C. E. “Tee” Rowe
President and CEO, America’s SBDC
Every year, Americans start businesses with the hope of achieving financial success, independence, and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, many times those dreams are never realized. Too often the enthusiasm and energy that small business owners put into their business isn’t matched by the planning and skills needed to survive.
At America’s SBDCs, 62 small business development center networks nationwide and their nearly 1,000 centers, we find that a solid business plan and a brilliant business concept need to be married to a serious understanding of the financial and management needs of running a business.
Too many businesses believe marketing is their key to success, but hemorrhaging cash is the secret silent killer. So to the aspiring entrepreneurs, here are the five myths small businesses believe in that lead to failure:
1. Don’t ask for help
“You’re smart, you’ve got this.” Nobody has got it. There are so many free resources out there, and the biggest mistake many small business owners make is not using those resources. There are nearly 1,000 small business development centers nationwide – why would you ignore free help?
2. Don’t sweat your cash flow
Money is the lifeblood of your business. There are so many platforms out there to help you manage, including Intuit, Finagraph, and others. A whole industry is geared to keep your finances on an even keel – ignore them at your peril.
3. Don’t engage in social media
“It’s noisy, it’s messy, and I don’t understand it.” Really? It’s out there in every customer’s purse or pocket. Why would you avoid your customers?
4. Don’t worry about hiring
“You just need warm bodies; you’ve got a business to run.”More problems arise from poor hiring practices than almost anything else. One careless employee can cost more than you can imagine.
5. Don’t sweat the details
Keep details under control and you’ll succeed. Paperwork is tedious, but lost opportunities and lost money are far worse. A license snafu here, a tax bill there, and you’re suddenly spending all your time catching up instead of moving forward.
It all comes down to planning. The best idea in the world still needs planning – a marketing plan, a management plan, production plans. The great businesses thrive on passion and individuality, but they fail from poor implementation. Find a mentor, control your cash flow, live on social media, hire the right people, stay focused, and you’ll go far.