Head down, blinkers on. It’s easy to make simple mistakes as you build your empire. Fear not. Here we describe 10 of the most common pitfalls of the small business builder, and how to swerve them.
CHARGING TOO LITTLE
You’re keen to get work and build up the client list. But don’t sell yourself short. Under-pricing may work in the short term but if you can’t make enough to cover your overheads, costs and other outgoings, it’s unsustainable. Set a fair yet competitive price based on your costs, competition and competence. Suck it and see, you’ll soon work out what the market can sustain.
USING THE WRONG SOCIAL MEDIA
More doesn’t mean better. It’s not about how many social media platforms you’re on but whether they are relevant to your business, audience and aims. Think about the strengths of each social media channel and whether it serves your purposes. Plus, if you can’t maintain compelling content with regular updates on all the platforms you’ve signed up to, your brand will suffer. So be discerning.
POOR TIME MANAGEMENT
Your productivity is suffering, yet you’re working all the hours in the day. It’s not the quality of your work, it’s the quality of your organisation. Review how you approach tasks and manage your workload. Can you improve how you prioritise work and divide up your day?
Your first office is likely to be your living room with occasional relocation to the local café. Either way, it can be a pretty lonely life, and not necessarily a productive one if your only sounding board is the cat. The cost of those turmeric chai lattés can soon eat into any profit. Joining a shared workspace like Work.Life has myriad benefits, not least gaining a work/life balance, social interaction, and office facilities at your fingertips.
NOT TAKING A HOLIDAY
When you work for yourself, you’re usually the first one you neglect. Remember you’re allowed a vacation and you can take time off if you’re sick. You might think working through the year without a holiday is admirable. It’s actually unproductive. Fire up that motivation, morale and mood by giving your brain some quality time off from your business.
Maybe you’ve fallen out of love with your industry, or your ideas or circumstances have changed. Take a reality check. Consider if it’s worth the time, effort and expense of continuing the business in its current form. Have the courage to re-assess your strategy and aims, even if that means a completely new offering. No-one will have passion for your business if you don’t. Adapt to survive.
You may be a one-man band at the start of your business journey but growth could require an orchestra. Avoid burnout and stunting the ambitions and potential of your business by trying to do everything yourself. Consider taking on freelancers if full-time employees aren’t cost-effective just yet. Outsource tasks that prevent you focusing on the big stuff, or those that someone else can do better than you.
AVOIDING AN ACCOUNTANT
Talking of outsourcing, your best investment as you set up your business is probably getting an accountant. Unless you’re a well-organised maths whizz with the time to stay up to date with tax law, employing an accountant is a good investment. It’s one less time-consuming thing to worry about.
FORGETTING TO LISTEN
Spend time analysing successes and failures, then build on what you’ve learnt. If you won the work, ask why. If you lost it, ask why as well.
NEGLECTING YOUR HEALTH
Have as much focus on your self as you have on your business. There won’t be a business if you don’t look after yourself or stop doing the things you love. If you don’t have time to cook healthy meals, fail to see friends, cancel your favourite exercise class or miss out on doing your hobby, it’s time to reassess if you’re running your business or the business is running you.
Work.Life can help small businesses thrive thanks to our convenient national locations, networking opportunities, social events and supportive working environment. To find out more, click here.