Business Success Can Be Yours If You Avoid These Critical Mistakes

So, you’ve decided to start your own business. What are your motivations for doing so? Perhaps you have an innovative product or service that you think might be the “next big thing” that takes the world market by storm. Or maybe you’re so tired of being an employee – you hate your boss, can’t stand your colleagues, don’t believe in your company’s goals – you think it’s time to leap into entrepreneurship. Or perhaps you’ve been laid off and feel that not being able to find a job in this economy is forcing you to start a business.

Whatever your motivation may be, you now work for yourself. Yet starting a business is the easy part. In America, the Small Business Administration states that an estimated 627,200 businesses were formed while 595,600 businesses ceased during the same period. Rather grim statistics, you might think. The question is: what can you do to ensure that your business is amongst the ones that survive and thrive?

These are the 5 most common mistakes that business owners make, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Expecting Quick Success

It’s easy to be attracted to the idea that we should be successful if we’ve invested some time, money and energy into a business. For example, placing one advertisement for a workshop and expecting many people to sign up. Or investing all your savings in setting up the business, and thinking you deserve some clients as a result. When quick success doesn’t happen, self-doubt arises, taking a stab at much-needed confidence, and causing you to lose faith and patience in your business.

When asked what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, Norm Brodsky, a veteran business owner who has started and sold several multi-million-dollar businesses, replied, “The most important quality is resilience”. He was referring to the ability to bounce back from failure, to turn around a bad situation, and to profit from your mistakes.

This mistake can be avoided by taking a 360-degree look at the steps needed to grow your business, implementing a well-researched plan, and having enough financial reserves that lasts at least 18 months when you start a new business.

2. Not Applying Sales & Marketing Fundamentals

Do you have a negative reaction to the word “sales”? Many entrepreneurs dread sales and marketing because of old mental images of “snake oil peddlers”- people who can convince others to buy things they don’t need. Entrepreneurs do not want to be perceived as the salespeople who are manipulative and out to rip people off.

While this is a common perception of sales, the truth is, nothing happens until a sale is made. As such, the first fundamental is to have a healthy mindset about sales and marketing.

Other sales and marketing fundamentals like having a target market, knowing who your ideal client is, having a sales process, the 80/20 rule [that 20% of your marketing activities will generate 80% of revenue], the 7-touch-or-more process prospects go through before becoming a customer, the need to have a marketing plan, the necessity to invest at least 10% of revenue in continued marketing, may seem run-of-the-mill. The truth They are applied in businesses that succeed, and are absent or sporadic in those that fail.

Some successful entrepreneurs may even go so far as to say a business owner’s main business is marketing, and not the product or service they are offering. While you might not agree with this view, the point is: constantly exploring new marketing methods, testing them, repeating what works and discarding what doesn’t, will ensure your business’s survival.

This mistake can be eliminated by attending any variety of Sales & Marketing 101 type seminars, really weaving the fundamentals into your business, and continually testing marketing methods. And as always, strategies you’ll learn work only if you work them.

3. Not Knowing Or Owning The Reason You’re In Business

Because the barriers to entry in most businesses are low, many people go into business without really connecting with why they want to be in business in the first place. Perhaps they want to get rich quick, or they were downsized, or they had a life transition [e.g. from being a professional to a stay-at-home-mom], or they have the mom-and-pop corner store mentality (if mom and pop could succeed then, I can do it too).

Seduced by the lifestyle possibilities of the new business, some business owners may neglect to see if the business is truly aligned with their passion and values. Prospects will sense the lack of passion or authenticity in what you do even though you don’t articulate it. What’s more, in the highly sophisticated, fast-changing world we live in today, it takes real passion in your products and services to sustain you and your business through the ebbs and flows of business cycles.

This mistake can be abated by getting clear about your passion – what do you really want to do with your business? What are your values around how you will conduct business with the world? Know how and why you started your business and embrace the reasons. If possible, convey them to your customers.

4. Not Mastering The Mental & Emotional Game

If running a successful business were as easy as knowing what to do and doing them, why aren’t there more successful business owners around? It’s usually because we haven’t mastered the inner game of winning in business.

To win, you must be aware of the types of behavior that are self-sabotaging, deal with them and hold on to your vision till the finish line. At the same time, you must continually nourish yourself by connecting to your belief in the success of your business, and truly owning the positive difference your business is making on the world.

