Common Mistakes Business Owners Should Avoid

Hi there – it’s Scott Asner here, coming to you from Kansas City.

In an earlier blog, I went over some of the things that business owners should know about running their own business. Today, I wanted to go into some additional common mistakes that I’ve learned during my time in the business world.

Running a successful business is never as easy as it seems to the outside world, but here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when stepping onto the field.

Failing to Network

No matter how unique or unconventional your business idea or model may be – you are not as alone as you think. We’re all more alike than we would imagine, and chances are that there is a fellow businessperson out there who is going through similar challenges that you may be experiencing.

It would be an immense disservice to yourself to avoid seeking out or networking with other businesspeople who may be able to provide insight into your operation. Even if another business owner is in an entirely different field, you might still glean some insights that could translate into your own organization.

Networking is an extremely valuable skill set to learn in of itself, and it could even lead to new business. Relationships matter greatly in the business world and I cannot tell you the amount of times that establishing solid relationships has led to a beneficial situation.

It may even be a good idea to find an objective party to help mentor you. Try to seek out experienced, proven businesspeople who have been around long enough to help give you some wisdom on what worked, and what didn’t work for them. Also, join business organizations for people in your field. These are all people who share the same dream of operating their own business and they could become valuable resources as they tackle obstacles of their own.

Failing to Delegate

A common mistake that many new business owners will make is the failure to delegate tasks to other members of the organization. A lot of times, business owners who are expanding are so used to having to do everything on their own, that they forget that they can only do so much. Other times, they just have a hard time relinquishing control of their own organization – no matter how trivial the task may be.

And once they finally drop the habit of taking on everything themselves, they’ll still have to fight the urge of micromanaging other members of leadership or even lower-level employees. This process is natural, but it’s a massive time waster and productivity killer for the business owner.

When you grow a company – you must have faith in your partners and team members to help you make your business a success. Business owners should feel comfortable delegating tasks – even large ones – to people within the organization who they feel are capable. If not for efficiency, for sanity.

Failing to Branch Out into New Territory

A lot of times when a business becomes successful – the natural inclination is to continue doing what has already worked and to hopefully expand profits. While there’s nothing wrong with this line of thinking, it can cause business owners to be left out of expanding into newer territories.

Look at a modern-day giant like Netflix. Netflix started as a mail-in DVD rental business – but they looked at new market opportunities and turned to developing their streaming service. Now, they’ve branched out even further into developing their own original content with exclusive titles from legendary directors and headlining comedians. This same mentality is usually found in all highly successful organizations.

If your business is good, don’t just be good at one thing. Look into other areas where you can fill a market because if you don’t, somebody else will. And sometimes failing to adapt can be devastating to your survival (Blockbuster).

Final Thoughts

In the end, starting and running a successful business can be a difficult undertaking. There are a lot of variables to consider at any given time, and it is a constant process of learning and adapting to new circumstances.

These are just a few of the common mistakes that I’ve seen fellow businesspeople make over the years, and there are plenty more. I hope that these can help people from falling into some of the more common pitfalls.

All the best,

~ Scott Asner, Kansas City, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG)