Three pitfalls to avoid as a small business owner

By Henry Brown

Starting and running a small business profitably is never easy. The journey is full of pitfalls, both for novice and seasoned business owners. Each new day will present its set of challenges that will require you to be on top of your game. You are always trying out new ideas, integrating and improving based on customer feedback, and adapting your business model to fit in with new technology and market trends.

This process is never perfect, and you are bound to make mistakes. However, some mistakes can be costly for a small business and easily drive you out of business. You are good to go if you can get by without making the following mistakes.

Working without a plan

You need a plan. A good plan acts as a codebook for your business operations.  It will help you sustainably fund your business, manage the capital projections, plan your revenue, and carry out the general business expenses in an organized manner. If you operate without a financial plan, you are likely to go bankrupt in no time.

A sound plan will also help you effectively strategize your business operations and manage the resources, including the human resources in your business. With this plan, you will know what skills you need in the employees you will hire and the number of employees that can effectively deliver according to your business needs.

Developing a good business plan will help you plan your finances, manage your resources efficiently, hire qualified people and set up your business to succeed.

Having very little knowledge about your business partner

Before agreeing to partner with someone, ensure that you get as much information as possible about the individual. Are your prospective partners reliable and honest in their previous dealings with people? Do they possess unique problem-solving skills that will help the business?

Taking time to find if they possess these attributes and more will help you know if you can trust them to do business with them or not.

Additionally, it is essential to agree on each partner’s role and divide the responsibilities to avoid significant disagreements in the future. You could never go wrong with anything if the foundation is steady.

As a small business owner, the biggest mistake you could make is assuming that since your partner is your friend, it is unlikely that you will ever get significant differences in your business operations as the business grows in the future.

However, keep in mind that as the business dynamics change, you must adapt and make changes to match the progress, and if you are not on the same page with your partner, it will lead to lots of disagreements.

You can prevent future disputes by knowing as much as possible about your partner and constantly keeping tabs with them to make sure you are both working towards the same goal.

Expecting instant success

When starting a small business, it is inevitable to have so many expectations. However, don’t let these expectations cloud your judgment. You will undoubtedly struggle with many things in the first few months. For instance, you will find  your name out there and get clients streaming in. Once you manage to get a client or two, the hustle in trying to satisfy their expectations in the services and your products to tell a friend and come back again is another challenge.

Popularizing your business might be a hustle, and you may find the need to hire influencers to help you achieve that. Also, you could get paid promotions on social media, tell friends and clients to tell others about your work.

Finally, you will feel guilty about getting the profit out of the business at first since you will be torn between rewarding your efforts and reinvesting the profits back into your business. Be patient with yourself and take the mistakes that you learn as lessons.

Remember, quality will be your biggest advertisement; providing quality products and services will bring your customers back for more. So despite the challenges you are likely to go through, the fact that you are still in the business and getting through another day and sticking to your plan means you are on the right path to success.


Starting and running a business, no matter how small, requires a great deal of capital, time and resources. It is a learning journey, and you will likely make mistakes along the way. Hopefully, you have learned the three grave mistakes you should avoid.  As an entrepreneur, you mustn’t waste time beating yourself on how you wish you could have known better when you make a mistake. Instead, pick yourself up, brush off the dust, and keep trying and pushing. Success is on the horizon.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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