Get it Right the First Time – Avoid These Common Mistakes for New Businesses

Setting up your small business is an exciting time. You’ve got a great idea, you have a fantastic service to offer or product to sell and you truly believe in it. But that’s just the first step into the world of business. With some careful thought and planning, you can avoid the mistakes that other small businesses make and grow your new venture faster…

Don’t rush in

The key to a successful business launch is to be sure you’re fully ready before you go live. If you’re not fully prepared, you could make costly mistakes that could harm your reputation before you’ve even begun. It may be wise to get legal advice to ensure you’re doing everything you ought to or you could come unstuck later down the line if your records are not in order for an audit or you don’t have sufficient insurance in place. You need to be realistic and think through any eventuality. What size and type of projects can you really take on? How large an order can you actually prepare and dispatch? It’s better to be clear with regards to what you can accomplish and turn down work or orders that are unachievable than promise the earth and fail to deliver. 

Don’t under price yourself 

Getting the price point right for your products or services is also another aspect of business that many get wrong in the beginning and it requires some thought. Of course you’ll factor in materials, but then you also need to take into account your time, any postage costs and those expenses you’ll have on top such as accountant fees. Don’t try to be the cheapest. Most people simply don’t opt for the very cheapest option. When something seems too cheap, we begin to doubt the quality. 

Get your documents sorted 

Keeping on top of your paperwork is essential from day one. When you first begin, you’ll probably start out small and it can be tempting to neglect your paperwork, relying on memory or notes on scraps of paper but this can soon get confusing and could result in problems when it’s time to sort out your accounts, so be sure to have a good, secure document management system in place from the start, one that can grow as your business grows. 

Get an online presence quickly 

These days the first port of call for most people is the Internet. The sooner you have a website and social media accounts for your business the better. It will enable people to find you, and also allow people to ask questions, or leave you feedback.

Don’t neglect social media 

It’s all well and good setting up your Facebook and Twitter accounts, but don’t forget to check them every day and keep them updated. If you don’t reply promptly to messages, users may doubt your communication if they were to utilise your services or if they ordered something from you and there was an issue. 

React to feedback – negative and positive 

Following on from this, it’s also vital that you deal with your feedback in the right way. If someone posts a negative comment on social media for example, it can feel very demoralising, especially when your business is first starting out. What you should never do though, is delete any negative comments. This will just make anyone who saw the original post suspicious of you. Instead, deal with it calmly and politely, try to put the issue right. Showing the public that you will try your best to sort out a problem is really a very positive situation so you really can make the most of a negative comment and turn it around. 

Manage your accounts from day one 

Money and business go hand in hand, so you need to keep on top of your finances. Keeping good records is vital and it’s also a legal requirement of any business. Be sure to have good accounting software and keep your records backed up. For those moving from employment to self-employment, you really need to understand what taxes you will pay and prepare for it or you could end up with a huge bill and no funds to pay it. There are plenty of resources online to help you. Having a separate account to regularly add your tax money into can be a good idea. 

Don’t worry too much 

Fear of failure can often put us off making the leap to self-employment, but if you have a passion for what you are offering, that will show through. With careful planning, your business can be a big success so have faith in yourself. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.