As we’ve discussed, starting a new business is no easy task. A lot of hard work (and money) goes into it. While proper planning can really help set anyone with a solid plan up for success, too many mistakes can tip the scales and set them back. The following are several common mistakes that many small-business owners make. We’re sharing them so you can take note and avoid making them yourselves and having to learn the hard way.

You aren’t hiring experts.
Having a great idea is one thing. Executing that idea is an entirely different matter. You may excel in the field you’re pursuing, but you can’t be expected to be the best in everything. Don’t shy away from hiring experts that can help take the lead on things like accounting, maintenance, and recordkeeping. Not only does it help ensure that your essential functions are being handled properly, but it also frees up more time for you to focus on more important things.

You’re ignoring your customers.
Winning a new customer is a much more time-consuming and costly process than generating revenue from existing ones. So, once you’ve acquired customers, don’t leave them hanging in limbo. Even if they aren’t reaching out to you for assistance, use your existing relationship with them to offer upgrades, additional services, or new products. Or, just reach out to check on them. A little outreach goes a long way.

You’re not diversifying enough.
The phrase, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” rings especially true in business. You may have the good fortune of finding a major customer that boosts your revenue significantly. As important as that one customer then becomes to your bottom line, losing them could be detrimental to your company. Offset that potential loss by constantly seeking out more business; don’t become too dependent on just the one.

You’re focusing too much on the competition.
Yes, you need to know the competitive market out there. It’s important to know what others are doing and how they’re marketing themselves. But don’t lose yourself while trying to keep up with the Joneses. Your primary focus should always be on improving your product and ensuring that it’s the absolute best you can make it.

You’re burning yourself out.
Running a business is hard work. You’re going to put in a lot of hours. That just comes with the territory. But don’t forget to take time to breathe. It’s essential that you take some time for yourself to unplug and recharge. Go away for a long weekend. Book a well-deserved vacation. Of course, you’re never going to completely disconnect from your business but, if you followed the first step, you should feel comfortable enough knowing your company is in capable hands while you’re away.

You don’t keep learning.
When you launch your business, you might know everything there is to know in your chosen field. But no matter the industry, things are always changing. It’s imperative that you continue to follow trends and new technologies so you can make appropriate changes and don’t quickly find yourself running a relic of a company. Not only that, but continue to learn outside your field of expertise. It helps mold you into a more well-rounded leader … someone that can be looked up to both inside and outside the office.

You lose sight of your goals.
What was the driving force that pushed you to open your business? Was it to help people? To become a leading expert and resource for others? To make money? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Just make sure you don’t lose focus and that you keep pushing toward your goal. After all, hitting your goal, no matter what it may be, is the ultimate measure of success.

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