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If you are a first-time business owner, no matter how much you read about the successes and failures of others, you will simply have to make a few mistakes of your own. They say people learn best by trial and error, and while that might as well be true, making too big of a mistake in the business world can leave you high and dry for good. In order to avoid five of the most perilous mistakes of a young SMB – read on:
1 – Hiring the wrong people
Hiring the right people is a science, no doubt about it. Making sure they stay is another science altogether. However, you most likely know very little about the subject to start with, the learning curve is steep, and you most likely won’t have too much time on your hands to tackle it.
When you operate a small business, it is more costly to hire one wrong person, than it is when you are working in a huge corporation. The onboarding process will take up valuable time and resources, which could have been throw at a more perspective candidate.
Another fact to bear in mind is that in SMBs, the employees often have to take on additional tasks, and SMB owners need to know they can rely on the people they have to help carry to load. This means that they often need to be skilled at more than just strictly their own job and that they will soon become quite a valuable asset.
This is why SMB owners need to make a point of hiring, and more importantly, retaining the right people from the get-go. Turning to a professional recruitment agency might benefit you hugely.
2 – Mishandling the paperwork
Starting a business involves a mountain of paperwork. There are contracts to file, and taxes to fill out, and purchases to be made, not to mention hiring the actual staff. While it may all seem a mere nuisance, and while it truly is, you need to make sure you ask the right people with this job.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can handle it all on your own. Unless you are yourself an accountant and/or a lawyer, you can’t possibly have the time to both run the company and take care of the legalities.
To avoid making a huge mistake with a simple filing process, turn to experts in new company formation, who will make sure all of your papers are handled properly, and who will let you know if you are missing a document or two.
3 – Spending the marketing budget poorly
In SMBs, budgets are tight. And most of them are not spent on marketing, to begin with. If parts of them are, they often end up carelessly spent on the wrong marketing tactics, which will yield little to no ROI.
While digital marketing can drive insane amounts of leads, and can make you the next big name in the industry, don’t for a second believe that it can happen overnight and that you can a- do it yourself or b- do it without any investment.
While marketers may at times seem to be in the business of selling smoke and mirrors, the best of them do know what they are doing, and you should place your trust in them. Don’t fall for a marketing tactic that has done wonders for a company that sells beauty products, if you are selling car parts. Do some research, and turn to the big guns. Even a small budget can go a long way if it targets the right audience and the right channels.
4 – Using the wrong tools
No matter what industry you operate in – you need to be using the right tools. Whether we are talking about software, hardware, or something else entirely, you need to work with the best to be able to achieve the best.
Don’t just go for the first solution you come across – it may be affordable, but it may not be the right one for you. Always make sure to compare several offers, and see what will suit your team and your line of work best. Even if you are used to a particular piece of software, for instance, if you find something that may do the job better, take the time to get used to it. It will be worth your while in the long run.
5 – Keeping an eye on the competition
While we are by no means saying you should not pay attention to your competitors, you most certainly should not monitor their every move. First off, you might be terrified by what you see, as some of them may be leagues ahead of you.
By all means, check out their marketing tactics, their products, and services, the way they do business, but don’t base every decision on trying to outdo and outwit them. You are trying to win over your own customers, not merely steal theirs. Try to offer the best product or service you can, not because you want to be better than someone else, but because you simply want to do the best you can.
Even though all SMBs have to go through the same stages of growth, we hope that these tips will help you make the ride a smoother one, and avoid the worst of the mistakes others often make.
About the Author
Michael is the man behind Qeedle, a marketing and business hub aimed at helping SMB owners and startups get their hang of the business world.