For 14 years developing my own business I admitted a stupid business mistakes. I have also helped many people start their own business and I have seen with my own eyes how many of these same mistakes.
The tips in this article are aimed at small business owners, especially those who have just started their activity or are about to start any minute.
1. Selling to the wrong people
The fact is that sales are important for the survival of any business, but that does not mean you have to promote your business at any cost to everyone you meet, including and in front of friends and family members. Furthermore, a waste of time to try to sell what you offer to people who simply do not need him.
Selling to the wrong people incorporates selling at all.
For some clients it is easier to sell than others. For example, my wife advise small businesses on issues related to the Internet and learned from experience that some customers is much harder to sell. If a potential customer is literally broke and is particularly concerned about every lev who spends even if you want to make a website if you do not know what exactly is similar site or simply does not understand the Internet well enough, it will be a good customer in the long term.
Feel completely free to say “No” to customers who will bring more problems than benefits. Leave competition to sell to such customers. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and will free up more time to focus on the best customers.
Just because someone is interested in working with you does not mean you have to accept. During my first year in business saying “Yes” to at least 50% of people who wanted to work together. I lost a lot of time to pursue any opportunities. Accept all invitations to meetings and lunches from random people who just wanted to see “whether there is a way to work together.”
Literally none of these people do not bring me a penny profit.
If you think a meeting is pointless, you probably meaningless. Not met and do not waste time with random people just because you think the default should build up a circle of social contacts.
Today I take 10 times less similar invitations to meetings with strangers and casual people. If the proposal does not excite me more of the moment, usually I stave off or ignore. Most relationships simply not worth pursuing.
Learn to say “No” to the wrong opportunities you remain capacity to say ‘Yes’ to the golden opportunities.
2. Do you spend too much money
Until we manage to establish a stable cash flow does not spend valuable start-up capital, unless it is absolutely indispensable.
Start a computer business with around 20,000 dollars in cash (equity) and everything started to develop quickly. Soon after that I had to use credit to finance operations. Unfortunately, the original business model did not work and my business took him five years before they start generating positive cash flow. I soon learned that every dollar invested in business is another dollar to be back by sales.
In 2004. I started a business in the field of personal development with only 9 dollars in cash, although you can spend a lot more about it. I had no modern logo attractive web design, business cards or office. I paid for a domain registration site, and that was all. So I wanted to spend before you start generating positive cash flow. All the rest of my business expenses incurred as a result of this cash flow.
Business you have to carry your money in your pocket, so before you “invest” money in it, be aware of how you will restore them back.
Obviously some types of businesses require a lot more money to run, but in the era of Internet business can more easily start a profitable business with minimal funds.
3. To spend too little money
It is a mistake and too stingy in terms of cost. Do not let your thrift interfering with the efficiency you.
Take advantage of the services of the best professionals to do certain tasks better than you.
Buy good equipment or technique, it is obvious that it is worth and that will benefit from this.
No need to spend too much for the beautiful furniture, but instead furnished with functional furniture to help you more productive.
Do not use an antique computer with outdated software that they constantly delayed, if you can afford something better.
It takes time to build accurate assessment when too tight or too slack in terms of costs, so if you just started his business, looking sideways view.
Very often, the very idea that you get advice from another person makes you the right choice clearer. If you can not argue enough for any expenditure to someone whose opinion you value, then most likely this cost would be a mistake.
On the other hand, there are situations in which a person is difficult to justify why you should not make any cost.
4. To imagine about what actually not
Many solo entrepreneurs are presented in the plural – with “we”. This is something that many entrepreneurs make very often, but not necessary.
There is nothing wrong with your business from one person, especially nowadays. My business with computer games over the years was more ‘we’, but my business in the field of personal development is still “me”. Magazine my wife is “we” because it pays staff working for her, her business web counseling is “I”.
Totally okay to imagine business for “I” when the only person who works in the company you are you. To pretend that his “we” when in fact their ‘I’ is a bit silly. You will not gain any additional respect in ways that matter.
Moreover, to promote as “I” today may be even an advantage because people will know that you’re the one that will go to their money and that if you promise something, you’re the only one who will have to perform. The promises of “we” are sometimes not much value.
If you started your business only recently, do not pretend to represent something else. Put those prices of goods and services, which fairly reflect the level of your skills and abilities. Some just started entrepreneurs believe they should be actors. Businesses that promote the world is pure fantasy. Trying to deceive customers in this way will only backfire on you.
If you’re so desperate for business that need to lie clients generally should not start your own business. If you can not give true value and take a fair price for it, do not start a business. First develop further skills and abilities.
5. Assuming that the signed agreement will be respected
I admitted the mistake this more times than I dare to admit.
I had signed contracts with supposedly reliable companies with reputation and they are not worth a penny when managers of these companies decide they want to get out of the deal, even perfectly unwarrantable reasons. Of course, the law was on my side, but if I wanted to go and tell the court? No, rather I preferred to do some more meaningful work.
The signed contract is just a piece of paper. What is behind it is the relationship. If the relationship between the two countries worsen, the contract saves. The aim of the contract is clearly outline the roles and commitments of each. But relationships are what makes possible the implementation of the commitments.
When I realized this, I focused more on relationships and began to worry less about what’s on paper. You begin to rely too much on paper, the deal is already in trouble.
