6 Common Mistakes Small Business Owners Make (And How to Avoid Making Them)

There are tons of books written about mistakes that entrepreneurs can make in business. As a small business owner, it’s impossible to find the time to read them all, so we have rounded up six of the most common mistakes made by ‘treps and how to fix them to get ahead of the competition.

1. Having no clear direction or marketing strategy

Failure to plan is planning to fail. If you have no clear direction of where you’d like your business to be in say, two years, you’ve got a problem.

Since the business landscape is continually changing, you must establish precise objectives. This will grant you the ability to steer your business down a successful path. Marketing is interconnected with branding. Therefore, if you’re not doing marketing the right way, you won’t manage to maximize your visibility in the marketplace.

That doesn’t mean that the strategy you set is set in stone; you can always pivot and alter your direction. However, failing to know precisely what you are building, who you are building for, and how you will reach this audience is a recipe for disaster.

2. Speaking to the wrong (or every) audience

For many startups, you have an owner who has the right amount of experience to solve problems and has a great product, but still ends up failing. Why is that? It’s simple: they are not addressing the right audience.

Some business owners make the mistake of thinking that the larger the audience, the more successful their companies will be. Instead, they should focus on the exact audience they know cannot live without your offering, whether it’s a product or service. Once your business dominates a certain sector of the market, it can begin expanding to other audiences.

3. Underestimating your competition

You’ll learn this lesson the hard way if you have this mindset: competition is fiercer than you think. If you don’t focus on staying ahead of the curve, your business will easily get lost in the crowd.

Keep an eye on the ever-changing trends in the market and continually analyze your competition. The business realm is a competitive one and you should treat it as such.

The key is to have a balance. Don’t focus too much on competition to avoid copying their products, but at the same time, never underestimate them. Your product might have more features or better technology, but all they need to get an edge would be something as simple as a better user experience.

4. Not having the right partnerships

No matter how long you’ve worked in your field, there will always be someone with more expertise in some areas. That’s why you should consider creating partnerships with specialized experts that can get your company one step further.

You shouldn’t be ashamed that you don’t know how to do everything in business. Focus on reaching out to get the right partners to work with you. There will be no one else who can compete with you, given the right partnerships.

5. Hoping to get rich quick

It’s not uncommon for rookie entrepreneurs to get in business because they assume they’ll have overnight success with their services or products.

This is far from the truth.

It takes a lot of hard work and determination to be successful. Avoid setting goals you’re not sure you can reach and focus on more attainable ones instead. The recipe to accomplishing great things is continually working towards your goals, and continuing to persevere no matter what obstacles come your way.

6. Having zero work-life balance

You always hear it: “Give 100% in whatever it is you’re doing.” However, giving 100% can destroy your life. Making your business a top priority and neglecting everything else in your life isn’t a healthy approach. Focus on having a balanced approach between your professional and personal life in order to lead a rewarding existence.

Today, business is developing at a rapid-fire pace. What’s applicable this month can be rendered obsolete the next. Stay the course and steer your own ship. Avoid making these six mistakes and rest assured your company will be on the right track.

David Kosmayer is CEO and Founder of Bookmark.com, an AI website builder disrupting the web design industry. David created his first company at 22 just coming out of college. Marketing Extensions Inc., an online affiliate and marketing agency, was born from the basement of his parent’s home. This company grew under his leadership into a 55-person team, topping $60M in revenue in less than a decade. David is highly focused, dedicated and passionate about building successful companies.