With each year in business we learn a little more. No book about "Small Business for Dummies" will ever replace the knowledge gained from true experience. Being an entrepreneur is truly a profession to learn as you go.
Just as we learn each year, we make mistakes each year.
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Here are 2014's top 3 business mistakes that shouldn't be repeated in the coming year:
Failing to realize that social media is a forever-changing medium
No one is a social media expert. An expert is someone who’s studied something for years and knows everything there is to know about a certain subject. Social media changes every day, in so many different ways.
Simply getting your business a Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ page, and updating every couple of days no longer cuts it. Social pages have been great for creating brand awareness in the past few years. They provide places for your customers or potential customers to go to check out your business’s personality, ask any questions they might have, and participate on a personal level by “liking” or “favoriting” and commenting on different posts.
Though now, with things like paid Facebook advertising becoming more and more prominent, social outlets may start being less about building brand awareness and more about creating revenue.
The best way to be a “social media expert” is to embrace the ever-changing nature of these sites, and participate in using them every day. Post once or twice a day on everything. Not only will this keep you updated on what’s changing with every site, but it’ll show your audience that you’re present.
Putting little emphasis on creating partner relationships
If you feel like your business is simply maintaining; that it’s no longer gaining new customers on a regular basis, I can’t put enough of an emphasis on exploring different partner relationship options. Partnering with a company introduces your business to an entirely new audience that it wouldn’t have otherwise been introduced to were it not for the partnership.
Even if you’re simply cross-blogging with a new outlet, you’re exposing something you wrote- causing you to be an expert in your field to the eyes of your new readers, to an entirely new audience. You’re also varying up the content on your blog by posting something written by someone else.
I encourage every small business owner to get creative with their partnerships this year. Reach out to companies you haven’t thought of before; really broaden your scope.
Related Article: How to Turn an Ordinary Client into Your Biggest Fan
Spending money in all the wrong places
Every entrepreneur knows you need to spend money to make money. The trouble is: where to spend it? When you first open your doors, it can be tempting to create the perfect, creative, modern space- and understandably so. People do tend to work better when they like the environment they work in.
However, skip the fancy office for now (while in the beginning stages of your business.) Maybe start with a mini fridge over the fully-stocked-hundreds-of-dollars real thing, start with simple desks but comfy chairs, if you have interns- pay them, and celebrate office occasions (like the holiday party and birthdays) in-house with a potluck or cheap catering.
As you grow, feel free to splurge a little more each year. Just remember that no one gets to start with the fancy office. This year, spend your money in places more likely to put money directly back into your pocket.