As a previous small retail business owner and a small business consultant, I have seen and experienced many small business mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes I routinely see is new businesses biting off more than they can chew. With the mega stores that have a little of everything, many new business owners think they need to compete and offer more. In other words, they think quantity is more important than quality. It is this train of thought that tends to end in business closure.
More Is Not Always Better
One business I worked with was created by a wedding consultant. She is a fantastic consultant and was working to grow her business in consulting. However, business wasn't growing fast enough, and she figured if she opened up a one-stop wedding shop that offered everything from the dresses and tuxedos to the tableware, she would see more business. What happened in the end was she spread herself too thin and none of the areas grew. She was not able to spend time promoting her consulting because she was trying to run a retail shop. In this case, being a one-stop shop meant no business, and in less than a year, she was closing her doors and going back to just her consulting business.
Focus on One Area
If you are just starting your business, I suggest sitting down and determining what the main focus of your business is going to be. If you specialize in "X," then focus on "X." You don't need to add "Y" and "Z" right away. Taking the time to focus on a single product line or service allows you to give 100 percent to that product or service and show potential customers that you know your business.
Set Goals for Growth
If you think that "Y" and "Z" would complement your business, then sit down and set up some target goals. For instance, if you sell 1,000 units of "X" in three consecutive months, you will make a plan to add "Y." Working now as a freelance writer, I set my new client goals based on my productivity in the previous months. For example, if I have had a string of a few months with easy deadlines and extra time, I consider adding a new client or contract. I don't want to add too many too quickly, or I will spread myself too thin and not produce the quality I want to.
Add New Areas as You Grow
As your business grows and you meet the goals you set, you may find that adding new products and services will help you expand and grow your business. Once you have your base business solid and are bringing in regular income through regular customers and clients, you will have a bigger budget to branch out and try new things. As an established business, you have clients who are aware of your business practices and product quality. This makes adding new services easier because there is already a level of confidence in your business.
A successful business is not always one that offers everything anyone could possibly need. A successful business is one that offers quality products and services and has the trust and respect of its customers. Starting small and adding on as you grow allows you to concentrate on your business and its success instead of spreading yourself too thin.
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