It’s exciting to think you are starting your own business. If this is your first time as a small business owner, you likely have a lot to learn. It’s not something you need to worry about. Everyone has to experience their first day on the job, even business owners.

As you take the helm and begin guiding your business into the future, you would be well-advised to listen to suggestions from people who have already made the mistakes they can help you avoid. By the way, you are going to make mistakes. If you can accept that and learn from your mistakes, it will all amount to nothing more than an on-the-job education.

As for the mistakes that lie in waiting, there are seven bad habits some business owners acquire that at some point down the road, could put their business in jeopardy. Surely, that’s not what you have in mind for you and your business’s future. To keep you mindful of these bad habits, you need to keep on reading.

Setting Un-Realistic Expectations

As you step out into the business world as a new owner, there really is no way for you to gauge how your business is going to do. You’ve done the forecasting and figured out your profit margins, but there’s just no way for you to be sure your business is going to perform as expected.

The worst thing you can do to yourself and your employees is set unrealistic expectations as it can create a culture of failure. It will likely result in you constantly underperforming, which might lead you to believe you business in failing when maybe it’s not. You are better off setting realistic goals and claiming small victories, which will give you motivate you to keep driving the business forward.

Not Knowing Your Place in the Market

A primary reason why small businesses fail is because the owner has no idea where he stands in the market. Not understanding the market in which you are trying to compete will end up costing you a lot of time and money as you constantly try to make adjustments on the fly while trying to stay with the competition. Pay attention to your target market, what competitors are doing and what your customers want/need from you. Eventually, you might find yourself ahead of the curve, which could result in an opportunity for your business to grab market share.

Failing to Make Time for Planning

Small business owners have a bad habit of trying to hold on too tightly to the business. They get caught up in the minutiae of the trying to run the business, leaving no time for planning for the future of the business. As a small business owner, you have to figure out how to keep one eye on how the business is operating today and the other eye on where you want to take the business in the future. Ensure that you’re also planning time to eat well and get enough sleep, especially with your busy schedule.

Not Cultivating Employees

New business owners have a habit of hiring employees for very specific jobs with the hopes they can keep them in those jobs forever. What these kinds of owners have trouble grasping is many employees have a lot of potential to do good work in other areas. Also, if employees are not fulfilled, they will leave which could be costly and slow down the business. As a business owner, you have an obligation to create a path of advancement for each employee. It’s much easier to promote existing, loyal employees to the higher positions and hire new employees to man the lower positions.

Not Providing Incentives for Employees

When a new small business is in it’s infancy, the business owner has to run the ship with as small a staff as possible. That means all existing employees needs to work with maximum efficiency. Unfortunately, some new business owners don’t understand the concept of motivating employees. Cultivating employees provides them with a path towards more responsibility. Employees also work better and harder with the promise of financial rewards as well.

Lack of Delegation

The biggest mistake small business owners make is trying to be all things to all people. Over time, this kind of small business owner will find themselves overwhelmed with work and no time to make decisions that will help guide the business. You have to be willing to delegate tasks to others. It will free you up to handle the most important responsibilities and give them a sense of importance as a valued player on the team. Why would you hire employees you don’t trust?

Not Creating an Online Presence

Far too many new business owners fail to grasp the importance of having an online presence. The business world is moving forward and social media is the catapult. You have to market your business and products online, at least in part. If you don’t, you will lose business to your competitors who do.

Consider this information as an opportunity to learn both what and what not to do as a small business owner. You’ll still make mistakes but now, you might recognize the mistakes you are making.