Today, there are over 582 million entrepreneurs in the world and 62% of adults believe that starting an own business is a good career move. With the outbreak of COVID-19, when most employees are forced to work remotely, more and more people think about becoming entrepreneurs.
Obviously, entrepreneurship gives you freedom and a possibility of constant growth, but it’s also important to run your business carefully as there are many mistakes that can kill your business. No matter how experienced as an entrepreneur you are, you’d better know top 9 mistakes you should avoid by all means. It’s a proven way to stay one step ahead of your competitors and bring your business to the next level with ease.
Let’s dive in!
1. Not Doing Competitive Analysis
Today, when customers face the phenomenon of overchoice, it’s hard to come up with a unique selling proposition. However, it’s still important to do competitive analysis and therefore understand the strengths and weaknesses of other companies within your market. Simply put, it must be on your to-do list, whether you like it or not.
When you do competitive analysis, you know your competitors well which allows you to offer your potential customers something valuable. Moreover, it helps to understand what works well for your competitors and jump on the bandwagon to get business results.
Here’s an example of a competitive analysis framework:
Once you know what makes you any different from your competitors, it’s high time to review your business performance. For example, you can hire accounting experts and order audits or financial statement analysis for your business and therefore get an in-depth understanding of the data and your company’s benefits.
2. Focusing on Your Product, Not Customers
As an entrepreneur, you put much time and effort into creating a good product (service). You know it’s a great product that’s worth giving a try, so you keep a focus on it to let more people learn about it. Unfortunately, this means nothing unless you have an audience of potential customers who are interested in buying your product.
Focusing on your product doesn’t mean you know your target audience well. As a result, it’s harder for you to meet their needs and wants. Customers choose your competitors even if your product is better or cheaper.
When making a purchase decision, customers want to feel understood and valued. Thus, you need to understand your target customers, their pain points, needs and wants. Then, put time and effort into providing excellent customer experience. No matter what products or services you offer, it is a must. For example, if you’ve chosen an ecommerce niche for your business, you can send automated text messages to keep your customers informed about their order status.
3. Not Looking for Investors
For most entrepreneurs, it seems to be a good idea to self-fund your business. You have a better financial control and there’s no pressure to pay your debts. In fact, 82% of entrepreneurs use their personal savings as a primary source of capital.
When you use your personal savings, you can run out of money which may ruin your business. In fact, not having enough capital is one of the top 10 reasons for entrepreneurs failure.
To get up and running, it’s important to get funded, so you’d better find reliable investors who love your business idea. If you don’t know how to find investors, read more about the crowdfunding benefits as it’s an alternative way to raise funds for your business and therefore have time to run it.
4. Having Communication Problems with Your Team
No matter how many talents you have, it’s nearly impossible for one person to have time, skills, and desire to be an expert in any niche. When it comes to entrepreneurship, you may have so many tasks that it’s a good idea to build a team and delegate some of them.
However, it’s difficult to find talents and delegate tasks without managing your team. Since every entrepreneur has his views and beliefs, your team needs two-way communication. If you have communication problems, your business can suffer.
Luckily, there’s no need to rent an office or spend time to meet your team offline as you can organize a web meeting and discuss all important issues in real-time. Being on the same page with your team is a key to understanding and business growth.
5. Not Having a Business Plan
At first blush, it seems you know all steps you should take to start your business and run it. If you keep everything on your mind, that’s great. However, it’s better to have a business plan to set your goals and track the progress. A well-written business plan allows you to get clarity on all aspects of your business and guide your decisions.
For most entrepreneurs, writing a business plan is a hard task, especially when they are just starting out. However, you can find and use a business plan template to set achievable goals, just like in the example below.
Writing a business plan takes time, but it helps to reduce risks which helps your business grow. Thus, it’s worth giving a try and if you don’t have a business plan, it’s time to create one for your company and stick to you when doing business. Plus, use handy startup resources to run your business with ease.
6. Failing to Protect Your Digital Privacy
Living in the digital era, when information can be stolen or leaked with ease, digital privacy isn’t an option. Just imagine: it’s reported $12 billion in CEO fraud losses. For entrepreneurs, this means additional risks.
However, you can pay close attention to data protection and save your business for the two main reasons. First, it allows you to protect business ideas and intellectual property as well as save your family from hackers. Second, you protect your customers who feel secured to choose your business over your competitors.
7. Not Providing Customer Support
The days when having a good product was enough to sell it to your customers are far behind us. Today, customers are bombarded with different options, so they buy from businesses that pay close attention to their needs, wants, and pain points.
One of the best ways to grab the attention of your potential customers is to provide customer support. No matter how good your product is, your consumers may have questions about it. The faster you reply to their inquiries, the better. Why? When customers are satisfied with your services, they are more likely to buy from you.
Now let’s see how Cluse uses a live chat to answer questions fast and turn interested visitors into paying customers:
Here are several ways on how to provide customer support:
- Give your website visitors contact information (email and phone number)
- Create an online chat on your website
- Monitor social media channels
If you believe that customer service isn’t the best investment, think about your customers: Satisfied customers spend 140% more than dissatisfied ones.
8. Neglecting Social Media Channels
The popularity of social media channels is constantly growing. In 2020, around 3.6 billion people use social media. What is more, people are happy to interact with businesses on social media.
No matter what your business niche is, your target audience is definitely active on social media. Moreover, people are more likely to trust businesses with an active social media presence.
If you believe that social media marketing is an expensive tool for your business, we have good news for you. With the right tools, you can bring your social media promotion to the next level. Plus, there’s no need to hire expensive managers to run your profiles as there are various social media management tools that help to save time and money.
9. Not Keeping Up with Current Trends
If you’ve found what works for your business, that’s great. But if you keep up with trends and adjust to them, that’s even better. The modern digital world changes so quickly– technologies continue to progress and customer demands are changing, too.
To stay competitive or even beat your competitors, you should know what your customers crave and give it to them. The best way to do it is to read professional blogs and network with other entrepreneurs who can share their predictions.
Entrepreneurship is gaining in popularity. But if you want to make the most out of it and avoid failures, you need to know common mistakes most entrepreneurs make and avoid them by all means.
Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist behind MC2 website who has 7 years of digital marketing experience. Over the last few years, he has been helping businesses of all sizes and niches, so Hugh knows what works best for entrepreneurs. Follow Hugh on Twitter to read his articles on social media marketing and business growth.