your business is understanding and learning where to focus your time and what strategies offer the best results. You need to ignore what offers the possibility of working and instead focus on strategies backed by data to amply what does. Working in uninterrupted blocks of time is a secret but highly successful strategy used by many entrepreneurs.
Whether 2015 ranks as a banner year for your business or the same as in years past is up to you. Every entrepreneur can benefit from the experiences and knowledge provided by those that came before. If you’re going to fail, do so quickly so you can recover and make your business stronger than ever before.