Starting a new business is a challenge. In that first year there will be so many issues to contend with. You have to ensure you have adequate reserves while you get on your feet. It’s all about establishing yourself and getting your name out there.
After that first year, the challenge doesn’t get easier, it just changes. At some point the main focus becomes growth. In order to survive you have to adapt and grow. This stage in your business lifecycle is crucial, and many don’t survive. As your business flourishes, make sure you avoid the following pitfalls.
1. Trying To Do Everything Yourself
Recruiting the right staff is one of the biggest challenges for small businesses. As you’re evolving, it is no longer possible to do everything yourself. There are not enough hours in the day. If you insist, you will eventually burn out, and you won’t be able to keep up with demand. Doing everything yourself will ensure your output remains the same instead of increasing.
It is also worth investing in good managers to oversee staff. They will keep an eye on output and deal with day-to-day issues, so you don’t have to. Ensure your managers are at the top of their game with adequate management training. This will allow them to guide and nurture staff and help the business to thrive.
2. Recruiting The Wrong Staff
Recruitment is a fine art. It begins with writing a robust job description and then attracting the right people through engaging ads. And, of course, you need to be placing the ads in the right places. Get this wrong, and you will attract the wrong candidates.
If your budget will allow, it’s always a good idea to get the professionals on board. Recruitment agencies will manage the whole process for you and will filter the applications as they are received. With the jobs market as it is, will you have time to go through hundreds of applications to shortlist.
Interviews help you to determine whether the applicants are the right people for the role. However, if you don’t ask the right questions, you’re unlikely to receive useful responses. Begin by making a list of the attributes you’re looking for. Then create questions around these attributes. When posing the questions, ask candidates for specific examples. They may say they are excellent troubleshooters and that’s great. But how have they applied this to their recent roles? What was the outcome and how did they make a difference? Asking the right questions will help you to identify the best candidates.
Recruiting the wrong staff will increase your own workload and will prevent you from dedicating your time in the right areas.
3. Not Investing In Your Staff
Often when business owners recruit staff for the first time, they fail to take steps to retain them. So they go through expensive recruitment process and then invest time to train them, only to lose them to another organization. There are several steps you can take to retain staff. The most obvious step is to pay staff a fair wage. This will avoid competitors enticing them away with more lucrative salaries.
However, it’s not all about salary. Though we all have to be practical, not everyone is motivated by money. For others, job security and enjoyment are as important. Everyone likes to feel as though they are valued, and their ideas matter. They also like a certain amount of autonomy when planning and completing their work.
Valuing and investing in staff will increase loyalty and motivation, which is good for everyone.
4. Working In The Business And Not On It
This is a mistake that many business owners make. They get too caught up in the day-to-day operations at the expensive of growth. As a result, the business remains stagnant or falters. Make sure you work on your business and not in it.
5. Not Listening To Their Customers
At whatever stage your business is at, it is vital to remain customer-focused. Check in with your customers regularly and ask for their input. Find out what you’re doing well and what could be improved. Even negative feedback can be extremely useful as it allows you to make changes. People change over time and their needs change. Keep on top of what your customers need or lose them.
6. Growing Too Quickly
Growth takes time. It is something that needs to be planned carefully, and it needs to be consistent. A huge spurt of orders may seem like a good thing at the time. But if you don’t have the processes and resources in place to deal with it, things will quickly go wrong.
Unless you’re running a lifestyle business, all business owners desire growth. But it is something that needs to be planned and managed carefully. After working hard to establish your business, make sure you don’t fall into these pitfalls.