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These Five Common Mistakes Could Jeopardize Your Business

mistakes business owners make

This post is part of a series of branded posts sponsored by Verizon Business. The focus of the series — part of a paid partnership between Verizon Business and CircleAround — is on women small business owners, and how they are navigating the complexities and challenges of contemporary business, from the pandemic to the economy.

You’re about to take the plunge and launch your own business. But even with all the preparation, you might still run into unforeseen issues that prevent your company from thriving. Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, has helped many businesses recover after experiencing setbacks from common mistakes. CircleAround asked Sweeney what these common mistakes are and how new business owners can avoid them. Here's what she had to say.  

1. Poor Financial Planning

Starting your own business requires an upfront investment, meaning you have to spend money to make money. And while any business can make money, if you don’t know how to scale, spend efficiently, and budget for the future, your business will likely fail. 

How To Avoid It

“Consider the funding needed to start your business,” Sweeney says. “If you are applying for a loan, create a financial roadmap of expenses and expected revenue to show the bank. Also, take into account your own personal financial liability. Separating your personal assets from that of your business is crucial in the event that your business does not succeed.”

2. Ignoring Your Market

Businesses that try to appeal to everyone and ignore their target demographic often spread themselves too thin and miss the opportunity to earn repeat customers.

How To Avoid It

“Do not expect to sell your product or service to everyone,” Sweeney tells CircleAround. “Research your potential market and act accordingly.” In other words, market smartly, not broadly. “Ask yourself, what age group am I trying to reach? What type of person would use this service or product? Advertise and market your product or service within your tailored market to ensure success and avoid unnecessary spending.”

3. Ignoring the Competition

Business owners who ignore their competition may not know how to make their product or service unique from what's already out there. This means they'll have a harder time convincing consumers to choose them over competitors. 

How To Avoid It

“Research the prices, advertising schemes and promotions of these businesses,” Sweeney suggests. “Use this information to create and strengthen your business plan. Similarly, marketing to the right audiences may mean checking out what people are already buying or using to get a feel for what they like. This can be done by understanding how competitors market their products. 

4. Inconsistent Service

Having a large customer base from the beginning is wonderful, but customers won’t stick around if the customer service they receive misses the mark. Failing to scale service means your customers might look elsewhere for what they need.

How To Avoid It 

“Respond to emails, voicemails and business proposals promptly,” Sweeney tells CircleAround. The quicker you respond, the more professional and responsive you will appear.” Take into account the volume of work your business might receive. 

5. Not Knowing When To Let Go

Even if you’ve given it your all, there is always a chance your business could be slow to grow, add problems to your life, or simply not work out for unpredictable reasons. “This principle applies both to successful and unsuccessful businesses,” Sweeney states. “In the unfortunate scenario where a business fails, it is often difficult for the owners to consider dissolution.” Owners who don't know when to let go might find themselves in financial holes they can't dig themselves out of. 

How To Avoid It

There’s no shame in pulling back from a business that is failing or is about to fail. It doesn’t have to mean the end of your career dreams. Instead, it can be a great opportunity to refine your strategy and build a better product. “Often as the business changes, so do the relationships between the business and its owners,” Sweeney adds. “Know when to step aside for the good of the company.”

The Bottom Line

Focusing on the success of your new business is exciting, but being realistic about possible issues that can arise along the way is important as well. Building a strong business plan, understanding the market you’re trying to reach (as well as the competition), and ensuring you provide consistent, top-notch service, will hopefully help your business grow and succeed.


CircleAround is operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA. The site serves women nationwide by providing content that is uplifting, thought-provoking, and useful. We make revenue distributions back to GSUSA so they can further their mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

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