There are countless items on the to-do list of a small business owner. However, with these things to do come several things to avoid as well in order to be successful and maintain a company long-term. Small business advisor Bert Seither explains 5 of these things to avoid:
1) Jumping into a business too soon
One of the biggest reasons small businesses fail is because their owners jump into them too soon. They may not be financially stable to get the company off the ground. They may not have their life priorities ready to have the time for running a business, in addition to a day job, a family, or other personal obligations. They may be so convinced that their idea is fantastic when in fact there is no proper business plan in place. The bottom line here is that you’ve got to be ready to roll and have all your ducks in a row prior to getting into business ownership. Be patient and confident in everything before you actually take the dive. It’ll give your small business a much better chance of soaring.
2) Ignoring feedback from others
Bert Seither says it’s easy to become closed-minded at times when operating a business enterprise. This is why being open-minded and willing to listen to feedback from others is such a critical trait of successful entrepreneurs. Don’t ignore what customers are telling you. Don’t ignore what your employees or business partners are communicating to you. Criticism can be difficult to accept, but in most cases, it will make you a better leader overall. There are also ideas on how to do certain things that never cross your mind, but may have different perspectives that can expand your horizons.
3) Failing to claim business tax deductions/credits
The IRS actually wants small businesses in the U.S. to succeed. That’s why they offer a lengthy list of business tax deduction and business tax credit opportunities for the owners of them to take advantage of when filing their taxes. If you fail to claim the ones you’re eligible for, you may be missing out on some big savings. Be sure to explore these accounting topics yourself or work with a knowledgeable accounting professional to guide you in the right direction. So many expenses are associated with business startup and ongoing responsibilities, which is why you should write off as many of them as you can.
4) Failing to devote enough time to the business
They say the startup phase and some of the ongoing duties of a small business involve a 24/7 commitment. It’s no joke, Bert Seither says. You must have a significant amount of time available to run a company, respond to customers, answer phone calls, send e-mails, manage your sales, and do everything else that’s part of the process. If you get into it too soon without enough time for it, your chances of succeeding will immediately drop. If you have a day job, you’ll need enough time at night and on weekends to devote to the business. If you have family obligations, ask yourself if you can handle them on top of business ownership. Time is particularly of the essence early on, but it is required to keep the company afloat.
5) Failing to ask for help/support
First-time business owners need every ounce of support they can get. Fortunately, there are a ton of services and organizations out there willing to assist these budding entrepreneurs. The key is to actually reach out to them and ask for the assistance you need. Whether it’s with your taxes, financial planning, bookkeeping, payroll, website design, customer database management, or any business-related task, there are experienced professionals out there who can lend you a helping hand. Outsourcing these responsibilities to others is highly recommended in the initial stages of a small business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will be glad you did when you look back on things in the future.