Lessons Learned: How to Avoid 6 of the Most Common Business Mistakes

by Edgar R. Olivo

Learning from mistakes is the most valuable action a small business owner can do on the journey to business success. Think about this: Every successful business started as a great idea. This great idea is usually purpose-driven, vision-driven, or both. Unfortunately, not everyone is born as a business expert when they start, so, to get better, they need to learn from mistakes they make along the way.

The lack of expertise in every single business management category means mistakes are bound to happen. And if you are not prepared to deal with those mistakes, it can quickly derail your business.

There are many common mistakes small-business owners make. You can ask any successful person if they have committed any and most likely they will respond with a resounding yes. Here are six common business mistakes to avoid as a small-business owner striving for excellence.

  1. Failing to track and keep records. From day one, while building your business, you will need to experiment with different strategies. To stay on the right track, create data and processes to help you keep track of what you learn. It is so crucial to keep track of everything – even those things that you do not deem as vital for your business to flourish. Keeping good records and tracking your progress will allow you to make informed decisions. It is a good business practice to develop.
  1. Breaking data compliance regulations. One thing that you need to have down from day one is managing your data compliance. It may not be the most exciting thing to do, but in the 21st century economy where just about everything is done digitally, data compliance is key. When you do not handle consumer data correctly or legally, you could risk getting in trouble and facing huge repercussions.It is not only financial damage you may incur here. A privacy scandal can also tarnish your reputation and stunt your business growth.
  1. Not conducting enough research before planning. Research is key and it always will be. Doing research is important because you will minimize room for error and can later justify your decisions based on your research data.
  2. Not focusing on building your brand. No matter your business niche, product or service, remember that you are building a brand. The majority of customers say they need to be able to trust a brand to buy from it. Every public action you take builds your reputation and your online brand affinity; this also means it can jeopardize it. Ensure that you focus on building a brand and business that people can relate to, understand and look forward to engaging with.
  3. Failing to be remote ready. Building on previous points, every business needs to be ready and able to function remotely. There were many businesses at the start of the pandemic that were not ready to transition to remote work. How can you avoid making the same mistakes? By investing in communication tools and strategies to ensure most of your communication can be done online.
  4. Forgetting finances. Avoid making the same mistake many new businesses do of putting finances on the back burner. You need to be able to support your mission along the way, so keeping track of your finances is vital. When it comes to your business investments or personal finances, make sure you have your financials looked after.

You will be able to turn mistakes into opportunities, build loyal teams and win the hearts of your customers by simply handling situations with transparency and self-reflection.

These six business mistakes may seem daunting at first, but there is a lot you can do to avoid them. The first step is awareness. Do not worry about making mistakes on your road to success — it is the nature of the game. What is important is to learn from the mistakes to make you a better business owner.

EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor, and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a nonprofit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.

Para la versión en español de este artículo, haga clic aquí.

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