Every business owner faces his or her own obstacles. Starting from the moment the idea of starting your own business enters your mind, you’re barraged with questions. Sure, some of these questions may come from friends or family, however I’m willing to bet that you attack yourself with most of them.
What will my company sell?
Will customers want to buy it?
What should I name my company?
How much should I charge for my goods/services?
How/where will I sell my goods/services?
I wonder what my office will look like?
Will I get rich?
Do any of these questions sound familiar? I’m sure they do! While these questions will all answer themselves in time, often it’s the questions you don’t ask yourself that can break your company before it truly has a chance to succeed. With all of their excitement to get a company going, many business owners kill their company with the following mistakes:
1. Following Peers Instead of Passion: Martha Stewart has a passion for cooking and crafts. Lance Armstong has a passion for health and physical fitness. Tony Stewart has a passion for NASCAR. Each of these three individuals has built a successful business, if not businesses, by building the model off of that which they were passionate about.
While I would LOVE to be rich by being a CEO in any industry, my arguement to myself about any industry is this: I’ve heard that farmers can make a lot of money. (My sources could be wrong, but for arguements sake hear me out.) Sure, I could have a farmer’s line of credit, buy a new car every year and build a new house to live in, but in order to pay for it all, I’d have to be… Farming… Whether it’s shoveling hog poo, plowing fields, or milking cows, as a farmer it’s what I’d have to do. I have absolutely no interest in wearing rubber boots and walking around in pig slop, and I would probably procrastinate doing my work until all the pigs had gone home, thus missing out on any chance of profit.
Lack of Passion = Procrastination
Focus your business on an industry and/or product you are passionate about!
2. Charge It: You’ve been working diligently for your employer for years and are excited to get out there on your own. Your Platinum Visa card is burning a hole in your pocket and you’re ready to purchase enough inventory to fill your studio apartment. Please don’t!!!
While those cute little gadgets may be a hot commodity right now, you have absolutely no guarantee how well they will sell. You may sell one or two, but what are you going to do if you are stuck with 99 of them? An apartment full of inventory won’t pay your credit card bill.
I’m not going to try to dissuade you from using your credit card, but instead, use your card in moderation. Buy a limited quantity of inventory or office supplies, and make sure you’ll be able to pay down/off your card in a timely manner. It will take at least seven years to clean a bad record off your credit report. Make sure to use your card responsibly.
3. Buying Ads – I admit it… I did this. I had no idea what I was doing when I started my first business and decided to sign up for a Google AdWords account. Within an hour my bank was calling to confirm an $800 purchase from Google.
$800!? In an hour!? That was more than I sold some weeks!
I quickly halted my ad campaigns and drove to the library to check out books on search engine optimization. Yes, I’m one of those people who like to try and do things for themselves. I won’t deny, I became quite good at improving my AdWords account and learned how to get more clicks for my money.
If you are going to buy ad space on Google, Facebook, or any other big site out there, be cautious. Do your homework and learn what the most up-to-date strategies are for getting the best results. One of my most important lessons, however, was that “quotes” are my friend.
Learn = Earn
Kim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.
An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.
In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.
Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.