By Mark Bailey, PGS Business Consulting, Reno’s Top Rated Local® Small Business Coach
Schedule a free 20-minute chat here to find out how you can increase profits for your business, have more free time and grow sales.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in the game awhile, it seems almost everyone has an opinion on how a SMB (small to medium size business) owner should be running their small business. Interestingly much of this well-intended advice is derived from half-truths like the sayings your quirky uncle would share.
Granted you will meet some very smart people and have the opportunity to engage with many great mentors and coaches over the years. Their contributions will be invaluable to the success of your small business. Never forget that you are running the show. Here are 5 terrible pieces of advice you should ignore:
1) “You have to spend money to make money.”
It’s extremely risky to assume that simply throwing money at a problem is a viable solution. Creative thinking and a sound strategy can often work far better than emptying your bank account.
Understanding the difference between spending money and investing in your small business is crucial. Generally, money can scale a business faster, but only when you invest in an approach that will produce more revenue in return.
2) “You have to be cheaper than the other guys.”
Many startups feel pressured to discount their pricing in order to win business. Rather than simply slashing prices, a better long-term plan is to focus on how to earn more business by providing more value to customers than your competitors. There’s always someone out there that will be willing and/or able to sell at lower margins than you. Create ways to differentiate yourself from the competition and work as hard as you can to shine in those areas.
3) “There’s no room for you in the market.”
A crowded market can mean there is a lot of buying activity present. And on the other side of the coin, a completely empty field can be a sign of little buying activity. The takeaway here is that market research plays a valuable role in determining whether there’s room in the market for your product or service. Defining your company and its place in the market in a unique and revolutionary manner can place you well ahead in a crowded field.
We’ve all done it… how well did it work for you? Probably not how you imagined. Bringing on friends, family and former co-workers generally just doesn’t work. Best practices dictate that you hire based on the specific position you need to fill and the most suitable candidate you find. And no, the most qualified prospect may not be your best choice if they won’t mesh with your company culture. Expertise and skills can be taught, while attitude and personality traits are difficult to change.
5) “Marketing on social media is free.”
You’ve probably heard that starting a small business today is much easier than in years past, because of all the free marketing on social media. It’s true that you don’t have to spend a dime to join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the myriad of other social outlets. You can even start a blog for free, but there are hosting and domain name fees. And who’s going to know it even exists if you don’t pay to advertise it.
Social media is far from free after you consider the huge amount of time it requires. While it can be more affordable than traditional forms of marketing, you’ll still have to pay to get your businesses name known and keep it relevant in those spaces.
I’ve been given a lot of advice during my 35+ years in business, some good and some not so good. The most important piece of advice for an aspiring entrepreneur or small to medium size business owner I have to share is…
Learn how to recognize when to ignore the advice you are being given!
Mark Bailey is offering free 20-minute small-business consulting sessions. Schedule online here.