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What are the biggest mistakes that small businesses make?

Enterprise Nation members talk about the biggest mistakes they made in the early days of starting up their small business.

Thinking there’s a ‘right way’ to do business

My biggest mistake was thinking that there was one right way to do things. I spent so much time trying to make sure I was taking all the right steps in the right order, when actually, as long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other you will find your way. You can refine things later, just give yourself a list of aims and go for it!

Hannah Whitehead, Good Deed Dating


Snatching at offers

Everyone makes lots of mistakes in their first venture but my biggest was probably snatching at the first offers I had. I was so eager to get started that I spent money on things that in hindsight were unnecessary – I spent way too much money on photography for instance. I don’t regret that though. I learnt my lessons.

Theo Wasserberg, Tahouts


Not thinking ahead

For the first version of our website I allowed the web development company to use a more obscure ecommerce platform which made it difficult to update the site and add new features. We ended up rebuilding everything on a much better known platform in order to scale. You really need to be careful with the money that you’re using in marketing and be really clear what is the return on investment.

Ana Rodriguez, Santamaria Shirt Makers


Being too trusting

We trusted a lot of people at the beginning and you really should do your research on businesses. There are a lot of people out there that just want to make a quick buck out of a small company and we’ve lost significant money because we trusted people to deliver things that they never actually did, like websites and SEO. We’ve learnt to do research on the internet about who we’re dealing with, look for reviews, ask for details of current clients and speak to them. If you find negative feedback, it tends to be for a reason.

Sabrina Bluck, CoCo Loves


No strategy

Most businesses that fail, fail because they don’t have a strategy.

Quentin Pain, Legendary Business Owners


Thinking a website is all it takes

The biggest mistake I made was thinking that the moment I pressed ‘publish’ on my website, the sales were going to come flooding in. I remember pressing the publish button on my first website and then wondering why my emails weren’t suddenly pinging frantically with sales.

Maryhan Baker, Brainboost Box


Trying to do everything at once

I was guilty of trying to do too much, too soon when I started out. It’s a trait of mine and I have to reign myself in. I like to call it enthusiasm! I’ve learnt to say no to opportunities and my strategy now is to do less but do it well.

Claire Burrows, Air & Grace


Enterprise Nation launched in 2005 and has since helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder Emma Jones MBE, it’s also a leading campaigning voice for small business with the Government.

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