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5 business mistakes - and what to do about them

When running a business, it can seem like there is always something that pops up and needs your attention. But it’s still up to you to make the right decisions for the best impact on your business. However, this can be a bit difficult, especially if there are easier or cheaper options.

In this article, we look at a few common things that businesses do that can be changed and can have a positive impact on your business, stress levels, and even cash flow.

1. Making hiring decisions based on cost

Hiring new employees is a lot to take on. More than just the time cost of finding the right person, but also the actual wage they will be paid. A good hire is an investment, not only will you likely be spending time interacting with that person, but they will be taking on tasks that relate to furthering your business.

Pinching pennies can seem like a good idea, but what will it cost your business in the long run?

It can seem like a smart idea to hire that student just out of their marketing course (and many times, it could end up well), but if your marketing knowledge is not so strong, doesn’t it make sense to hire someone who has some experience and success in marketing even if they’re asking a higher rate?

The same goes for the people you work with on other levels - whether hiring someone to design and build your website or finding suppliers, it can be tempting to go with the most affordable (read: cheap) option. However, if you consider your own the cheapest option the smartest choice?

It might be for your business bank account, but what costs might follow? If cheap means that a job is rushed or inferior materials are used, does that benefit your business or the image you are projecting to potential customers? What if something goes wrong because corners were cut and even more money needs to be spent to rectify the situation?

In both of these situations, it pays (in the long-term) to make the decisions that will best support the growth of your business. For some, it may mean digging a bit more out of savings or taking out a small business loan.

2. Tackling everything yourself instead of delegating

Following the hiring of new employees, especially if they are your first employee, it can be a bit scary to let go of some of the tasks that have been solely your responsibility since you started your business.

After all, you built it from the ground up and so it’s easy to think that you know best and that only you can do things properly. But a crucial part of growing as a business is letting go of some of those tasks in order to free up your time for new business development.

Don't take on everything yourself and fall asleep at your desk like this woman. The right employees and accounting & invoicing software can help.

It can also result in being pleasantly surprised by the abilities of your employees (an added reason to take the hiring process seriously) as people bring new skills and knowledge to a business.

When you take the step of trusting those you’ve selected to help in your business with some of those daily tasks, you gain valuable time to continue to grow your business in new ways.

3. Skipping the market research step

Whether you’re just launching your business or you’re considering launching a new campaign or new product, the excitement and momentum can build and make it difficult to follow through on the step necessary to help ensure your new venture is a success.

Market research is a major part of introducing something new to the market - whether it be an entire business or a new product or service. Doing the research helps you find out whether what you would like to offer is actually in demand. It’s one thing to come up with an idea that you’re sure everyone will love, but it’s another to have this confirmed by your target audience.

It also helps you to better identify your target audience. Maybe your product isn’t popular with the audience you expected but performs well with a different demographic. This could then also affect how you go about marketing it, for example.

4. Not working with an accountant

Although your business might be small, working with an accountant from the beginning can have some considerable benefits when it comes to getting started on the right foot (and staying on that path).

It can seem like a big investment, but spending for a few hours every so often from a professional who can not only make sure you’re not making accounting mistakes that could land you in hot water, but can also suggest ways to better manage your accounts or even benefit from different schemes or incentives.

5. Failing to protect your documents and data

A major benefit of advances in technology is how much more portable data is and how easy it is to access and manage your accounts from anywhere. However, this also means that your information can be susceptible to new threats such as hackers and computer viruses.

There are tools available to help your computer avoid coming up with security warnings like this one

You’ve likely heard the typical suggestions: make your passwords more complicated and change them regularly, don’t use the same password for all your accounts, don’t click the link sent in an email from a foreign prince offering you money, etc. etc.

But how can you take these steps for your business? There are some useful applications aimed at improving your password security, sorting through those fishing emails, and even encrypting your internet connection when you travel. For some ideas, take a look at this article from Business News Daily.

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