Our aim at Clear Books is to champion the small businesses of Great Britain. Since we’ve been through the process of starting and growing a small business ourselves (not to mention seeing lots of our customers do the same thing), we’ve learned a lot about best practises … and of course, about common mistakes. Some are pretty obvious, like not checking to see whether there’s actually a market for what you’re selling, but others you not be so familiar with, like:
Trading time for money
You’re always going to have to spend some time running your business (in case you hadn’t guessed, those “totally passive income” courses are lying), but so many business owners get stuck in a situation where their income is directly tied to the work that they personally are doing. The means that there’s an automatic cap on the number of people they can work with and consequently, an automatic cap on their income. To grow, you need to create multiple streams of income, including several which are scalable.
Not getting it in writing
A lot of people play fast and loose with legal things, particularly in the first few years of business, but this is a terrible idea. It’s much easier to take a little bit of time to make sure that you do things legally — registering your company properly, using proper contracts for projects, getting a lawyer to review any big deals — and it will save you loads of money in the long term.
Trying to do it all yourself
Looking at the online presence of many successful entrepreneurs, you’d get the idea that they run their business all by themselves. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even those “solopreneurs” have a team behind them helping out with everything from accounting to branding. So don’t try to do it all yourself; hire or outsource things so that you can stay focused on those parts of the business that you’re really great at.
Taking advice that’s not meant for you
There is so, so much free information about starting and running a business out there. This is great in a way, because everybody can access it. But it also makes things very hard, because a lot of the information on starting a business isn’t actually written with a first time business owner in mind. Many actually have strategies that will only work if you’re a couple of years into your business, so if you try them when you’re just starting out and they don’t work, it leaves you feeling like there’s something wrong with you or your business idea.
Forgetting why you’re doing it
Nobody starts a business hoping to end up in the same situation they were in before; after all, if all you want is a salary, then you might as well just stay in your job. But that initial spark for starting the business, whether that’s to have more time with your family, to make more money, or to have the freedom to travel, often gets lost in the day to day work of running the business. It’s important to remember why you’re doing any of this to begin with — otherwise, it becomes very easy to burn out.
Why not check out our FREE resource on How to Write a Business Plan?