Starting or maintaining a business is no easy feat. Your business must be high on your priority list whether you have multiple businesses or just one. The goal of every business is to turn a profit from selling goods or services. If you are treating your business like a hobby, then you are putting your business in jeopardy.
Hobbies are meant to be recreational or for sport. Although sometimes hobbies do bring on some sort of profit, the primary focus of a hobby is not to make money but to have fun. You need to reevaluate your business goals and plans if you treat your business as a recreational activity. Ways to stop treating your business like a hobby include:
- Commitment- running a business is no casual affair. You must commit to your business and not work at it only when you feel like it. It requires an everyday commitment to drive sales and achieve success.
- Set attainable goals– hobbies are for fun and do not have clear, defined goals like businesses do. Everyone wants their business to grow, and that is done by setting short-term and long-term goals that are attainable through staying committed. You need to strategize where you want your business to go and how you will get there.
- Know your value as an entrepreneur- just because you enjoy something does not mean you are good at it. Successful entrepreneurs understand their personal strengths and weaknesses. Finding the balance between what you love, what you’re good at, and what customers want will motivate you to build a business you love and can make a profit from.
Treating your business as a hobby is just one common mistake that entrepreneurs are making. Starting a business is confusing for a new entrepreneur, and there are a lot of areas where mistakes can be made. Knowing what to avoid and how to conduct your business will sharpen your skills and help you achieve your business goals.
Putting Customers Last
Business is all about its products and services, right? Not quite. One of the bigger mistakes a new entrepreneur can make is focusing on what they’re selling and putting customer’s needs on the back-burner. Customers are the ultimate drive behind a business failing or succeeding. They are the ones making purchases, after all. Having a customer-first business model will help you attract customers and maintain loyal ones.
Marketing is Non-Existent
New entrepreneurs may have the mindset that customers will flock to their business because it’s new. Relying on word-of-mouth is not an effective marketing tactic and will not sustain a business. An effective marketing plan is typically the divider between failed and successful business. Marketing plans have many proven benefits such as:
- Informing customers
- Helping businesses interact with their audience and customers
- Sustaining the businesses’ presence
- Keeping customers engaged 24/7
- Growing the business
- Driving sales
All businesses, big and small, need marketing plans. Yes, marketing will eat up a large portion of your budget, but it is necessary to drive sales. A marketing plan is tailored for every business to help them find what makes them unique, who their direct competitors are, set measurable goals, identify who their target audience is, and more. A marketing plan will be the foundation that you build your business on.
Ignoring Market Trends
Marketing trends are always changing and can quickly cause your marketing efforts to become outdated; how customers prefer to shop, where they prefer to shop, how they conduct research, how they are spending their money change quite rapidly. Market trends essentially tell a business where to make their online presence known and when. Trends can be tricky to follow because there is no concise beginning and end to them. Following what the experts are saying can improve your marketing tactics and ensure your business is staying in the know-how.
Having the Wrong Approach Towards Competition
New entrepreneurs often have the mentality that they are one-of-a-kind and no other business can match their product or services. The truth is everyone has competition no matter the niche unless the business is selling an absolutely new product to the market (which brings on different obstacles). Ignoring competition completely can leave a business, especially a startup business, in the dark about launches. If that business is about to launch something similar, it will now look like they are copying their competition.
On the flipside, caring too much about the competition can impede on a businesses’ focus on their customers and marketing plan. If your focus as an entrepreneur is to make your competition crumble, then your business will surely fail. Finding a healthy balance of researching your competitors is key. Watching competition can help a business not make the same mistakes they do, find ways to improve customer relations, improve services/products, and much more.
Not Spending Wisely
How you manage your finances is vital. Mistakes involving money can start well before the business has been launched. Startup money should be spent on the necessities, but in some areas where it is good to invest is in high-quality employees and products. Common mistakes with money include:
- Not thinking about your ROI when making purchases
- Not leaving money for changes in the market
- Being disorganized with your finances
- Being too frugal or overspending
It is important for you to not constantly re-invest into your business just because the money is there to use. Think of that extra money has insurance. No one is immune to emergencies and it having it could save your business.
Not All Mistakes are Failures
Some mistakes can be corrected over a short period of time. However, mistakes can hinder confidence and can cause significant doubt about the business for some entrepreneurs. Every entrepreneur will make at least some mistakes; it’s inevitable for everyone.
Plutarch, a Greek-Roman philosopher, says that “to make no mistakes is not in the power of man, but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” Mistakes help grow your entrepreneurial skills and teach you better ways of handling your business down the road.