An example of self-sabotage is the inability or refusal to learn from your mistakes. It’s the tendency to repeat self-destructive patterns of behavior even though you repeatedly end up being bumped in the head. For instance, an entrepreneur I worked with was close to shutting his business down, because like the previous business he started, he didn’t embrace sales and marketing, and let sales dwindle until it was too late.

This mistake can be eradicated by having a good mentor or business coach and having him or her assist you in uncovering your blind spots and developing an unstoppable mindset. “You can’t see what you can’t see” is the reason sports legends like Lance Armstrong and Michael Jordan work with their coaches. You are taking on the challenging yet rewarding entrepreneurship game after all, and you deserve all the support you can get.

5. Going Solo

The journey of entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. There are many roles to be filled (salesperson, marketer, manager, bookkeeper), and these roles involve risk-taking and a tremendous amount of energy and time.

While the business owner has to wear several hats, the tendency is to do everything yourself. Before you know it, you don’t have enough time to socialise or spend time with your family, and you become more and more isolated. Your business becomes your life. You are tired. And you become tired of your business.

What’s worse, many entrepreneurs do not accept the help they can get because they think no one else knows their business better then themselves. After all, they started their business in the first place so that they could do things their way! They have allowed their ego to get in the way.

This mistake can be remedied by outsourcing certain functions like accounting or website development. You can get out of isolation by joining mastermind groups for entrepreneurs, where you can exchange ideas, and ask for feedback and support. You can also create your own Board of Advisors, where you invite established professionals or business owners to mentor you.

Did You Dream of Being a Business Owner When You Were a Kid?

I’ve been a small business owner for 24 years: 12 as a wholesale gift owner and 12 as a professional coach to hundreds of other small business owners. They’ve all told me they want one thing: more free time to enjoy their lives and less time worrying about what’s stressing them in business. Have you felt this way too? When you decided to turn away from a steady paycheck and benefits, you put everything on the line for your dreams. You didn’t go into business to be a business owner; you did it to advance your vision of a better life. And somehow, along the way, your dreams may have been shoved aside as your business began to take over; its needs just seem to scream louder than does your desire for a life of abundance, wealth and security. It’s time to reclaim your dreams and make sure your business is crafted to heed your priorities! Many coaches will encourage you to do this – some screaming as loudly as your business needs.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But how do you do it? It can be extremely hard to just suddenly ignore the tyranny of the urgent, compelling you to pay attention. And there’s a good reason why you feel that resistance. See if this rings a bell: When you were employed, you learned to always ‘look busy’ when the boss was around. And what did that mean? Shuffling papers, making phone calls, responding to emails, attending meetings, crunching numbers. In other words, the key to getting a ‘thumb’s up’ from your boss was to engage in some physical activity; to ‘look busy’. Well, now you’re the boss! The only person you need to impress is you and the commitment you’ve made to your own vision of success. Now success rests on you – not just for the physical steps; now it’s up to you to craft that vision and it starts with creative thinking. Your vision of success starts with an ability to ask ‘what if?’ or ‘how would things change if I did X instead of Y?’

You may think the key to a satisfying day is a lot of action and task completion. Well, it may end that way but the beginning of your day will deliver extra satisfaction if it sees you in a comfortable chair, in a quiet space just imagining the possibilities you can create and the probabilities to which you must respond. Stop doing so much; spend more time dreaming and you’ll build a smarter, more profitable business that responds to the priorities of your life.

Start now; just sit here for a moment. Close your eyes and think about where you want your business to be in a year or 5; what has to happen first? What’s going to happen around you that you can’t control yet will have an impact on your business? What’s going on in your industry, the economy, technology, or with your customers that will require you to be prepared for the changes ahead? Want a little mood music? Here you go.

10 Business Tips To Boost Your Success

Is Your Business Professional Enough?

Welcome to another exciting blog post where we dive into the world of business and uncover the secrets to success. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, these 10 tips will help you take your business to the next level. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!

1. Develop a Clear Vision

1.1 Define Your Goals

Before embarking on any business venture, it’s crucial to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Take the time to define your goals and objectives, both short-term and long-term. This will provide you with a roadmap to success and keep you focused on your ultimate vision.

1.2 Create a Mission Statement

A mission statement is a concise and powerful statement that defines the purpose and values of your business. It serves as a guiding light, helping you make decisions that align with your core beliefs. Craft a compelling mission statement that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from the competition.

