Are You Making These 11 Common Business Owner Mistakes

Even big businesses fail frequently. The following are common mistakes made by most business owners, large and small, which can lead to business failure if left unchecked.

1 Keeping the Books in Your Head

Most business owners have a reasonable idea of what their financial position is and what their profit margin is, but most also sail terribly close to the wind and even end up embarrassed from time to time because their financial feedback is not current, well-designed, or able to give fingertip control. Poor financial “engineering” is like trying to steer with a spanner instead of a steering wheel – dicey stuff!

2 Failing to Systematise

Whenever systematisation is absent, errors and inefficiency abound – there’s just no getting away from it. If you are a business owner who does not work from prioritised, scheduled lists, and does not have detailed written procedures for every task undertaken, then you (and every member of your staff) are certainly wasting as much as 50% of each day in repetition, correction of errors, information seeking, and re-decision.

3 Failing to Replicate/Delegate

While ever an owner is working “in” the business rather than “on” it, he or she is robbing the business of the most important contribution he/she could make: the vision and passion that caused them to start the business in the first place! You can’t take the wider view, and provide appropriate guidance, when you are “on the tools”, and you can’t easily grow your business either.

4 Failing to Plan

Every business needs a detailed map of where they are going, apart from the business plan. This will contain, amongst other things, key indicators for infrastructure acquisition, tied to financial events. To attempt to grow without this in place is like trying to sail through a rock-infested strait!

5 Not Understanding the Difference between Profit and Cashflow

In most businesses there is a substantial difference between profit and available cash. You need to take steps to minimise that difference, and to plan activities based around a sound understanding of both!

6 Overestimating the Importance of Price in the Client’s Mind

So you’ve got a great product, at a fantastic price, backed up by great service. You’ve advertised and now you expect people to flock to you? Trying to sell on the logic of product/price/service will only have you tearing your hair out. Certainly these things matter, but not half as much as the EMOTIONAL NEED your client is actually satisfying by purchasing your product or service. If you don't know what that emotional need is, or how to communicate to your client that you can solve it, then you will certainly be on struggle street.

7 Guessing Instead of Testing

In business there’s a great tendency to do things because that’s the way it’s always been done, or because that’s the way other people do it. If you’ve had scientific training you’ll understand that just because people “believe” something is true doesn’t mean that it is. Make decisions based only on the evidence available to you. Is a piece of advertising (that you’re paying big bucks for) actually working? Where is the cold, hard evidence!

8 Fudging on Consulting – Going for the “Cheap” Solution

Some of the best marketing strategies in the world are free or almost free, but you’ll have to pay to acquire them. Trust me, trying to re-invent the wheel will cost you far more than paying an expert with a sound track record to show you the way!

Likewise, don’t even think about trying to write your own copy for your web site, brochures, or other public documents. Pay a talented copywriter to make your message compelling!

9 Failing to Design and Implement Strategies to Attract and Retain Talented Staff and/or Contractors

In this shrinking labour market, and with loyalty at an all-time low, it pays to work on becoming an “Employer of Choice” through implementation of proven staff management strategies. Sure you’ll have to pay an expert to help you set this up, but you’ll save ten times that much in staff losses, absenteeism, and re-training! You'll also find that productivity increases by at least 30%.

10 Failing to Look After Themselves

Small business owners are notoriously bad at self-care. They forget there’s more to life than business, and rob themselves of opportunities to enjoy and grow in other areas. They’re dancing on thin ice, because they’re also robbing themselves of their passion, energy and creativity for their business.

11 Failing to Realise the Importance of Continued Learning

Business owners need to become rabid learners, not just to keep up with developments in their field and in the market, but to even survive!

There are other mistakes that business owners make, but these eleven above are certainly the most common. Eliminating these mistakes will put you in the top 10% of successful business owners. As a member of Speed Business Networking, there are a wealth of resources to help you avoid business mistakes, and leapfrog to success using proven strategies.

Once you become a member of Speed Business Networking, just hop on the forums and click "reply" in order to post your questions and get fast help to execute these and other essential business development strategies!

Wishing you the greatest success

Christine Sutherland

PS: Mark Walsh, president of VerticalNet, says that business people who avoid on-line strategies are “like dinosaurs that gather together to eat the last leaves."

Don’t be a dinosaur, take the plunge into on-line business communities and reap the benefit, not just today, but for your future!

Your Simple Steps to Easy Business Development

1 Download the free ebook “Speed Business Networking – the Manual” to understand a much more effective (and more fun) approach to utilising networking to get real results. Your business community is your key to success if only you know how to build it, not only for referrals, but for advocacy, strategic alliances, and generous sharing of expertise.

2 As well as attending your business community’s networking events (and of course we recommend you join Australia’s ORIGINAL Speed Business Networking group), and getting help to carry out your own schedule of informal networking for warm referrals, diarise at least one hour a week where you will LEARN and USE far easier, faster ways to take your business to that next level, enjoying more success than you ever dreamed possible, with far less stress than you have experienced up till now.

3 A vast range of business development resources is available free of charge on


Christine Sutherland is an Australian entrepreneur, clinical researcher, author and trainer, and the founder of My Speed Business Network, an interactive business community with a vast array of free business development resources. Her NLP Training is legendary!

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