No one sets out to be the next startup roadkill. Yet most businesses that get up and running have a shorter lifespan than most marriages. This is not a new phenomenon. It has been this way for a very long time. It stands to reason that there are common mistakes that new businesses keep making. If you don’t learn from the cautionary tales of others, your business is destined to become a cautionary tale.
Here are 10 of the most common mistakes your business cannot afford to make:
1. Installing the Wrong Telecommunications System
Unless your business is very large, you shouldn’t be looking at anything other than VoIP solutions. If you are not sure how VoIP can improve your company, consider the following:
- Money savings on equipment, service, and maintenance
- Use smartphones and computers as professional business phones
- Enjoy the call features of a big company without the added expense
Any other communications choice is costing you money and keeping your communications budget from maximizing its potential.
2. Hiring the Wrong Person
Hiring mistakes can cost you your entire company, especially at the beginning. The wrong person with the right attorney can make you wish you had started a lemonade stand instead. One of the more common hiring mistakes is hiring a friend instead of an employee. You never want to get those two things confused.
3. Hiring Instead of Temping
Almost as bad as hiring the wrong person is hiring anyone at all, especially when it is not absolutely necessary. Today’s staffing agencies can provide professional, project-based work for everything from computer programming to nursing to project management. You likely don’t have a need that can’t be handled for less money and risk than what a staffing service can provide.
4. Doing Your Own Taxes
There is a special kind of madness that comes over entrepreneurs. At some point, they decide that they have to save money somewhere. Besides, how hard can it be? You only need to make a single mistake to get a definitive answer to that question. Unless you are an accountant, you need professional help. You’ve got enough on your plate without dealing with that.
5. Renting Unnecessary Space
One of the biggest temptations a new business owner has is the temptation to lease more space than she needs. There is nothing wrong with having big dreams and a clear vision for how to get there. The mistake is confusing your future success with your humble beginnings. Some of the greatest companies in the world started out in a garage. Consider that before signing a lease you can’t yet afford.
6. Overspending on Marketing
You don’t need a Super Bowl ad, or even a full-page ad in your local paper. Marketing is a necessity. Spend strategically, not big.
7. Lacking a Mobile Strategy
If you don’t already have an app, you need a mobile website at the very least. It has to be mobile responsive so that it easily scales to tablets and smartphones. If you don’t have a mobile presence, you don’t exist.
8. Not Taking Security Seriously Enough
Security breaches are not just for big businesses. The reason companies like Target and Sony can survive major breaches is because they have more money than you to deal with the legal repercussions. As a small business, you can’t survive a reputation for shoddy data security.
9 Relying on Outdated Tech
Your employees are not going to do their best work on the worst equipment. When an employee sits down to use an outdated piece of equipment, that says something to them about the company they work for. It’s not good. Besides unnecessary downtime and IT costs, outdated equipment is the largest vector for security breaches.
10. Giving Up Too Soon
When it comes to a new business, nothing ever goes according to plan. The natural inclination is to cut your losses while you are ahead, but success is built from fortitude.