2. Build a Strong Brand

2.1 Define Your Brand Identity

Your brand is more than just a logo or a catchy tagline. It’s the perception people have of your business. Define your brand identity by identifying your unique selling proposition, target audience, and brand personality. This will help you create a consistent and memorable brand experience.

2.2 Invest in Branding

Once you’ve defined your brand identity, it’s time to invest in branding. This includes designing a visually appealing logo, developing a cohesive brand voice, and creating a compelling brand story. Consistency is key when it comes to branding, so make sure your brand elements are present across all touchpoints.

3. Know Your Target Audience

3.1 Conduct Market Research

Understanding your target audience is crucial for business success. Conduct market research to gather insights about your customers’ demographics, preferences, and behaviors. This will help you tailor your products or services to meet their needs and stand out from the competition.

3.2 Create Buyer Personas

Once you have gathered enough data, create buyer personas to represent your ideal customers. These fictional characters embody the characteristics and traits of your target audience. Use these personas to guide your marketing efforts and ensure your messages resonate with the right people.

4. Offer Exceptional Customer Service

4.1 Train Your Team

Your team is the face of your business, so it’s essential to invest in their training. Provide ongoing education and development opportunities to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to deliver exceptional customer service. Remember, happy customers are loyal customers!

4.2 Go the Extra Mile

Don’t just meet your customers’ expectations – exceed them! Find ways to go the extra mile and provide added value. This could be through personalized recommendations, surprise gifts, or timely follow-ups. These small gestures can make a big difference in building strong customer relationships.

5. Embrace Technology

5.1 Leverage Automation

In today’s digital age, automation is key to streamlining your business operations. Identify repetitive tasks and find ways to automate them using tools and software. This will free up your time to focus on more strategic activities that drive growth and innovation.

5.2 Stay Up-to-Date with Industry Trends

Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Attend conferences, join professional networks, and subscribe to relevant publications to stay informed. Embracing technology will not only improve your efficiency but also keep you ahead of the competition.

6. Foster a Positive Company Culture

6.1 Define Your Core Values

A strong company culture starts with clearly defined core values. These values guide your team’s behavior and decision-making, fostering a positive and inclusive work environment. Make sure your core values align with your overall business vision and are communicated effectively to your employees.

6.2 Encourage Collaboration and Innovation

Creating a culture of collaboration and innovation is essential for business growth. Encourage your team to share ideas, seek feedback, and embrace a growth mindset. Foster a safe and supportive environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best work.

7. Continuously Learn and Adapt

7.1 Embrace a Growth Mindset

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, it’s crucial to embrace a growth mindset. Be open to new ideas, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and continuously seek ways to improve. Stay curious and never stop learning – this mindset will fuel your personal and professional growth.

7.2 Monitor Market Trends

Keep a close eye on market trends and industry insights. This will help you identify new opportunities, anticipate customer needs, and adapt your business strategies accordingly. Stay agile and be willing to pivot when necessary to stay ahead of the curve.

8. Network and Collaborate

8.1 Attend Industry Events

Networking is a powerful tool for business success. Attend industry events, trade shows, and conferences to connect with like-minded professionals, potential customers, and key industry influencers. Building relationships and collaborating with others can open doors to new opportunities and growth.

8.2 Join Professional Associations

Joining professional associations or organizations related to your industry can provide valuable resources and networking opportunities. These associations often offer educational programs, industry insights, and access to a community of professionals who can support and mentor you on your business journey.

9. Set Realistic Goals and Track Progress

9.1 Set SMART Goals

When setting goals for your business, make sure they are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This framework will help you set realistic and achievable goals that can be tracked and measured. Regularly review your progress and make adjustments as needed.

9.2 Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that indicate how well your business is performing. Identify the most relevant KPIs for your business and track them regularly. This will provide you with valuable insights into your business’s health and help you make data-driven decisions.

10. Stay Resilient and Persevere

10.1 Embrace Challenges as Opportunities

Running a business is not without its challenges, but it’s how you respond to them that matters. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Stay resilient, stay positive, and never lose sight of your vision. Remember, every setback is a stepping stone to success.

10.2 Celebrate Your Wins

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your wins along the way. Recognize and reward yourself and your team for achieving milestones and reaching goals. Celebrating small victories will boost morale, foster a positive work environment, and motivate you to keep pushing forward.

And there you have it – 10 business tips to boost your success. Implement these strategies, stay focused, and watch your business thrive. Good luck!