There are plenty of online articles giving advice to SMEs on how to avoid common mistakes but many get stuck into too much detail and forget about the very basic things that businesses get wrong from the start.
So what are the seven deadly SME sins?
1. Underestimating the competition
Whatever line of business you are in there will always be competition in the same field. The biggest sin you can make is to underestimate your competitors, both in terms of their own abilities but also in the ways they can undermine your operations.
This can be something as simple as undercutting your charges right through to specifically targeting your customer base. The only thing you can really do is make sure you stay aware of any potential threats and respond quickly.
2. Charging too much
One way of avoiding being undercut on prices is to make sure you are not charging too much for goods or services in the first place. Being in business is all about making a profit but the need to be competitive in the marketplace you work in is essential for survival.
Customers or clients will always value good services and high quality but the cost is always a factor too, especially in times of austerity and financial hardship where money is tight.
3. Neglecting accounting
Overlooking the details and taking your eye off the ball when it comes to the balance sheets is a cardinal sin for any business and can prove fatal. The availability and cost effectiveness of online cashbook services means that no SME, no matter how small, can be excused for not looking after their accounts properly.
Pride is one of the seven deadly sins and nowhere more so than in business. Believing you own press or thinking you are in an unassailable position is often the stage experienced just before a downfall!
5. Sticking in the mud
It is easy to get stuck in the same old ways of doing things when you run a business, especially if you are successful. However, once again the competition will be looking at ways to get ahead and so you must make sure you are aware of developments in your field.
6. Wasting time
Whether it is because business is slow or simply that you seem to have more spare time than you bargained for, wasting time is probably the biggest sin of all. There is always something to be doing, whether it’s researching new practices or simply getting your name out to potential clients and customers.
7. The customer is always right
And finally, the old cliché – the customer is always right. If you make the mistake of forgetting this you will certainly come to regret it at some point.