1. Spending too little. Naturally as a start-up you would expect to keep your costs to a minimum, yet being too frugal can actually prevent overall efficiency. Ensure the use is functional and essential; products are only worth investing in if they will directly benefit the productivity and efficiency of the business.
2. Letting optimism overrule reality. Don’t allow your perceptions to be greater than what is reality. Having a positive outlook is important and will undoubtedly help you to succeed, but allowing positivity to cloud your judgment can have dangerous consequences. Be realistic with your plans, set achievable goals you know can be fulfilled in order to avoid disappointment.
3. Over-complicate processes. Streamline the running of your business by reviewing your processes periodically and continually look for ways to reduce costs, make things faster and more time efficient. Automating tasks such as timesheets and log books can save hours of time and ultimately money. Finding the right CRM system or if you are a business that runs a mobile workforce, using a vehicle tracking system can save business owners lots of time and in turn increase productivity and profits.
4. Ignore advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there’s always more to learn, so what better place to start than learning from other people who have been in your position. Taking advice from others might just stop you from making a bad decision or give you inspiration as to a better more efficient way of practise. But don’t expect miracles, no matter how hard you try or what your level of experience may be, mistakes are still made, learning from these will only help you to develop.
5. Make illogical decisions. Many people allow their emotional attachment to their business overrule what should be a logical decision. Think with your head and not your heart; focus on the figures and the detail, as only calculated and rational decision making will result in success.
6. Underestimate the importance of relationships. Never ignore the importance of a strong client relationship; understanding what it is your clients want will ensure you meet their needs, which is essential to the success of your product. Trust is the key to any successful and long term relationship, if the client believes in the product and who is indeed selling it, they are more likely to buy.
7. Work work work! Without hard work you won’t see results, yet a work life balance is essential to the success of any business, if you run yourself in to the ground, your business will only go with you. Don’t expect miracles. Working towards achievable goals will help create a structure to your role, giving you a clear direction and keeping you on track.
8. Negative cash flow. Keeping a strict note of all your ingoing’s and outgoing’s is essential to know where you are, over two thirds of business start-ups fail within the first year, the primary cause being poor/negative cash flow management. If you’re spending more money than you’re receiving, you could be in trouble.
9. Poor planning. As the sayings goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. This is true of business, knowing your stuff is essential, researching your product, target market and competitors is vital to your understanding and ultimate planning with reference to your business plan.
10. Putting your needs before your customers. If you don’t have what it is the client requires, they won’t buy, meaning you don’t have a business at all. You may feel you know what it is your customers want, but failing to see to what your market research tells you, may leave you with a product that no one wishes to buy.
About the Author: Amy Russell is a Marketing Executive at Leeds-based vehicle tracking firm RAM Tracking. RAM Tracking has recently been shortlisted as a finalist for The Croner Employer of the Year Award at the National Business Awards 2012 in the UK.