Mistakes to avoid when starting your small business
So you have a wonderful idea that you think would make a great business. You are sure that your idea will be the next "big thing". So you print some brochures, some business cards, and take out an ad in the Yellow Pages, you pay $500 for a website and a domain name that tells everyone about your amazing credentials and experience, and you think you are ready to go. You distribute your fliers at a local grocery store, and then nothing happens. You may be amazed to learn that you have just committed one of the most common mistakes when it comes to starting a small business. Here are some other mistakes to avoid when starting your small business-
- Being to general-You need to make sure that you business can stand out in the crowd. Remember that there is always at least one other business that does what you do. You need to be specific and unique, about what you can offer as a solution to your potential customer's needs or wants. Make sure that your business is focused on what you can do better then your competitors.
- Failing to plan-As the saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". It is important to remember that an idea is not a business plan, or a marketing plan, or even just a goal. It is only an idea. It is important to understand that although the planning process may seem long and tedious now, it will benefit you more than you could imagine in the future. For example, if you are seeking funding, when you are joining an association of professionals, when your goals change, when your business changes, or if you take on a partner or investor, your business plan should reflect that. However, you must still understand that your business plan should guide you, but not constrain you. If something in your plan doesn't fit just right, then you should not hesitate to change it. Remember that your business plan will never have a final draft.
- Wasting money on ineffective marketing-It is important to understand that brochures and business cards are a waste, for startup businesses. Most likely you will spend far more producing them, than they will produce for you. This is because most startup businesses change too quickly for these materials to be effective, for more than a short period, sometimes as little as days. Marketing experts recommend that you don't waste your time, or your money, on brochures and business cards, until you can keep your typical sales presentation the same for at least six months. Otherwise, for business startups, these items generally are not worth the trouble.
- Paying big money for a web site-Virtually everything (and everyone), has moved onto the internet. However, for small businesses money is will be tight, for a long time and paying big dollars to have a web presence just doesn't make sense. The best idea for a business startup is to design your own website for free if you can. The second best idea for a business startup is to get a friend or relative to design it for free. Finally if the other ideas don't work then try to pay a minimal fee, for the complicated stuff, and the rest can be done by yourself and a relative. As a final resort, and only if no one in the world can help you, do you want to hire a professional to do the whole thing for you. And if you do, try and get it on 30 or 60 days post. That way, the new website will be generating money for you before you pay.
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