I’ve worked with a lot of business owners. In that time I’ve seen a lot of the same mistakes being made again and again. This is a list of the most common…
- Same-as business plan. Business owners look at other successful businesses and clone their business model, hoping for the same riches that others have achieved. This rarely works. First to market is a competitive advantage. Those who come after need to find their own unique take to make themselves different.
- Trading coherence for SEO. Search engine optimization should ultimately be about generating web traffic. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs try to cut corners by hiring low-cost writers who can achieve 5% keyword density (which is often nearly unreadable by humans). They might get search engine optimization but they don’t get human buyer optimization.
- Competing on price. When a business owner surveys the competitive landscape and decides that they can beat their competition simply by charging less, they are setting themselves up for failure. Low-paying clients rarely come with lower expectations. These entrepreneurs have to work hard to achieve realistic levels of success.
- Failing to find the planning sweet-spot. Entrepreneurs need to plan. Those who don’t are destined to fail. But there is such a thing as too much planning and entrepreneurs need to avoid that, too. Somewhere in the middle is exactly where you want to be. If you’re the type to plan, it’s probably less than you want; if you hate planning, it will still be some extra work.
- Selling without value. I’ve seen countless business owners who post something online then sit back and wait for the checks to roll in (and scratch their heads in wonder when the money doesn’t flood their bank account). Too often, the reason is a lack of value. This is either a lack of expressed value (the product or service is valuable but not presented as such) or it is a real lack of value (the product or service is simply not worth buying). Business owners need to overwhelm their prospects with value and they will never have trouble selling.
- Forgetting to focus on cashflow. Cashflow is a huge and under-appreciated aspect of running a business. There are lots of entrepreneurs who work towards big homerun-sized deals but those deals will rarely sustain the business. Instead, smaller consistent wins will ensure longevity.
- Taking profits. When business owners start a company, they dream of the profits… but 100% of the profits should never be extracted from the company. Instead, some of the money needs to be put back into the business — perhaps through R&D or investing in better systems or staff.