If you had the courage to start a small business, congratulations! It is no easy task to turn your dream into a reality. Here are some common mistakes new small business owners make and what you can do to avoid them.

1. You don’t have an understanding of your market.

New business owners may often be so excited by their own ideas that they do not invest time and energy into researching the market that they are trying to enter.

This can be a critical mistake – because you are trying to sell your product to this market – not to yourself. In this sense, it is imperative to understand both your customers and your competitors.

What do your potential customers value? Perhaps customers in a niche market desire quality customer service and personalized attention over rock-bottom prices.

You will never know until you take the time to research. Additionally, look into what your competitors do in your market.

You want to be sure that you are going to be able to differentiate yourself from the competition; otherwise, your business may fail to grow.

2. You see marketing as an expense and not an investment

Many small business owners are initially turned off by the thought of having to pay even more money to advertise their products and/or services…. Especially after they have spent a lot of money in building the infrastructure of the business!

However, getting new customers will be difficult if you are not willing to spend on marketing. Many businesses will opt for email marketing as it is very cheap and can reach a high number of interested clients.

Other businesses will choose strategies such as referral programs, newspaper advertising, television advertising, or word-of-mouth advertising.

We have seen many businesses improve their relationships with their customers and their word of mouth reputation by using promotional products – products with your business name and logo custom printed. These items are very inexpensive compared to other forms of advertising and maintain brand exposure for an average of over 6 months per person.

All in all, not only will marketing pay for itself once you start to get new clients, but there are also numerous ways to market your company for free – especially using social media.

Make sure you are using the right social media platform for your type of business. Businesses that can provide striking images and have an artistic side may benefit from using Instagram. All businesses can benefit from using Facebook because people can easily communicate with the business and leave reviews, all while staying up to date on the greatest specials and deals.

3. You don’t have a website or social media presence and you are not seeking online reviews.

It is critical to have a website for your business these days. It’s 2018! Website development companies such as WordPress and Wix offer free website templates and monthly fees if you want a more sophisticated business experience.

There is no excuse not to have a website, because it will make your business more legitimate to potential prospects. Additionally, having at least a basic social media presence will help your business grow and connect with potential and current customers.

Potential buyers want to see that your business is personable and can connect with people.

Facebook is the go-to choice with over 2 billion active monthly users and Instagram is growing with over 800 million active monthly users as well.

Finally, it is important to seek online reviews starting from the beginning of your business. Consumers will trust your business more if you have more reviews, even if not 100% of your reviews are 5 stars. You must respond to negative reviews appropriately, in public, and make the situation right!

4. You are waiting too long to hire

One mistake that is often made is that you think you can “do it all.” It turns out that even the most experienced people at their craft need help running a business.

Not everyone can be a marketer, accountant, computer programmer, and business owner all at the same time.

The earlier you recognize this, the better off you will be, because you will have more time to manage the direction of your small business when you are not constantly bogged down by tasks that other -more specialized – people can take care of.

5. You are not fully investing yourself into the company

Suppose you are trying to start up a new small business and are working about 50 hours a week. There is probably someone just like you in the same industry, but they are working 100 hours a week.

What does this likely mean? They are getting twice the amount of work done in the same time and might end up out-performing your business in the long run.

Until you are a proven player in your industry, you will have to outwork your competition, which likely means spending more hours of the day working than anyone else.

Thank you for reading!