Mistakes are an inevitable fact of just about any role and task you take on, although the severity of those mistakes can be mitigated if you apply the right considerations. Managing a small business can be a stressful endeavour, whether you have too much business on the books or not enough – there is always a lot to be done. Today we are going to look at some of the most easily avoided mistakes when it comes to managing a smaller enterprise and how we can pivot away from these encounters and succeed quicker instead.
1. Not automating processes
How much of your time is spent on tasks that are the same each month, week or day? It could be rostering, invoicing or even your small business management software. By not automating these processes you are sacrificing critical time and retargets on something that a digital tool can do, taking you away from customer engagement, forward-planning and even mentoring your employees. It can also mean that you don’t need to recruit for another role and can instead lean on the quick and compliant function of these software options.
2. Hiring friends and family
This might be a controversial point, but it is worth mentioning as it can so often go wrong when a business decision is made from the heart and not the head. Hiring from a talent pool of unknown candidates means that you are hiring on skill and merit, and you cannot always say the same when you hire from your social circle. If you are serious about growth and making the tough decisions that a small business owner has to make all to often – avoid hiring friends and family.
3. Investing too far in the future
There is nothing wrong with having a plan and goals, but you want to be realistic about where you invest your money too far down the line. You might love your warehouse in that first year of business, but will it still meet your need in four years time when your business grows and you are still committed to that five-year lease? The same could be said for company cars for your employees if you end up switching to a remote format and they are not required to make the commute into work. Make financial decisions as they present themselves rather than making assumptions about the future.
4. A weak business plan
How often do you review your business plan, and can you say that it helps direct the growth and direction of your business? If you are in the majority, then you probably haven’t looked at the business plan in a while and cannot definitively say what is in there and whether that is relevant today. This is such an easily-avoided mistake, and by putting time into articulating your business goals and direction, you are signalling to the universe, your team and the industry what your motivation and trajectory are.
5. Not staying on top of competitors
Regardless of the product or services you are bringing to the market – you will always have direct or indirect competitors. Small business owners are often guilty of having tunnel vision when it comes to their own offering and niche that they don’t see the competitors coming and fail to understand what they offer and how that is a threat to your business… until they have taken your top customers that is. Speak openly and often about your competitions with your team and encourage collaboration about what opportunities and highlights your small business has over theirs.
6. Poor office culture
Poor office culture can have a detrimental effect on your business, especially if you realise what is happening too late. Poor culture and morale can be a product of an over-worked team, under-communicated team or even just a stale work environment that does not foster social interaction and fun. You can remedy this by designing office perks for your dedicated team, social events and anything that is going to make them happy to come to work and represent your business as you would like them to.
It might appear like there are a million ways to go wrong in your business, but there are just as many winning decisions you can make to take your small business to a new level of success. Give the above points a thought and act on any changes that you think could lead to some of the outcomes discussed here today.