"Here is the prime condition of success: Concentrate your energy, thought and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged. Having begun on one line, resolve to fight it out on that line, to lead in it, adopt every improvement, have the best machinery, and know the most about it. " Andrew Carnegie 1835-1919.
That quote represents what most new business owner's lack: a high level of eradicating the things that do not work about their business, and the required effort to make constant improvements on the things that do work. You can not succeed in the business you've chosen unless you come to terms with this equation. The following examples are the things most new entrepreneurs fail to do. The solutions to the problems are listed in easy to understand terms with clear steps that needed to be taken by you to avoid these horrible business pitfalls.
1. No optimization of cost-effective ways to do business. When most people start their businesses, orders that come in from customers are very slow. Over time that will change with a successful business model. The biggest mistake most business owners make is they continue to use the same, slow way of processing their orders. If you started out selling books online, and the for the first 6 months you sold 20 books a day, a manual way to process orders through manual credit card processing would be fine. But after the six-month period, your sales increased to 50 books a day. Now you have two choices: Either hire somebody else and pay them money out of your hard-earned profits to help you with the manual order processing, or pay an initial one-time fee to upgrade your order processing into a software program so your business can receive Paypal payments or direct deposits from your customers that go directly into your business checking account. If you do not want to do the processing for your business at all, there are very many choices you can make in the field of fully automated online payment companies that will do the work for you with minimal fees. They usually charge you only by the quantity of orders per day. Whatever you do, do not fall into the trap of failing to automate routine business tasks like communications, marketing, inventory management and accounting. There are plenty of software programs and small online businesses that will gladly help you to optimize these tasks so you can do the more important things that keep your business in the black: Finding new customers for your business and expanding your overall customer base.
2. Your business is too formal for new customers. In this day and age, people all over the world expect a more friendly business environment when they are looking to purchase goods or services. Even in an online business, customers expect to be greeted with that human element, either by a more relaxed email message from the storeowner, or by the personal blog that the owner refreshes on a weekly basis. People want to build relationships with other human beings, not a computer screen! So always put your emotions into what you are selling on display to your potential customers by greeting them with a "Hi Bob!", Not a "Hello future prospective customer …" You get the idea. Even your business cards, business headings, voice mails and outgoing email messages should ALWAYS be loose and have that personal touch that only you can give your customers. By doing this, you will establish a long-term customer every hour of the day.
3. Not knowing your customer base. If you sell to the wrong base of customers, you're not doing anyone any favors, most of all your own business. This is usually the number one cause of the failures you see happening with newer businesses every day. When a customer drops by your marketing-help web business, and is too cheap or broken to pay your lowest fees available, do not waste your time trying to get him as a new customer. A lot of business owners try to grab a hold of a dead-beat customer and beg him to stick around until he gets the funds to purchase their services. DON "T DO THIS! Just send them to a competitor's site / store that does fit his budget and continue to look for your more upscale customers that will have the loans to not only buy more of your items / services, but will refer others like them to your site / store. Trust your gut instinct on this one. If a customer does not sound like a potential moneymaker for you, then do not waste your time on them. -paying customer base. Do a search on Google to find out where your best customers live, or what kind of sites they hang out on. Then you can start an e-mail or snail mail campaign and target your customer base so they will come in droves to your business.
4. Being unaware of where to spend your budget. In the world of the internet, anyone can start a business with very little cash. Knowing where to put that cash is a very serious factor that will determine your success or failure. Do not ever spend much money on fancy logos or flash tools when building your web site. Just spend the eight dollars required to register your domain name, and look for bids on web developers who have a clear definition of what to bring to your web pages. Find someone who knows exactly what you require, and make them send you samples on demand, with no upfront fees. Believe me, there are so many web designers that need work, they will beg you to hire them. Make sure you hire the right one. With every dollar you put into your business investment, there has to be a way to extract two more dollars if your business intends to succeed. Content is still king, so make the content your number one selling point to get new customers. Content is always free as well, as long as you're the one writing it. Do not hire anyone else to do a job you could do. Just take a writing class, or research some web sites that specify what web surfers are looking for, and how to write effectively for them. It always helps to get a second opinion on what to spend your budget on, so ask anyone with a business degree for some help. Spend your marketing dollars on effective ad campaigns that reach out to your target audience. Most marketing can be done reliably these days, and you can do a lot of it. Just search Google for tips, or go to Amazon.com and get a few used books on guerrilla marketing for business owners.
5. Taking people at their word. In business today, there are a lot of weasels that want to take advantage of newbie business owners like yourself. They always try to say they will sign your business contract and stick to the deal you both agreed on, and then renge on the entire contract without paying you a dime. It happens all the time, but do not let it happen to you. If you have to fall back on the written contract, and not the business client's honesty and integrity, then you are in big trouble already. You have to be able to screen out the low-lifes out there and discourage them from doing business with you. Always demand money up front, even if it's only a portion of the agreed-upon amount. Never ship out a product it the customer's check is still being processed. There are many CEOs of large internet companies that will just take from you and give back nothing. How they live with themselves, I'll never know, but do your diligent research before dealing with anyone on a large scale contract, and you should do fine. Combining good research skills along with developing relationships with your potential clients should keep those weasels from your doorstep.
6. Not creating value in your business. To sustain any long-term business, you must put value above everything else. To many business owners, the profit margin is the bottom line, and they will do anything for that profit. You need to be more value-oriented than that. You should always ask yourself what value are you bringing to your customers on a day-to-day basis. The worst business model you can have is the one in which you just sell products for a few dollars of profit, and then try to upgrade that profit margin on a yearly basis. The business world has plenty of companies that sell items, but not enough companies that actually add value to the people who buy from them. Give your customers something free that they would normally pay for at other sites, and they will come back and actually spend more of their hard-earned money on your site than all the other sites who just sell to increase their profits margins without giving their customers any value. Give out free information or even free videos to people buying over a certain amount of merchandise on their orders to make your customers keep coming back to you many times every month.
7. Being phony. Do not tell your customers that you are a huge organization devoted to just their needs. If you are the sole owner of your business, be clear about it and tell your customers. Be honest with them about how you will fulfill their needs by being able to focus on them as personal human beings, and not just a number. You can use your honesty as a selling point to them, because you are now opening up and revealing your true identity. This helps bring that human element into the equation, theby bringing a long-term business / customer relationship to fruition. No amount of marketing can generate such a fruitful business goal like that. Most customers will trust that an individual who owns his / her own business will be good for their word, as opposed to the monoliths of the business world like Microsoft or Hewlett Packard. Big corporations are seen as impersonal behemoths that will take the customer's money and not care if something goes wrong with the product, or if the service fails to live up to the value and content the customer paid for. If you have to put on a front and lie to your potential customer base, then maybe you should not be in the business you chose in the first place. Believe me. web customers can smell a phony from a mile away and they will not hesitate to tell other people not to do business with you. With the world wide web being the best place to spread bad news fast, your business could be shut down within a few weeks of an irate customer's hate mail to your competitor's web sites describing how phony your business is, making your company be seen as a dishonest business that people should avoid like the plague. The competition always enjoying teasing down a new business, so just make sure you always leave a customer happy and content with their purchase.
By avoiding these common pitfalls that new business owners fall into, your business venture should be a very successful one.