Running your own business seemed like such a fun way to make tons of money, but now you’re scratching your head wondering how it got so hard. And all that money? Where did it go?
If running a business were easy, everyone would do it. The fact is, entrepreneurs make a lot of mistakes along the way. If you’re guilty of any of the following, remedy them right away and get back on track.
You Lack Discipline and Systems
You work when you feel like it. Isn’t that the point of being an entrepreneur: to have freedom? Not if you actually have the goal of making money. And you have no systems in place. Every time you do something, you start from scratch.
There’s a reason that corporations are open from 9 to 5, and why they have serious systems and processes in place. They work. So rather than wringing your hands over the fact that your business isn’t growing while you’re in yoga class, get serious about how you do business.
The Solution: Start by establishing work hours. They don’t have to be traditional if you’re not customer-facing, but they do have to be consistent. So if you’re a graphic designer and work best from midnight until 4 a.m., knock yourself out. And this doesn’t mean you can’t take off occasionally to do something fun, but it does provide discipline for you to sit down and get work done.
Next, set up systems. Every time you complete a task that needs to be done a hundred times, document how you do it. Find the ways you like to work best. This will help you get over the next mistake you’re probably making…
You Assume You’re The Best Person for the Job
Look, we’re all Type A people. I get that you assume no one can do anything in your business as well as you, but there are two flaws in this thinking. One, you’re not perfect. You can’t excel at everything in your business, from marketing to strategy to accounting to admin. Two, trying to do it all means that you’re probably juggling too much and doing everything rather poorly. Is that what you want for your business?
The Solution: I’m going to introduce you to a magical little word. You’ll thank me. It’s delegation. When you can accept that there are people who are experts in a given field who can help you grow your business faster and free you up to work on what you’re best at, magical things happen. So try it. Start with whatever task stresses you the most. Maybe you’re not adept at managing social media or updating your QuickBooks. Find a professional to take that task on. I guarantee you’ll become addicted to delegation and soon outsource even more.
You Fly Under the Radar on Important Business Requirements
This is especially true for those of us who work from home. You may not know (or not care) that you’re required to have certain business licenses to comply with city or state business laws. You may have coasted by so far, but what happens when you get slapped with a hefty fine? That’s no fun.
And while it’s not required to incorporate your business or form an LLC, it’s a good idea. Doing so can ensure that if your business is ever sued, your personal assets can’t be touched.
The Solution: Even if you’ve been in business a while, I encourage you to research what the requirements are in your city to run a business. Keep track of filing deadlines and pay your fees on time to make the government happy. Look into the corporation or LLC as a business structure and weigh the benefits of each. There is nominal cost to get set up, but isn’t the protection of your business and personal assets worth it?
You Think You Don’t Need to Market Your Business
Customers are pouring in the door. Why would you waste time marketing your business when you have more than you can handle? Marketing isn’t to bring customers in today; it’s to ensure that down the road, things don’t grind to a halt.
And what about repeat customers? Are you ignoring them in favor of attracting new ones? Big mistake. Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times what they spent on their initial purchase with you. So you better start marketing to get them to come back.
The Solution: Marketing is imperative for every single business. If you don’t know where to start, hire help (see the second item above). You need to maintain a strong presence online through your blog, social media and email to ensure that customers keep coming back.
The good news is that all of these mistakes are easily remedied, if you’re willing to put the time in. Believe me, every entrepreneur makes mistakes. It’s what you do to correct them that makes all the difference.