Every successful business has made some mistakes in the past. That’s part of the recipe for success. You have to know what works and what doesn’t. But, if you’re doing too many of the things that “don’t work,” won’t have a business to operate. So, here are 5 things you can avoid to keep yourself on the path of steady growth.
Not Establishing a Realistic Forecast For Growth
If you don’t have any kind of forecast for growth, you’re not going to grow. Now, that might sound a little obvious, but a lot of businesses aren’t making written financial plans these days. They get financing, they have an idea, and they hit the ground running but they don’t understand where they’re going.
A forecast tells you where you’re going – not just next year, but in 10, 20, and 30 years. These types of forecasts should include things like your long-term business value proposition, what you think you can make in terms of revenue with your products and services, and how the future marketplace might look.
Now, will you be able to accurately predict every aspect of your business for 30 years? Probably not. You’ll probably get the one year forecast wrong. But, if you make a plan, at least you have something to shoot for.
Not Planning For Staff
As your business grows, you’ll need staff. Do you have a hiring plan for that? If not, get one. HR consultants are worth their weight in gold. So are employment and staffing agencies. Write down some guidelines for what you want from an employee, including education, experience, attitude, past successes, and failures. Make decisions about what you’ll accept, and what you won’t, in an employee.
Not Having Enough Financing
Small businesses aren’t started in a vacuum. Most people who start a business have a past. And, those pasts can include less-than-ideal credit histories. That’s why these small business loans after bankruptcy exist – to help you raise money for staff, overhead, equipment, and supplies.
If you don’t have enough money for basic business operations, you’re not going to get off the ground, regardless of how great your idea is.
Not Having a Good Marketing Plan
Marketing is the elephant in the room. Everyone knows that leads come from somewhere, but not every business spends a lot of time doing the right type of marketing. Should you brand or use direct marketing?
A lot of small companies waste time and money branding. Smart companies use direct marketing and PR to build a “buzz” around their core services and content. You would be wise to do the same. Leave branding to large corporations with money to burn.
Not Tracking Key Metrics
What’s your conversion rate from your PPC campaign? What about your conversions once people hit your sales page(s)? Do you know how visitors flow through your site and where they bounce? If not, then you aren’t tracking the metrics you should be tracking.
David J. Norris is a small business finance consultant. He enjoys sharing his ideas and research online. His articles mainly appear on business blogs.