Top Small Business Mistakes

We all make mistakes, it’s human nature. As a small business owner, certain mistakes can slow growth or decrease your chances of success.

working woman looking upwards
  1. Losing Focus. Experts agree that the most detrimental mistake is loss of focus. With all the daily tasks in front of us, most being the daily routine of performing the tasks of ownership like managing employees, overseeing production, working with customers and clients, paying the bills, and growing the business, we tend to focus on a narrow set of tasks instead of devoting time to help the business grow and succeed.
  2. Wearing Too Many Hats. When business owners think they have to do everything themselves, productivity suffers. Great managers are great delegators, whether it’s knowing which tasks staff can handle or simply outsourcing time-consuming tasks that can and often should be done by someone (Hint: DL MoneyManagers) else.
  3. Failing to Strategize. Running a business takes time. Business owners often work much longer hours and more days in a year than the average worker. And never having time to quietly analyze where the business is now, where you want it to go, developing a roadmap to success, and documenting a set of strategies that can take you there…well, this too often takes a back seat.
  4. Doing Everything Yourself. Whether it’s brainstorming with a management team, a partner, a client, or a mentor, you have a much better chance of growing the business and meeting goals when you don’t try going it alone. Delegation also makes employees become better thinkers and more loyal to you and the success of the company. When you do what you are good at, and delegate the rest, you have more time to brainstorm how to set your business apart from your customers and gain important market advantages.
  5. Underpricing. Since the advent of the Internet, savvy buyers (your customers) can easily get an idea of what to pay for your product or service by searching similar offers online. Buyers often say that competitive pricing is the most crucial feature influencing a purchase decision of good or services. Include this fact in any decision to drop prices. Better to determine to keep prices fair so you can deliver a better product or service. This doesn’t mean you can’t discount unused or outdated inventory when appropriate, just don’t drain your margins or tarnish your brand with too many sales and discounts.

Promotions get attention and may attract new customers, but discounting during an inflationary economy, like these current times, can be bad for business. Try other ways to increase sales like: announce a price increase, bundle goods or services, create community on or offline. Rather than a sale price, consider a free trial period. Finally, believe in your people, customers, clients, and especially yourself. 

An Accountant Can Do What?

We all know that as a small business accountant we help you to keep your eyes on your business, employees, and customers while we provide regular financial reports and statements that help managers make informed decisions with the most up-to-date data. We help by overseeing payroll and estimating tax payments throughout the year, and make sure our clients are in compliance with all regulatory and reporting required by the government. 

accountant speeding through day at her desk

You hire us because you value strategic advice and want someone else to watch the finances so you can concentrate on your customers, employees, and strategies. 

But what else can we do? You might be surprised…

A. Want to expand or start a new business? We can help you prepare what you’ll need to convince investors and lenders to help with startup costs.

B. Too many moving parts in your business? We can help you figure out what’s important and where the revenue stream is sourced. We can help sort your key performance indicators (KPI’s) and suggest or provide all the tools needed to measure progress.

C. Need someone to listen and support you? Being a business owner is tough, and it can be lonely when things are hard. We can help by giving you a non-judgmental ear or help you cope with stress by breaking down big problems into smaller, more manageable parts.

We are more than good software. The most important thing we can do as your accountant is to make your business better! As your accountants, if we don’t have the answers, we know who does.

Small Biz Outlook 2023

Small Business Expo in Cincinnati is in the rear view mirror, but those who attended were determined to make this a healthy business year, in spite of recent dark clouds. There’s one thing small business does well —we’re nimble and very bullish about our businesses.

Since 1973, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has tracked and recorded Small Business Economic trends via questionnaires mailed to their members. We thought it would be helpful to share a few of the numbers.

Of note for 2023 is their Small Business Optimism Index that shows an overall Index of 89, after their 49-year average of 98. The reason for the dark clouds? Inflation!

Stressed businessman looking at laptop screen in modern office.

While the survey tracks labor markets, capital spending, sales and inventories, compensation and earnings, borrowing and credit markets, inflation was what hit small business owners the hardest. 

This Inflation information should be informative for our readers to measure their performance compared to the rest of the small business world:

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased 4 points from March to a net 33% seasonally adjusted, the lowest since March 2021. Unadjusted, 12% (up 1 point) reported lower average selling prices and 48% (down 2 points) reported higher average prices. 

Price hikes were most frequent in construction (59% higher, 7% lower), retail (59% higher, 8% lower), wholesale (54% higher, 14% lower), and finance (52% higher, 5% lower). 

A net 21% of small business owners plan price hikes (down 5%).

Consumer spending increased, but consumers were purchasing product from inventory made in prior quarters. Those small bank failures that made the news were not due to bad loans but to poor risk management! Even as the Government was pouring massive Covid relief into the economy, banks allowed those deposits to be withdrawn in 24 hours.

For those who enjoy tracking where your small business stands compared to other small businesses, read the entire report (Copyright NFIB Research Center publication: NFIB Small Business Economic Trends, April 2023).