9 out of 10 new businesses fail in their first two years. While many people focus – for good reason – on what to do to be within that successful ten percent, it’s also worth knowing what not to do. Planning for and avoiding several major hurdles can help companies get through that crucial first year and move towards a successful business life. Making these five mistakes dramatically increases the chance of your business failing.
1. Not Understanding Marketing
Marketing seems like it should be simple. Make some banner ads in Microsoft Paint, buy some keywords through Google and you’re good to go. Obviously, if it was that simple no business would ever fail to find their audience.
Understanding which keywords to target, finding the right ways to build a social media presence, creating a vibrant blog presence and commenting appropriately on other industry social media accounts is all harder than it sounds. And doing it all properly depends on a solid understanding of a company’s target ideal customer.
If you are very familiar with the ins and outs of marketing in the digital age, you can do your business’s marketing on your own. Otherwise, hiring a professional marketing expert is the right way to go.
2. Allowing a Weak Management Team
Many businesses are started with friends. This is great for comradery, staying focused into the wee hours of getting a product put together and shipped, and for telling great stories at companies parties.
But some friends make lousy business partners. This is especially true when one or more partners have the same strengths. In the early days of a startup, everyone wears many different hats. If someone isn’t able to pull their weight, struggles to shift gears, or gets hyper-focused on one task to the exclusion of others, that person can drag an entire company down.
While starting a business with friends can be a lot of fun, make great business decisions from the start by making sure that the people you want to work with in the garage are also the people you want to sit in a boardroom with.
3. Cash Flow Problems
Whether there is a problem with having enough cash coming in, or a problem with handling the cash that does come in, cash flow problems sink a significant number of businesses. Cash flow might be a problem along with any number of issues within the company overall, but if a business can’t pay its bills, it won’t be able to stay open.
It’s worth noting that unexpected costs – like a customer getting hurt at the store, an employee getting hurt on the job, or damage to the property overall – are all insurable problems that can be covered, instead of causing a business’s cash flow to take a hit.
4. Not Insuring the Business Properly
People fail to insure their businesses for the same reasons they fail to insure anything else; it’s expensive, it’s a hassle, policies are hard to understand and it feels like they never pay out when you need them to, and besides, nothing’s going to happen.
Which is all fine, until something does happen. All startups and businesses need a proper coverage for their development and safety without any loss. In addition, lawsuits can break companies in today’s environment.
Just like a tree branch can fall on your house and damage the roof or someone can T-bone your car, your business is vulnerable in many different ways. Being properly insured for things like legal fees or damages if you’re sued, worker’s compensation costs if an employee is injured, or damages, if someone is injured on your property, can prevent your business from suddenly being liable for huge unanticipated costs.
5. Not Maintaining Work/Life Balance
Burnout is a serious problem that many entrepreneurs face. There is so much to do in the early phases of a startup that it can seem like the work will never end. In fact, that’s true; if people do not deliberately take time to recharge, they will always find more work to do. And, in most cases, they will burnout on the project, hate everything about it, and either causes the company to self-destruct, or be unable to continue working due to their own exhaustion.
There’s a myth that good entrepreneurs never take breaks except to sleep, and minimize sleep through endless amounts of caffeine. While some entrepreneurs may be able to survive that way, those are far from the majority.
Entrepreneurs who are successful over time say that their focus on taking care of themselves through things like reading books unrelated to their niche, going for walks or boating trips without their phones, or enjoying a really great meal socially without work friends helps them be better CEOs and executives.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community