Small businesses (like startups) can’t afford a lot of mistakes. Damage control often breaks the banks, so the best course would be to avoid making mistakes altogether.
If you’re just starting out and are in need of direction, we’ve got you covered. We will be talking about the most common mistakes that can make or break your business in its baby phase.
1. Not utilizing social media
Most new entrepreneurs think that “utilizing social media” means creating a FB and an IG page to post occasionally in the name of the brand. But social media offers so much more.
There are so many different types of social media and forms of content, and you should figure out what works best for your brand.
Also, don’t let just anyone take care of your business’s socials. Get an expert that will help you develop a clear social media strategy.
2. Neglecting cybersecurity
A cybersecurity routine is a must for all businesses. Oftentimes, a small mistake like a compromised password or a lost file can snowball into a crisis.
So, to avoid the worst, here’s a simple checklist of things you should consider implementing:
- Use encryption – whether it’s end-to-end encrypted messaging, storage encryption, or a VPN, encryption makes everything more secure.
- Create valuable backups – do it before you actually need them. The best kind of backup would be a special encrypted cloud storage for business.
- Educate your employees and team members on the latest cybersecurity threats like phishing and ransomware.
- Take your password and credentials game seriously. Weak passwords can be the downfall of your startup.
3. Too much marketing
Throwing too much money at promotions and ads will only get you so far if you don’t focus on other areas of business, like improving your product’s features.
It’s kind of true that the more money you put into marketing, the more clout and clients you get. But, burning the budget on marketing can be fatal to startups and smaller companies.
The safest bet is to start small. Try to feel out the market and see what works best (e.g., A/B testing) and put your marketing budget into that.
4. Skipping digital tools
Whether it’s brainstorming, time management, design sessions, or marketing planners – there’s an app for it. And you should probably start using some digital tools in your niche.
Now, we’re not talking about full automation. Instead, try to figure out what repetitive task wastes the most of your time and get an app to help you with it.
Most new businesses start out with a digital planning tool like Trello and pair it with Google Drive.
5. Ignoring burnout
Business owners overlook mental health way too often. Developing a new business isn’t easy, especially with a smaller crew, or even alone. You want everything to be perfect, and that can take a toll on your mental wellbeing.
If you ignore signs of burnout, you risk hurting yourself and, by extension, your business.
It’s best to set up a routine to keep your mental health in check. A long walk, meditation, off-screen activities – everything is fair game. The best way you can keep yourself mentally agile is to take short breaks and practice some good old mindfulness.
By taking breaks, you won’t only get a chance to rest your mind, but you’ll also get the opportunity to see the bigger picture.
6. Not delegating enough
Another thing that can lead to burnout is doing everything alone. Yes, your budget is limited, and you know all the important stuff that needs to be done this quarter. Naturally, you want to do everything by yourself, or at least participate so you can make sure all is good.
This is a sure way to get yourself stranded on the burnout island. You need to delegate. If you spread yourself too thin, you won’t be able to do the things that you’re actually good at.
7. Lack of clear strategy
Finally, there’s the question of strategy. If you find yourself stuck on this (and you will), you can categorize strategy into short-term and long-term. What that means exactly is up to you. Short-term can be anything from a week to a full quarter. On the other hand, a long-term strategy can describe a 1-year plan or an even longer period.
All in all, you should always have some sense of direction. Standing still may seem like a good option, but time doesn’t stand still. So devise a plan, even if just for the week, and start from there.
Adapt the failing forwards concept
Starting out isn’t easy. Starting a business may be one of the most challenging things you do on your own. Every failure brings a new opportunity to learn, as long as you’re not repeating the same mistakes.
Utilize social media, don’t break the bank on marketing, and use digital tools but keep cybersecurity tight. Lastly, delegate work and take care of your mental health. Good luck!