As an established entrepreneur will tell you, learning on the job is key to being successful at running a business. New entrepreneurs are bound to make mistakes, given the sheer amount of responsibility on their shoulders. However, instead of letting mistakes hold you back, the correct approach is to use them as a learning experience to make better decisions in the future. In this article, we explore a handful of common mistakes most new small business owners make and some helpful tips for minimizing and overcoming them.
Not Creating a Good Business Plan
Committing to decisions is one of the hardest challenges of being a small business owner. Having a business plan in hand makes this process significantly easy, as it provides an overview of all important aspects of the business, such as:
Mission and vision - in other words, the core values of your business and what you want it to become in the coming years.
Your offerings - whether you sell products or services, your business plan should include in-depth explanations regarding its price, features, target market, manufacturing, and distribution channels.
Financial requirements and the ideal source(s) to meet money needs, which may include business loans, VC funding, or bootstrapping.
Creating a great business plan will no doubt take considerable time and effort, as you’ll need to thoroughly research your industry, competitors, and target market. But once it is complete, it’ll serve as the founding document for the business, based on which all important decisions can be taken.
Not Investing in Digital Marketing
Investing in digital marketing will not be one of the top priorities for most new small business owners. This is understandable, given the amount of investment needed in other areas of the business, like registration, manufacturing, licensing, legal needs, and more. However, in 2023, businesses need to invest in digital marketing to be successful.
Here are some key digital marketing statistics all small business owners should know, published by Cake:
Social media platforms are experiencing a 6.5% CAGR. Currently, there are 4.89 billion social media users globally. Even targeting 1% of them provides you with a sample of forty-eight million nine hundred thousand (48,900,000) customers!
Around 55% of customers purchase a product after learning about it through social media. This can include paid advertisements, influencer marketing, organic content, etc.
Young adults (18-24 years) are turning to visual first platforms, including Instagram and TikTok, compared to platforms like Facebook.
Not Using Document Management Software
From accounting to legal to marketing, all business projects will involve managing paperwork. Moreover, come tax season, small businesses are expected to file a host of documents required by local and federal authorities. It is common for new small business owners to oversee the need to invest in document management software until the day that their office is filled with physical paperwork.
Beyond tax filings, having document management software improves collaboration, as it allows anyone in the organization to instantly share or access documents. Additionally, it helps small businesses save thousands in spending on paper, ink, and storage of documents. Digitize all of your business’s most important files into PDFs so they’re compatible with your document management software. Adobe offers a scanner you can use to take photos of docs and upload them as PDFs. Plus, there are a variety of PDF editing tools from Adobe Acrobat you can use to easily work on these files whether you need to edit the text, images, format, layout, or other details.
Nothing is ever certain when running a business, and you’re bound to make mistakes at some point as an entrepreneur. But by taking strategic actions like investing well in digital marketing and using a document management system that relies on PDFs, you'll be able to implement strong internal processes and an external brand image to sustain your business for the foreseeable future.