Overcoming Common Business Mistakes

Mistakes are made everyday in the business world, and if you are an entrepreneur or small businesses owner, you may have encountered your fair share of them. If you are fortunate to have made one of these mistakes and have your business survive, chances are it won’t make it past another.

Whether you’ve made the following mistakes in business or not, they can tank your company if you aren’t aware they are happening and don’t do something to quickly overcome them.

Not Setting Business Goals

Business goals not only provide focal points for your company to continue to move forward, but they also create cohesiveness throughout the whole chain of command. If everyone has a specific shared task they are trying to achieve, confusion and disorganization will decrease — leading to a more productive working environment. Consistently working, planning, and strategizing to better your company is key to keeping your business and employees from stalling.

Business goals are commonly thought of as being financially motivated, but other goals can serve additional purposes for your business. Whatever your aim, it’s best to keep your goals measurable. Envision something that is attainable rather than just a broad statement. For example, if your ambition is to better train and retain employees, consider making your goal to implement a comprehensive onboarding process for the next quarter.

Hiring Out of Necessity, Not for Retention

The hiring, compensation, and termination of an employee who is not going to be under your employ for long can be an extremely expensive process. Training, hourly pay/salary, and the possibility of a severance package will not only cost your business, but time as well. All that time and money could have been invested in the right employee. Hiring an employee is important, but hiring and retaining an employee who will work for years is invaluable.

Retention issues often stem from an employee’s relationship to their boss, office culture, and boredom due to the underutilization of their skills in relation to business goals. These all play into each other; when employees have a good relationship with their boss, their boss is more likely to recognize where they excel. Hopefully, the boss has a strong grasp of company goals and can assign tasks according to the strengths of his employees. Those employees will, in turn, do a good job and have a heightened sense of job satisfaction, which will help create a productive and amicable office culture.

Misunderstanding Products & Services

Nothing says “lack of confidence” like underpricing your goods and services. Whether you have concerns about failing, or you just don’t know how good your product is, you’ll soon find out as your business goes under while your competition takes on profits. If you are concerned that your company won’t make a profit unless you lower your prices, or simply don’t know how to correctly price your services, extensive market research could be in order.

With any business planning comes the compilation and analysis of the market you’re in. This includes competitor research, audience spending tendencies and preferences, and product success research in your industry. In the same way you wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car and go on the highway if you didn’t know how to drive, know your market, competitors, and target audience before you launch a new product.

Uninformed Marketing Strategies

Marketing without a plan is a waste of time. Unless you have determined an audience in which to market to; you’d be basically throwing money away if you were not tailoring your marketing campaign to specific target audiences and just aimlessly promoting your business. If you’ve taken the advice above seriously, then you have indentified a target audience based upon market research. With that research you can make smart, informed decisions about a marketing campaign designed to get your product and company in front of your target audience’s eyes.

People obtain their information through different methods, though one method that most people have in common is social media. It is imperative that your marketing campaign involves social media marketing on multiple platforms. Your previous market research will help you determine which social media platform will best reach your target audience, as most platforms reach audiences of different ages, communities, and concerns. A consistent social media presence will help in building a solid, engaged, and informed customer base.

Financial Planning Oversights

No one likes losing out on money. Whether it’s your customers, employees, or you and your business, money is what keeps you all afloat. There are many financial oversights that can be the reason your business fails. Financial operations are the heartbeat of your business, and to have your business die over a simple error would be tragic.

You — or, better yet, a key employee —  should have a thorough understanding of finances. Even then, an accounting software is going to be needed to track such transactions as cash management, invoices, payroll, and taxes if your company is going to keep its head above water and survive. Finances are too important not to pay careful attention.

All of the above can be a challenge to keep up with, but maintaining your business is hard work. It may be easy to make one of these mistakes, but noticing the mistake, being aware of it, and overcoming it will lead you back on track — slimming your chances for the worst outcome for your small business.


Devin Morrissey

Devin has been a dishwasher, a business owner, and everything in between. It took him a while to settle on a dream, so he tried out everyone else's to varying degrees of success. You can find him in Daly City or on Twitter, whichever is closer.