The truth is that none of us are perfect, and as a small business owner, we have lots of lessons to learn as our companies evolve and grow. Although we all have to go through the motions and learn for ourselves, there are some lessons you can learn from others. Below, we’ve put together some common business mistakes and some tips on avoiding them…
Doing everything yourself
It’s so easy to want to have your finger in every pie, but the truth is that it takes too much time to worry about every little aspect of your business. That’s why we recommend handing over the responsibility of some business tasks to others, and even if you’re not in a position to hire a full-time employee, you can still benefit. Outsourcing facilities management services, for example, means you won’t have to scrub those toilets on a Friday evening or worry about monitoring your office CCTV over the weekend when you should be relaxed.
Learn how to say ‘no’
In the early days of your business, you’ll want to accept any and every job opportunity that comes your way to help establish your brand and drive sales. But the truth is that you need to be able to take a step back and say no if the brief doesn’t suit your skills or timescale. It’s an unfortunate reality that your business won’t be right for everyone, and it’s best to say no rather than take on a project you can’t do. It’s uncomfortable at first but you’ll get used to it.
Hiring friends and family
Okay, this is a controversial one, but more often than not, hiring friends and family is a bad idea, as the lines between your professional and personal life are blurred and you’ll struggle to discipline them in the same way as you would a typical member of staff. If you are going to give a family member a job, still advertise the position and make sure you’re confident they have the right skills and experience; if not, it could be a costly and awkward mistake.
Not thinking long-term
Where do you want your business to be in five years time? If you’re still unsure about what you have planned or whether you want to go, then it’s time to get back to the drawing board and think of a long-term strategy. Coasting along without any real sense of direction can be a red flag and lead to problems down the line; know exactly what you want and go out, get it!
Finally, make sure you take some time off for yourself. Working weekends in the early days of a business is admirable and can help you stay on top of your workload, but it’s not a sustainable way of running a business and can lead to burnout. Schedule in breaks and remember to take some holidays; is it really worth working seven days a week for nothing?