Blog Archives

The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make While Growing Your Business

As a small business owner, one of the most exciting (and terrifying) parts of owning your own business is when it starts to grow. You realize you’ve got a winning formula, but now you’re not sure where your business is going to go. The possibilities keep you up at night; unfortunately, so does the fear. You want your business to grow into something long term, so you don’t want to make any major mistakes. Well, we’re here to help you avoid some of the more common mistakes business owners make when their company starts to grow.

Mistake #1: Taking on all that growth yourself

If you own a small business, there’s a high chance your company started out as a one-person operation. You’re used to doing everything yourself, and honestly, it can be hard to let go of any of it. The problem is if you don’t pass anything off, things are going to start falling through the cracks. As you start getting more customers, things are going to get busier and busier.

To avoid this mistake, write down all the tasks you do for your small business. Next to those tasks, write down how much time each takes. Then, write down if you’re an expert at it, you do it satisfactorily, or you don’t know what you’re doing. Using that list, think about the kind of person you could hire to fill some of those roles that take a lot of time and you have little expertise in.

Mistake #2: Hiring the wrong employees

When you’re looking to hire employees, don’t make the common mistake of going with the easiest hire. Whether they’re a family friend, or they’re the least-expensive option, you can easily hire somebody that won’t perform, or worse, cause more stress. You have to make sure they are the right fit for your business needs.

Whatever role you’re hiring for, make sure you do your due diligence. Research the role online, look for advice that other business owners have hiring for that role, and look for specific interview questions. Look for the self-starters, the ones who don’t need a lot of hand-holding to get the job done. These people are the future leaders of your growing company.

Mistake #3: Not investing in your infrastructure

As your business grows, you need to take a hard look at what your location, your equipment, and your processes can handle. Take a few minutes and think about how your location, equipment, and processes would hold up if you had twice the amount of business. What about 10 times the business? One hundred times? You want your business to be scalable, so look for software solutions, equipment, and processes that can grow with your increasing business.

Mistake #4: Not preparing for cash flow needs

A huge mistake a lot of small business owners make is not preparing for future cash flow issues. Too many small businesses wait to apply for a loan until their business is in trouble, and at that point, capital can be hard to find. If your business is doing well, now is the time to go to a lender for a line of credit or a business loan. Also, consider applying for a Small Business Administration loan, which have much lower rates than typical small business loans.

If you can avoid these common mistakes, your business will likely continue to grow and be successful. What other mistakes have you seen small business owners make as their business grows?

How to Stop Wasting Time and Start Seeing Results from Your DIY Small Business Marketing

As a small business owner, it can be hard to see what the best marketing channel is for your specific product. Everywhere you look, you see marketing “tactics” that will “explode your Twitter following overnight” or “start a viral movement.” Unfortunately, the majority of companies out there will see zero positive impact, and going viral is extremely difficult and not always a good thing.

So how do you find the best marketing campaigns for your small business that you can run?

Let me walk you through a simple and effective plan that will get you the business you need. Take 20 minutes and follow these simple steps.

Identify your customer’s problem

The first step is to identify the problem that your small business solves. You know your customers better than anyone, so try and get in their heads.

Take a few minutes and write down some common problems your customers have.

Here are three examples:

A family restaurant:

Problem: “I need a place where my family can eat that has reasonable prices, good atmosphere for kids, and good food.”

A mortgage broker:

Problem: “I don’t even know where to get a home loan and I’m worried I won’t understand the process when I do.”

A business accountant:

Problem: “Our company needs software that allows our accountants to work closely together so we can quickly and efficiently help our customers.”

Show the solution

The next step is to consider each one of the problems you wrote down, then write down two sentences that show how your business solves that particular problem. For example:

Problem: “Our company needs software that allows our accountants to work closely together so that we can quickly and efficiently help our customers.”

Solution: “Our innovative accounting software allows your team to work together quickly and effectively.”

Solution: “We’ve built a suite of tools to help your accountants work together on the same project in real time, saving you and your clients time and money.”

Also, consider looking through your customer testimonials or reviews for snippets that show how your business solves people’s problems. These can be the most effective messages you can share.

Now that you’ve got some good solid ad copy, run it by someone you trust to give you honest feedback. Don’t let your ego get in the way; make sure to listen to what they say. Make changes as necessary.

The last step is to find the best way to get your message in front of your audience. It’s important to recognize that one size does not fit all. If your clientele is small business across the nation, odds are you’re going to need to reach out to your customers on the Internet or through trade publications. If you’re local, it might be the newspaper or local Google ads.

The best way to find the right marketing channel is to determine where your customers are when they make the “decision.” For example, people frequently check Yelp for restaurants, so if you’re trying to find new customers, you may want to take out an ad in Yelp. If you’re a plumber, you may want to take out an ad in the local newspaper or put an ad on Craigslist.

Here’s a list of common marketing channels for small businesses: 

   •     Google AdWords
   •     Facebook ads
   •     Forum banner ads
   •     Bus stations
   •     Local newspapers and radio stations
   •     Yelp
   •     Craigslist
   •     Trade shows
   •     Magazines
   •     Local television

Now that you’ve got your copy and you have your channel, all you have to do is place the ad. Then, make sure to watch the results closely. If it’s not successful, consider changing the message or going with a different channel. Once you find an advertising campaign that works, it can bring profits for years to come.

What kind of success have you had running your own marketing campaigns for your small business? Reply in Comments below.