Inventive (and lucrative) business ventures almost always disagree with contracts of paper that represent them. One of my lawyers who worked on a dozen contracts relating to computer games told me that no deal on which he worked did not follow 100% of the clauses in the contract, most of them in fact were not even near clauses. Business relationships are similar to personal relationships – they can develop in all directions.
Written contracts are still necessary, especially when working with large companies, where people come and go, but they are secondary thing and relationships – the main. Do not make the mistake of suggesting that a contract is tantamount to a deal. The contract is only the shadow of the transaction. The real deal is the relationship.
Keep your relationship a good level and you will not often have to worry about things that are on paper.
Sad truth is that in business there are a lot of scoundrels. Some of them bear titles such as “CEO”, “President” or “chief financial manager”. Indeed, there are people for whom nothing but money does not matter and they will lie, cheat and steal to get to them.
In recent years some of the most prominent villains were accusations and others are behind bars. But even many of those for whom the word “honor” means nothing, walking around freely.
For example, in the games industry is not unusually large firm to simulate a strong interest in acquiring any game thus starts to hold in obedience developers. All signals that the company emits is that is interested to enter into a deal with developers, but all developers actually see only delays and false verbal promises. In practice largest company just wants to play out question from the market in order not to compete with its own similar game. As nibbling developers who expect a deal, the company hopes that they will stop making new things in the game and after a while the game just go away.
Such things happen. Businesses, especially entertainment business is not worrisome for people.
6. To go against your intuition
Intuition is important in business. You’ll be amazed how many transactions in giant companies happen because this gut their executives. You might think that logic is the language of business, but this is far from reality. If you based all your business activities of the iron logic and ignore your intuition, most likely you will enter the world of pain.
I’ll start by saying that we humans are not very logical. We just do not have enough information to fully take logical decisions because business deals depend on other human beings, we have no logical system for accurately predicting human behavior. And our inability to predict human behavior forms a serious gap in our logic. And intuition is that you need to fill this gap.
The actual behavior of people is what makes possible or impossible business transactions. But assuming that everyone will have predictable behavior is extremely unrealistic. No trade is carried out perfectly every time.
It’s hard to say “no” to transactions that theory look very attractive when my inner voice tells me “You will regret,” but then I’ve seen evidence that the voice of intuition was correct. Sometimes I just feel that a person is not completely honest and years thereafter know different people that he has deceived them in some way.
Intuition is a critical part of the mechanism for decision-making in business. Since business deals depend on relationships you need to be able to judge the people who will eventually work. If your judgment suggests negative things about people against you, give up and do not work with it. If your judgment is good, gently forward.
7. Being too formal
I’ll repeat it again. Every business is built on relationships. In some ways, a certain degree of formality is appropriate, but in most business situations being too formal only obstacle. Business relationships work best when there is a good relationship between the people involved in that business.
People do not want to do business with faceless companies. They want relationships with other human beings.
Treat your business like a friendship (or potentially friendship). Formality build walls, and the walls are not conducive to good business relationships. No one is loyal to the wall … except the one in China.
Formality is boring and tedious. People want to work their pleasure. If someone treats me like a computer will respond by pressing Delete. But if anyone has demonstrated that a man and a sense of humor, a relationship between us is much more likely.
8. sacrifice their personal quirks
In the early years of my business games take too seriously and thought it should be behaving like a “businessman” – whatever that meant. Being a solo entrepreneur was a big responsibility and there were people who counted on me. Swim or sink, right?
I started the business with electronic games at the beginning of my twenty anniversary, and people in that age have their peculiarities. But I thought that as a business owner would not be appropriate or acceptable to show similar oddities.
This is how most of my business letters and e-mails looked as if they were written by the same people who have written software license terms Microsoft. The post of “President” is stuck in my head. I learned how to function without personality and soul.
Years later and with time I started to feel more comfortable just being myself, especially after my business to become profitable games. Today I am a blogger and my personal quirks and unusual experiments are my strengths. My personal characteristics give this blog a unique twist. If I’d taken too seriously and wrote more formal, my blog would be very boring and probably would lose most of its readers.
Quite in the order of things is to strange and prevent that its strangeness in your business, especially if you’re young. Do not be afraid to be more like Steve Jobs … and less like Steve B. Do not pretend to as it not. This will be glad to work much more and will attract those customers and partners who will want to work with you because of what, even with your cons. And other customers who only want to work with robots sent to your corporate competitors – will have the face-similarity.
If others in any way can not perceive your quirks, too bad for them. Focus on the people who can.
9. Do not focus on value creation
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the purpose of any business is to make money. The real purpose of a business, however, is to create value. It is entirely possible in the short term to earn money without creating much of value, but in the long run it is impossible. Even criminal organizations have to create value for someone. When the only thing your business does is suck value than others without giving them something back in return, it will undermine self-esteem and you will no longer be a lot of fun to manage.
Why does your business?
It exists to give some value – both you and your customers.
The better you understand what value do you give, the better you will be able to focus.
Too often business owners are not aware of what value they want to provide. They just sell some things and hope for the best.
This is a bad business model. The world does not need more sales or more things. But the world always needs and wants the creation of real value and this is the direction in which you will have to direct their efforts.
Currently in my blog has over 400 free articles. This is a serious value creation. Thousands of people visit daily blog to get some value.