Anyone who’s started and run their own business will tell you that a lot of the time it can be a real struggle. Getting a start-up off the ground, helping it to scale and turning it into an established business is tough. Business owners in all niches and industries face a huge variety of challenges. If they don’t meet them, it could put an end to their business dreams.
Whichever your field and whatever business it is you run, there are some big errors that can hold you back. The following are five of the most common mistakes made by small business owners. They’re problems that if left unchecked can prevent a firm from progressing to the next level.
Failing to Share the Burden
You have to be a particular sort of person to start your own business. A willingness to work hard and to take on responsibility is a must. Too often, though, owners can take this too far. They get into the mindset that every task involved with running the business has to fall to them. That is a recipe for disaster.
Business owners must learn how to delegate. Identify the aspects of running your firm that someone with greater specific expertise might be able to do better than you can. You might, for instance, hand off doing the company accounts to an actual accountant.
Even if you feel you have the expertise to cope with everything yourself, you don’t have the time. Effective delegation lets you give the most important decisions your full attention.
Surrounding Yourself With the Wrong People
This mistake is closely linked with our first. One of the main reasons owners feel they can’t delegate is because they don’t trust anyone else to do as good a job as they can. This can sometimes be a symptom of an overinflated ego. In many cases, though, it’s a sign that the team you’ve surrounded yourself with isn’t good enough.
You might need to consider introducing some fresh blood to your board or executive team. Part-time executive directors provide a great option for any company. Hiring such an individual helps you to fill the knowledge and skills gaps holding your firm back. The part-time nature of these roles, too, means you can afford to hire a higher calibre of individual.
Not Recognising How Much You Can Learn From Your Rivals
Most business owners are aware of the main competitors in their field. Many focus on and dedicate themselves to outshining those rivals. Almost inexplicably, though, lots of those same owners fail to recognise that there’s plenty to be learnt from their competitors. Good competitor research can be a godsend for any company looking to grow and develop.
Learning from your own mistakes is key in business. Learning from the mistakes of others can be just as valuable, and a lot less painful. By following the progress of your rivals, you can understand their missteps. That makes it easier to be sure that you don’t replicate them. As importantly, you can see the areas in which they outperform you, and look to close the gap.
Never Seeking an Outside Perspective
We all know the old saying about not being able to see the wood for the trees. That adage readily applies to many small businesses. Owners and decision-makers are often too preoccupied with the day-to-day to see the bigger picture. Their judgement, too, is often clouded by their close relationship with a firm and its staff.
Seeking an outside perspective can be enlightening for any business. Bringing in an advisor from outside can help a company to find new routes forward. A part-time CEO, for instance, may be able to discern a whole new strategic direction for a firm to take. A business mentor, meanwhile, could help a business owner to make tough decisions. The kind of decisions it sometimes takes to propel a business to the next level.
Letting Indecision Reign
Even if you avoid all the above mistakes, it’s still not easy to be sure of the right direction for your firm. Major business decisions are tough. You can never have absolute certainty that the choices you make will pan out as you want. What you can’t do, though, is to let your uncertainty stop you from actually making decisions in the first place.
Just because a course of action may not prove to be perfect, doesn’t mean it isn’t the right one to take. Have the courage of your convictions and be decisive when moving your firm forward. That way, competitors who do take the leap won’t leave you behind. If things go wrong, you can always take action to fix any mistakes. You can’t get back the time you spent dithering and putting off those hard choices.