6 Red Flags for Small Businesses
After nearly a decade in the small business world, we’ve seen a thing or two. When starting our own business, we faced plenty of the classic challenges: strains on money and time.
But as we began to work more closely with other small businesses, we noticed small signs that could (and would later) cause big problems. You might be an expert at spotting red flags in relationships and friendship, but this February, we thought we’d point you to the red flags that may be plaguing your investment, your friend or family’s company, or even your own small business.
1. Not Thinking Long-Term
Too often, we see entrepreneurs and startups with lots of great ideas, but little to no focus.
Of course, an idea that you’re passionate about is the crux of a small business. We hope you find something you care about, and that you’re willing and excited to invest time and energy into. But, when you’re curating new ideas constantly, your ROI might start to take a hit.
Instead, spend time finding out what your audience actually buys, and get good at that. Reducing and simplifying whirlwind ideas that aren’t important or urgent might be hard to do, but it’s worth it for the long-term health of your small biz.
2. Lack of Follow-Through
No one likes flaky friends. Remember the feeling of being stood up for lunch, or cancelled on at the last minute for a movie night? No thanks!
Imagine a small business doing that: inconsistent marketing plans, few and infrequent social media posts, little to no communication with customer service requests. You’d get tired of it pretty quickly. Don’t let your company slip into those patterns –– they’re hard to quit!
3. Different Goals or Personalities
If you plan to put your all into your small biz, your team should, too.
Not only will you need buy-in from everyone you hire or bring on, but you need to ensure that everyone is there for a purpose. What skills do you need, and are they being met?
Many times we’ll hang onto an employee or team member because we have a personal relationship with them. Too often we make excuses for experiences and behaviors that bring both your business and your team down! It’s hard to make these choices, but prioritizing your small business’ (and your own!) health is what’s most important. Identify what your goals are, what you expect from your teams, and then stick to it.
4. Investing in the Wrong Areas/Lack of Communication
Our development assistant, Jacqueline Mumford, really buys into the idea of “love languages” –– everyone has different behaviors/actions that make them feel loved and appreciated, from gifts to acts of services to words of affirmation. Not everyone puts the same value in the same actions: a kind note might mean more to you than a fancy dinner, for example.
This holds true for companies, too! It’s imperative to explore what both your company and your customers actually need, not what you think they need.
We’ve seen people hire big and pricy consulting firms, seeking out new clients before organizing their systems, and pouring money into new and shiny programs that will “solve all your problems” before figuring out what you already have that works well for now.
The best advice we could give? Know who you are, your business’ mission, and how you’re achieving it –– and then invest your time into the plan.
5. Cutting Corners
Any good relationship takes effort to succeed. You can’t ice someone out for years, avoid phone calls or reschedule hang outs for years on end… eventually, something’s going to give. This is something we’ve seen all too often in small business, too.
One of the biggest mistakes? Weak (or even nonexistent) security systems. Get your contact lists cleaned up, correctly assign jobs and tasks and keep your website and passwords safe. We’ve outlined best practices for cyber security in this blog article.
6. Carrying the Weight Alone
You love your small business! We love ours, too. But that doesn’t mean that you’re the only one who can work on or with it.
Too often, we see small biz owners take lengthy, complicated approaches to simple problems, pushing back against the need to delegate. It’s rare that you’ll need that fancy software, expensive processing plan or big consulting firm’s input. Don’t do everything all by yourself, though –– if you’ve got the right team, confidence and a big idea, you’re good to go.
We know how hard it is to run a small business. We do it every day! That’s how we know we can help, no matter the size of your business, the questions you have or the issues you’re up against. Avoid the red flags, and start growing with us. Schedule a FREE first consultation.