10 Things New Business Owners Almost Always Forget
The excitement inherent in starting a business can be difficult to deal with. You’re buzzing with ideas about where to take your business next, what growth opportunities to pursue, and what new products to chase, and you simply can’t stop your mind from moving at a hundred miles an hour.
Of course, that’s totally understandable; when you’re a new entrepreneur, it can genuinely feel like being in a brand new relationship, and you’re eager to see where your new venture will go. Unfortunately, that also means you can sometimes overlook important details or forget things that might feel obvious in hindsight. Here are 10 things new business owners almost always forget.
1. Dot the Is and cross the Ts
While this little piece of advice might sound frustratingly vague, it’s a good thing to keep in your mind going forward. Have you made sure every eventuality is covered? Are you across every little thing that’s happening under the hood of your business? Let’s say you’ve applied for some personal loans to cover your business’ expenses (it’s a viable option!). Are you paying them off in a timely manner? Have you allocated enough funds each month to cover that and your other expenses as well?
2. You don’t have to move at lightning speed
It can sometimes feel like the pressure is on to grow exponentially and constantly. Of course, chasing growth is good if you’re a business owner, but it’s okay if you’re not showing constant signs of explosive, rapid growth. In fact, sometimes, that can be a good thing; it shows that your business isn’t a flash in the pan and that your product or service isn’t just a momentary fad that people will grow tired of in time. Don’t panic if you’re not moving as fast as everyone says you should.
3. Make sure to enjoy yourself
Are you feeling run down by owning a business? Does it sometimes feel like there are too many things to do in the day? If so, then you might have fallen victim to a common malady among entrepreneurs. It’s too easy to forget why you fell in love with starting a business in the first place, so make sure to stop and smell the flowers every now and then. Don’t get so caught up in your high-speed life that you end up just as miserable as you were before you set out on this exciting new adventure.
4. Responsive design is key
Here’s a hyper-specific tip for you. Do you know what responsive design is? Despite the fact that mobile devices have been around for a very long time now (and are, indeed, pretty much neck-and-neck with desktop devices when it comes to accessing websites), many entrepreneurs still don’t design their business’ websites with mobile in mind. Any web designer worth their salt will know how to implement this important element, so make sure you’re not missing out.
5. Your business plan can change
We’ve spoken to so many business owners who think their business plan is a document that is inexorably set in stone, but that’s simply not the case. Your business plan is subject to change; after all, if the world of business moves fast, why shouldn’t you try to keep up? If there’s something in your plan that isn’t working or feels outdated, then change it. You’ll see results quicker if you do, and you’ll also come across as dynamic and switched-on to prospective clients or employees.
6. “Everyone” is not a valid target audience
Can you think of a single company that is capable of targeting every single human being in the world? Even huge companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Disney have their detractors, and if they can’t get “everyone” as a target demographic, then neither can you. Focusing on your target audience is a great way to build loyalty, boost sales, and move towards growth, so determine your audience and cater to their needs before trying to expand.
7. Your rivals are not your enemies…
The hostile, adversarial relationship entrepreneurs often have with their rivals can lead to some serious problems later down the line. If you ever fall on hard times and need the support of your compatriots, it doesn’t pay to make enemies out of them. You should build friendly rivalries with other companies rather than bitter ones; interact with them on social media, talk to them, and create healthy competition between your respective businesses.
8. …and they’re useful for determining strategies
One of the common downfalls entrepreneurs often fall prey to is pride. Being too proud to admit that your rivals are doing something you should be doing, or that there’s a shortfall in your business plan that’s being filled by others, can cause you to lose sight of your overall goal. Don’t be afraid to incorporate strategies your rivals are using in order to boost business; after all, if it’s working, then why shouldn’t you try it as well?
9. Customer loyalty is crucial
When you’ve been dealing with customers for a long time, you’ll probably start thinking of them in abstract terms. Your customer base will become numbers and key statistics rather than living, breathing humans. That’s natural, but you can’t allow yourself to fall prey to it, because that way lies trouble. Keep your customer base happy and they’ll reward you with increased loyalty. Implement good customer service and always listen to reasonable criticism when you receive it.
10. The end of your business is not the end of the world
Even the most successful entrepreneurs in the world have dealt with failure. While many of them would prefer not to talk about it, the fact is that knowing why a business has failed and building on that failure can lead to some of the most spectacular success you’ll ever experience. If your business does come to an end, don’t wring your hands in despair; pick yourself up, learn your lessons, and move on.