Joplin Area Real Estate Investor Association

5 Business Mistakes That Can Be Fatal by Janet Behm

Utah Real Estate Investors Association



“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”  - George Bernard Shaw

Based on what I've seen in my work with local businesses, here are the basic business mistakes people make when starting and operating a small business. These are by no means an exhaustive list of business mistakes, merely the most common -- and eminently avoidable...

  • Not having a CLEAR business plan.  A good business plan will guide you through the first few months and years of your business. It should contain metrics that help you monitor costs as well as progress.

It doesn't have to be fancy, or even something that would hold up under an investor's scrutiny (though, certainly, if you're going down that road, go the extra mile and make sure it's good). But it does have to give you a roadmap to the goals you should be hitting by certain points -- 3 months, 6 months, 12 months.

  • Doing everything yourself.  Even in a one-person operation, you'll have your hands full. If you're not able to hire employees, at least be ready to outsource the tasks that aren't integral to your daily operations.

In this way, of course, you free yourself for the highest-level activities, such as marketing and sales.

  • Targeting the wrong market.  Nothing takes the place of solid market research before you launch your business. Find out who needs your product or service, where they are, what they expect to pay for it, and whether there are enough customers for you to survive.

But the BEST way to do this, is not to use statistics or data ... it's to start small and sell something to your targeted market first which is very similar to what you are wanting to ultimately provide. Survey results are one thing but having people "vote" with their pocketbook is a much better predictor of future results.

  • Failure to prioritize sales.  Your great idea for a product is only that--an idea. To grow, you've got to devote sufficient time to sales. Instead of trying to perfect your product, work on getting it out to customers. Let your customers help you perfect things, especially after you start selling to them.
  • Underestimating your resources.  No matter how detailed your business plan is, chances are your startup will require more time and money than you anticipate before it gets off the ground. Be patient, and plan for the long haul.

In fact, here's a good rule of thumb:

1) Take your projected costs: double them.

2) Take your projected revenue: cut it in half.

If your proposition is still profitable, give it a shot.

Pull the trigger if your due diligence shows promise. Strive to be world-class at just ONE THING, rather than mediocre at everything!

BE THE ROAR not the echo®


Janet Behm
Utah Real Estate Accountants
(801) 278-2700


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