We’ve all experienced those growing pains when it seemed that every lesson had to be learned the hard way. Well, much of it rings true for a growing business, except, this time, there are no adults to help you get back on your feet. Starting or expanding a company is difficult and daunting, and the road is paved with obstacles and risks. Mistakes are bound to happen, but that doesn’t mean you’re destined to repeat the ones others have made. So, what are those most common rookie mistakes to watch out for?
# Having a Bad Business Plan
Whether it’s starting a venture or expanding an existing one, having a poor business plan can single handedly ruin your endeavor before it’s even begun. It is important to emphasize that your plan doesn’t have to be an overly elaborate 100-page long document. Your plan needs to clearly convey how you’re planning to run your company, what your vision and goals are, and what steps you propose to take to make it all happen. It is often that entrepreneurs get lost in the midst of this planning. Once you start dithering too much into the intricacies of the entire operation, you might lose the perspective of the bigger picture. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to foresee how things are going to develop, and that often you’ll be making new decisions as you go.
# Keep Your Finances in Check
When your company reaches growth mode, you might discover that your cash resources are insufficient and that some outside funding is necessary. Knowing your financial base is crucial for that very reason. Keeping track of your working capital, investments and additional expenditures will tell you which sources are the best to tap into. You might be surprised to learn that there is cash readily available, but you’ve overlooked it. For instance, late payments from debtors are a prime example of such situation. Collecting these funds requires aggressive and unwavering approach, so the best way to deal with debtors is by hiring a debt collection agency which will handle these cases professionally and efficiently. These debts and interest rates, no matter how small, will eventually add up and become more difficult to collect.
# Trying to Do It All on Your Own
Entrepreneurs are by default an ambitious kind – go-getters, some might say – ready to take on any challenge. But when caught in the exuberance of a growing enterprise, it is easy to lose sight of the goal and start making mistakes. As your venture grows bigger you will simply have to stop bootstrapping, and focus on smaller parts of the business. Think about where your personal expertise is best applied to and delegate other segments of the company to your colleagues. Failing to hire talents early is a common pitfall many small businesses make. Hiring the right people will not only distribute the workload, but it will also bring in new ideas and perspectives. Also, estimate which sectors can be outsourced and find experienced people for the handoff.
# Even the Best Ideas Need Some Marketing
It’s not all about creating a hip product, but finding the people who want to use it. It’s about claiming your piece of market share early in the game, and continuously working on maximizing it. Study the market and your competitors to get the feel for current trends and what your customer base is.
Starting with basics, you need to create an inviting and engaging website which represents your company the best possible way. Besides all relevant information about the company and what your business is offering, the site needs to be responsive so that consumers can easily and directly get the information they need. Social media platforms should be an integral part of your marketing campaign. They are the fastest way of connecting with customers, promoting special offers, and engaging wider audience using something as simple as your own custom Twitter hashtag.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with ten years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.