Years of experience have taught me that running a small business is a challenge, especially when you are providing a service. Your expectations for success may not match your results, because simply providing excellent service within your field isn’t always enough. When I first started running my business, I naively assumed that because I was a master at my profession, my business would flourish. I failed to realize that my business skills were equally important and some of those lessons took hard tolls on me before I fully understood them.
Luckily, many of the lessons that I learned were due to mistakes that are actually quite easy to avoid. While learning these lessons won’t make you a business genius overnight, they will help you avoid rough spots that many small business owners encounter.
1. Don’t Lose Track of Your Goals
Odds are you didn’t start a business simply to own a business. I didn’t. I started my business because I wanted to become a home owner. I eventually bought the home, but then didn’t spend much time enjoying it. Eventually I realized that I had lost track of my goal.
You need to make sure that running your business doesn’t prevent you from the achieving or enjoying the goals that made you start the business in the first place. If that does happen, you need to adjust your business practices to allow you to actually enjoy the fruits of your success.
2. Don’t Choose Incompatible Partners
At one point I was looking for more capital for my business, so I took on a minority partner. More capital did help grow my business, but because my new partner had almost exactly the same skills I had, that growth was slower than it should have been.
When choosing help our outsourcing taks, you want to partner with a person or company that has strengths where you are weak. For example, if you don’t have strong computer skills, but want a better web presence, team up with experts in improving the web presence of small businesses.
3. Don’t Take on Too Much Work
Even if you do have the necessary skills to handle certain aspects of your business, you need to consider the cost-benefit of actually taking on that work. In other words: would you rather be in front of clients as the face of your company, or in front of the computer as the backend administrator?
For example, maintaining a social media presence or managing effective email marketing helps grow your business, but is very time intensive. Employing marketing automation services to take those duties off your plate will always pay off in the end – and be more cost effective to boot.
4. Never Get Discouraged
Your business will have ups and downs. Mine sure did. Simply acknowledging that before you start your business can help you avoid getting discouraged when the down times eventually happen. You don’t need to plan for the worst, and you certainly shouldn’t expect it, but if you steel yourself to the concept, you will be ready for anything.
5. Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut
The world is changing rapidly and your business needs to change just as rapidly if you want to stay relevant. This can apply to any part of your business, but especially applies to your use of technology. It took me years before I realized that I simply didn’t understand the value of concepts like e-mail marketing and local search placement, and that was hurting the growth of my business. Now I have hired experts that handle all aspect of my web presence and the marketing benefit has been exceptional.
Changing with the times can mean simply purchasing better chairs for your waiting room or it can mean hiring professionals to create and maintain a multi-page, mobile friendly website for your small business. Whatever you do, as long as your business is constantly evolving, you are making the right decision.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community