Small business owners always seem to be looking for the recipe for instant success. Unfortunately, the majority of them will only ever find the recipe for disaster. The Wall Street Journal recently listed six mistakes that will doom any entrepreneur’s dreams of success. I’ve listed them below along with a few thoughts of my own.
Trying to Get Rich Quick. Is there any business owner who hasn’t imagined what it would be like to be an instant success with more money than he knows what to do with? Alas, those kinds of success stories are exceptionally rare. In reality it takes a lot of time and hard work to build a successful business. If you’re looking for a quick fix you’re only setting yourself up for failure.
Working Harder Instead of Smarter. When times are tough and the business is struggling, it is easy to think you can get through it if you can just keep your nose to grindstone and work extra hours. But elbow grease will only get you so far, and you can’t add extra hours to your day. Successful entrepreneurs find ways to automate or outsource certain tasks so they can focus on what really matters.
Nurturing the Weak. Every freelancer knows what it is like to deal with a difficult client who always demands more and more of you. Before you know it they’re taking up more of your time than they’re worth. Sometimes you just need to fire a problem client so you can focus more energy on the good ones.
Measuring Revenue Instead of Profit. Seeing your revenues increase is great, but you also have to keep an eye on your expenses. Would you rather have a business that takes in a million dollars a year but loses two million, or a business that takes in $100,000 but has a profit of $75,000?
Focusing on Your Wallet. Every business needs to make money in order to succeed, but focusing solely on the bottom line can cause you to make too many short-sighted decisions. If you lose sight of your long-term goals and start chasing the money your quality will invariably suffer and you will end up regretting it in the end.
Turning Your Hobby Into a Business. People love to say “follow your passion and the money will come” but what if your passion is something no one is willing to pay for? Take blogging for example. Personal finance is a topic that millions of people are interested in and there are plenty of ways to make money with a finance blog. But that doesn’t mean any niche can be monetized so easily. You’re welcome to blog about minor league hockey teams or the mating habits of ladybugs, but don’t be surprised when your business is a flop. Ideally you can find a topic that interests you AND has potential for profits as well.