We all know how much pressure we are under as business owners right now. After a brutal couple of years, everyone wants to look for ways to take steps forward. We need to ensure that we continue to grow, that we are keeping up with the competition, and that we continue to care for our employees through this difficult time.
However, it would be reckless to assume that the issues that are slamming the United Kingdom right now, from market uncertainty to the cost-of-living crisis, will not affect us.
That means we all need to ensure that we are treading carefully even as we take those next leaps. It does not matter how big or small your company is; whether you have been operating for decades or if you are a new small business, there are always going to be mistaken waiting to be made.
The key is making sure that you are prepared for them. We have put together a guide to some of the most common mistakes that business owners can fall prey to and some tips for avoiding them.
Don’t: Try and Do Everything Yourself
One of the classic pitfalls that so many business owners fall foul of is the idea that they can do everything themselves and need to. If you are an entrepreneur who has built your company from the ground up, then it makes perfect sense.
After all, it was you who took your bright idea and turned it into a flourishing company. But as your business continues to grow, you will quickly find that it is impractical to try and fix every problem and oversee every single task.
This is a time when you are going to have so many different things to be worrying about at any one time. You will need to be looking at how the rising cost of energy will affect you and plan ways around supply shortages.
Taking some things off your plate and trusting someone else with them is always going to be a good idea. It is also a great idea to try and take advantage of the expertise of others, which brings us to our next point.
Do: Get Good Advice
The mentality described above has another impact on the choices that business owners make. In particular, it can sometimes lead them to think that going to experts and getting their opinion and input is somehow a sign of weakness.
Nothing could be further than the truth. This is exactly the time when we need to be looking for answers to questions that we don’t have ourselves.
We should be talking to people who have experience in helping steer businesses through tough times. We also need to be seeking out fresh voices and getting input from people who are more familiar with the technology that is changing the landscape and disrupting the way we do things (more on this later).
Whether it is talking to your financial advisor about the wiggle room you have in your budget or speaking to your lawyer before you expand into a new area, it is always worth having a sounding board and some expert opinion.
Don’t: Neglect Your Staff
Everyone knows how difficult the last couple of years has been for all of us. If you have managed a team during this period, you will have developed skills in people management and learned how to run a team remotely.
However, now that so many people are returning to the office and are focusing on the challenges ahead, it is so important that we do not suddenly neglect this area. For one thing, it should go without saying that many of the areas that worry business owners will also be worrying your employees.
If you do not provide them with adequate support at work, then you may see the quality of their output start to suffer. If you are looking to bring new people in, you need to remember that your reputation is already out there.
Now, it is absolutely true that there are going to be some difficult situations ahead, where we need to either find new roles for our employees within the company or tell them that there is no longer a role for them. This is an incredibly delicate process, and there are many different ways it can go wrong.
But with outplacement support, companies can help their valued employees find their next job through CV services and career coaching. If you want to learn more about outplacement and how it can work for your business, visit Randstad RiseSmart. They find innovative solutions, and they have 98% service satisfaction.
Do: Keep Researching the Competition and Your Customers
With the market changing so quickly right now, it can be so easy to focus on what is right in front of you and put out the fire that needs attending to immediately. However, if you are going to stay ahead of the competition, then you need to know how they are reacting to the same challenges.
It is not good enough to conduct market research once a year, and it hopes that this will carry you through another twelve months. It would be best if you made this a continual process. The same is true for your customers.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen enormous changes in the way that we go about our personal business, and you need to factor those changes into your strategy. It is important to continue working on your customer profiles and use your data to pinpoint where they are spending their time online and what wording and branding will stand out.
This brings us to our next point.
Don’t: Fall Back on Bad Habits with Marketing
Digital marketing campaigns feel like they are a bit of a minefield right now. There is no question that they are essential, but with so many different businesses competing for the same eyes, there is a real chance that you could pour a huge amount of your budget into a campaign that yields no results.
When the market is so hard-fought, there is always the temptation to opt for a blanket strategy. To go after as many different customers as possible across as many platforms as you can in the hopes that something will stick. This is a mistake.
AI software can help you learn so much more about your customers to create a targeted, focused digital marketing campaign. It can comb through mountains of data, saving you valuable time and resources.
If you are not confident with this yourself, it is well worth talking to a digital marketing agency. Find one who will work with you to create a campaign by sitting down with you to understand your business and brand ethos.
They will help you to understand where the best platforms are to find your target audience, and they will create messaging that appeals to them. This way, you can avoid having people click through to your website who were drawn in by the prospect of a special offer but have no real interest in what you have to offer.