It’s not uncommon for new business owners to make mistakes on the path to success. Learn from those who’ve come before you and you can avoid problems that have destroyed other startups. From going too fast to ignoring data security, there are many ways you could be harming your business without even realising it. Awareness of problems allows you one thing: to take action!
There is a certain energy about starting a business — an electric sort of excitement that demands to be unleashed upon the world. You become determined to hit the ground running and jump in on success as soon as possible. While it’s an attractive idea to startup as soon as you can, this kind of attitude presents problems. The complicated nature of business management means you need to lay a lot of groundwork to ensure early stability — from access to financial capital and other kinds of resources to the development networks, customer relationships and business plans. Being underprepared leaves you scrambling to manage an active business while building the groundwork that you could have secured before launch. In short, saddle your horse properly before letting it out of the gate.
Going too fast — diving in headfirst — is a surefire way to encourage problems further down the line. However, being too cautious has its own set of problems. If you fail to leap at some point, but instead continue to plan and test and work to hone your product before launch, you may find you miss opportunities and even collapse before you get going. Money runs out; competitor businesses emerge, products that were once exciting become obsolete. Delay your business establishment for too long and you may find you’re too heavy to get off the ground.
In the digital age, having a website is very important. Customers look for websites when they’re after everything from product purchases to contact information. Without a website, your business can appear undeveloped and unprofessional. How common is this business mistake? Very. As recently as 2019, 40% of small businesses and startups did not have a website.
So, you aren't one of those many businesses that fail to jump on the digital bandwagon. You’ve built yourself a website. But hold on, you aren't making sales or getting any visitors? What’s the problem? The problem is, just because you have a website, doesn’t make it a good website. Bad websites are just as bad as, or worse than, non-existent websites. Poor user experience can harm your ability to acquire customers — bad websites are off-putting and suggest a certain level of quality control your customers may not appreciate. A big business mistake startups make is not investing in a good quality website; one that includes an attractive design, important functionality, and all the information customers need.
Data security and customer information privacy isn’t just a problem for big businesses. Startups are also at risk from breaches and resulting prosecution. Any new business needs to be thinking carefully about how they are going to protect data. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of thinking, “it won’t happen to me”. 43% of all cyberattacks target small business, and what’s worse, 60% of those affected will close within six months. Closures are often due to poor preparation for an attack, and the costs and damage to reputation associated with the aftermath. Ignoring data security is one common business mistake you don’t want to make. Prepare your business for problems with it.
Certain industries uphold certain customer expectations. For example, if you’re a healthcare service, customers will expect you to offer appointment reminders, so they don’t miss dates. If you’re a restaurant or hotel, customers will expect some sort of digital booking system. If you’re a retailer, they’ll want to be able to make purchases online. If you’re in the creative sector, they’ll probably be looking to see examples of products on social media. If you don’t meet the expectations of your business, target customers will look for others who provide what they are looking for. One of the most common pitfalls you’ll see is startups providing something new or exciting, without backing it up with the necessary standards customers expect.
In the 21st-century, you cannot start a business using outdated practice. There are just too many modern solutions available. Take, for example, fax. Many sectors still rely on fax, so if you enter into an industry that requires fax to be sent — such as law — you’ll need to incorporate technology enabling fax. Fax machines are outdated technology, however. No brand new business should be buying a fax machine. But where does that leave you? You need fax but buying a fax machine is a ridiculous notion. The answer is online fax. Online fax from services like us, here at eFax, allows you to adopt new technology to complete important tasks. Other examples of making use of up-to-date practices include using accounting software to manage your money and chatbots to handle customer queries.
It seems daft in a commercial enterprise to not focus on financial gain. We aren't suggesting you shouldn’t value profitability —without profit, you cannot continue. But what we are suggesting is you don’t make the business of money your primary source of gratification when it comes to your business. Exponential profit growth as a goal is thrilling, but what if it doesn’t work out? Many businesses collapse simply because the business owner loses interest and moves to another project in the hope of achieving something more fulfilling. The biggest and most lucrative enterprises aren't often overnight successes. Major brands take years to create. Make sure your startup offers you something more than just financial incentive. This way, you’ll find you are more invested and committed to the project, allowing you to play the long game and see the results build year-on-year.
Money management is at the core of all successful businesses. The health of your finances often makes the difference between growth and collapse. Money needs to be well taken care of, cash flow recorded and monitored, and income and investments spent in the right way — you need to avoid overspending while also not underspending. Unless you hold a qualification in finance, you probably aren't an expert in this activity. Too many business owners fall at the hurdle of finance management. But it’s a very easy obstacle to navigate. Avoid one of the biggest mistakes by building a working relationship with a financial advisor, such as an accountant.
It’s a heartbreaking business mistake, but it’s unfortunately common. You’ve thought of an idea — a product or service — that you think is amazing. It’s life-changing and people are going to love it. But when you start getting feedback, you discover your testers aren't as keen as you. So what do you do? Too many business owners continue with their dream, fighting against the negativity to try and prove people wrong. Of course, there is a chance this will pay off — but there is a much bigger chance the feedback aligns with the public you are trying to sell to. Don’t let your own vision be your undoing — work with your ideal customer to build something they want, not just what you want to provide.
We aren't talking market research here — we’re talking marketing research. Every business idea has its unique methods of reaching consumers. Some businesses are built on local tools like physical ads and sponsors, while other brands rely entirely on digital sales and acquisition. Your most successful marketing tool revolves around what you offer — not what you already know or understand. Do your research into the kind of marketing you should be running, and discover what is going to be the best fit for your industry. Don’t fall for the common business mistake of going with marketing channels familiar to you — they may be woefully ineffective for your business model and bring poor ROI on your marketing budget.
These are just a few common business mistakes you can make. You won’t be able to avoid them all, but manage as many as you can, and you’ll be on track for success. eFax online fax technology supports your goals and helps you avoid mistakes — making a difference to everything from using outdated tech and data security to cutting down on paper waste. Find out how to send online fax today!