There are surely more than five fatal mistakes in business, but not all of them can be addressed effectively in a single blog post. These five mistakes can.
If you hunker down and focus, you can begin to take corrective action on these five mistakes in as little as an hour. Do you see anything you need to address here? If so, set a timer, roll up your sleeves and get busy taking small steps to improve your business in a big way.
5 Common Business Mistakes (and how to fix them)
- Refusing to strategically use social media.
There was a time when not using social media was fatal to business. These days, pretty much everyone uses some form of social media, so the fatal mistake has morphed from not using social media at all, to using social media without a strategy.
There is way too much social media advice in the world for any of us to fully comprehend all of it. What we can do, however, is be fully present at two or three social media outlets, and create a strategy around them.
To do this, set up social media accounts to represent your brand at these social media outlets at a minimum: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, Google+, Instagram, Blab, and Periscope. Make it a priority to publish at least one weekly blog post and one monthly or bi-monthly email newsletter, and regularly use the three social media outlets that your customers use the most. The details will vary, but for most Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs, it will be Instagram and Facebook, and one of the others.
- Waiting for sales to come to you.
Your customers have tons of options today. While your products and services may be unique in some ways, they are probably not unique in all ways. As a result, chances are good that people can buy what you offer from someone else. That being the case, the more proactive you are, the more sales you will enjoy.
Don't just gun for one-off sales. Gun for sales that lead to repeat sales. Use a newsletter to woo your customers. Use a blog to woo the search engines.
A weekly blog post coupled with a bi-monthly email newsletter form a solid marketing platform that drives sales. Add strategic use of social media on top of that and you have the makings of a solid funnel.
- Spending too much time in Facebook groups.
I believe that online distractions are a leading cause of business failure today. Facebook is a big distraction, and it's getting bigger. Because so many of us benefit from using Facebook for business and personal reasons, it is easy to get sucked in to it. I have come across people who are in as many as 30 or 40 Facebook groups. I am personally added to groups regularly without my permission. (I quickly remove myself.)
Take control of this situation before it gets out of hand and you are getting notifications from everywhere about everything. Choose Facebook Groups based on their true usefulness to you, and remember the more open the group, the more chatting you have to wade through to get to the points that will be helpful to you. Narrow it down to what matters most to you. Guard your personal head space.
- Failing to display contact information at your website.
The time has come. I understand that you may not want the world to know your home address. I even understand that, depending on where your physical office is located, you may not want the world to know your office address.
If you want people to trust you, however, you must remove all barriers between your brand and the trust that is so important to your success in business. Rent a post office box and use the street address on your website. Set up a free Google Voice number to ring at whatever number you want. Post the Google number on your website, and the public will not know your personal number. These two simple things add credibility and legitimacy to your business with little effort and expense, yet the payoff is big. Make it easy for the public to trust and get in touch with you quickly.
- Not getting help around the home.
This can affect all entrepreneurs, but it affects women in particular. As a woman entrepreneur, I have to mention it here.
According to this (PDF) September 2015 survey by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co., in two-career households, a disproportionate number of home management tasks fall to women. In my personal experience, this seems to happen kind of by default. But you can change it. If you are a business owner, even small household errands and tasks can have an adverse impact on your business by sapping mental, physical, and emotional energy. Sort out the tasks that can be performed by others and delegate them. Be proactive about making sure that you have the space in your life to lead your business effectively.
Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Indie Business Network