9 Things That a New Small Business Owner Should Avoid Doing

When you are new small business owner, you are often uncertain about what to do and what not to do. Here is a list of nine things that you should avoid doing when you are first stating out: 

  1. Let Your Passion Override Your Reason – It’s good to be in love with your business but even the greatest passion and the grandest ideas have to have a firm foundation in sound business and marketing principles. Define your business and create a brand – so that everyone else can understand what you are so passionate about. Develop a business plan so you know where you are going. Develop an ongoing marketing plan so that your target market is reminded on a regular basis that you are out there ready to serve them. 
  2. Think Small – Even though you are a small business owner, you don’t have to think small. Does this mean you have to have a multi-million dollar business in order to be considered successful? No, that’s not what I mean. Allow yourself to dream big in your business. Really let yourself see just how big you can build your particular piece of the marketplace. If you want to generate a business that will support you and your family for the long haul…great! Dream about that. If you want a business that makes a lot of money, doesn’t require your constant presence and gives you the lifestyle you want…great! Dream about that. Then think big – what can you do to take these dreams and implement them? What are the steps you will have to take to have the business you want? Then play big – make efforts daily that shape your business into the one you want. 
  3. Spend Too Much Time and Money on Creating Your Website – The goal of creating a website is to create an online presence for you. It is a marketing tool and in many cases an e-commerce tool. But it is often treated like the end goal rather than as a means to a goal and far too much money is spent in the process. You do not need an expensive website to get started; you do not need lots of flash and bells and whistles. Start minimally – e.g. with a multi-page blog or a one brochure-style page site with a blog attached to it. You can always add on later.
  4. Put Your Website Up and Then Forget about It – Just putting your website out in cyberspace is not enough – you need to get the search engines to find you on an ongoing basis so that your target audience can find you. There is plenty of great free information out there on what are the basics of a search-engine friendly website. Come up with a plan and have your webmaster implement the strategies for you. If you have an e-commerce site, you may want to invest in getting a website and search engine optimization audit to find out the best way to drive traffic to your site. 
  5. Market Your Business Inconsistently or Ineffectively – Marketing is getting your message about your business out to the world. Marketing has to be a continuous process, not intermittent or sporadic. When you first start your small business, you are so busy doing the tasks of your business that you forget you have to make time to market your business. But even before you begin doing this, you have to determine which marketing strategies are right for your business – which will give you the biggest return on your investment. If you don’t hire a coach for anything else, hire a coach to help you develop a marketing plan. It will keep you from making expensive or ineffective missteps. 
  6. Look at What Others Charge and Then Decide to Charge a Lower Fee So You Can Get Business – Knowing how much to charge for your services is often a stumbling point for new business owners, especially when you provide a service rather than a physical product. Many service providers will research what others are charging, then decide to set their fee just below that price. The rationale is that people will compare and choose you because you are more affordable. Resist the temptation to under-price your services. Though price may be a determining factor, it is not the only one. Most people buy based on the benefits they will receive from buying a product or service. When you are starting out, look at industry standards. Then look at how you can increase the value of the services you offer so that clients and customers see the value, not the price. As you become more experienced in business, you will find that if the value is truly there, people will be willing to pay even more than industry standards. 
  7. Go It Alone – Just because you are in business for yourself does not mean you should be in business by yourself. As a new small business owner, you will need ongoing advice, guidance and support. Having a coach on an ongoing basis is vital to your success. No one coach can fulfill all your needs over time, so expect to change coaches as you grow. Get into a master mind group with like-minded people to keep being challenged on a regular basis. Join an organization that serves the needs of small business owners and attend their events. Network with other small business owners. 
  8. Try to Do It All Yourself – One of the problems of being a new small business owner is that you may not have the money to hire people to help you or buy services that support your business. To start, look at all the tasks in your business. See which ones help you generate income but take too much time to do. For example, good bookkeeping will help you make money and save money. But not everyone is cut out to be their own bookkeeper, so this may be a service to which you commit early one to support your business. Eventually, you will want to outsource all the work that is administrative. Even if you are good at clerical or administrative tasks, this doesn’t mean you should be doing them. The point here is to free up enough of your time to create products and services and market your business.
  9. Work to the Point You Exclude Everything Else – A small business can consume all your time if you let it. Having boundaries around how much time you spend in your business each day is important. You will have to plan this just as you do your business tasks. Make sure to allot time in every day for downtime. Make time for self-care. Plan time for recreation and even for an interest outside of your business. Exercise. Relax. Have fun.