Have you ever walked into a business and been really confused or overwhelmed? Maybe it was an overzealous business owner who wanted to share one too many ideas with you. Or maybe the staff was too stand-offish? Maybe you saw products and services that seemed mismatched or unfocused.

There are hundreds of reasons local businesses ultimately don’t make it. Don’t let that be you. We’re here to share common local business mistakes and how businesses like yours often fail or fall short.

Being unfocused.

You probably have a grand vision for what you want your business to look like in 10, 20, even 50 years. (Shoot, if you don’t, dream a little!) But don’t let your vision of success distract you from the objectives right in front of you.

Start with the basics. Develop a concise product or service offering, a realistic business plan, a killer setup, straightforward marketing materials and drive toward delivering flawless customer service.

Mistaking personal experience for business acumen.

If you’ve tended bar for several years, you can totally own and run your own bar, right? Maaaybe. Being an expert at something doesn’t necessarily equate to running a business to support that activity. That’s not to say your expertise isn’t valuable, just make sure you can back it up with a solid business plan and business management processes. You may need to outsource some things, and that’s okay. There are lots of resources and companies out there who can help.

Letting one or two customers represent them all.

Do your research wisely, and let numbers tell the real story – not the one or two squeakiest wheels. Often, you’ll be tempted to focus a majority of your efforts trying to appease a small percentage of dismayed customers. In doing so, you’ll lose focus of keeping others happy and of managing your business.

Not sure who to listen to, or which customers represent the majority? A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help there. These things not only keep you in touch with customers, they serve up customer data on a gold platter, turning things like purchase history, order volume and order frequency into actionable insights.

Trying to do it “on the side”

You may have realized by now that most businesses aren’t actually overnight successes. Realistically, you’ve got to put in the work, and the time, to set yourself up for health and longevity. If you’re still partially devoted to another gig, you likely won’t have enough drive or skin in the game to fully commit to a new business.

It may be a smart idea to begin saving money and planning for your new business before you take the leap and quit your day job. But eventually, something’s got to give to make room for your dream.

Failing to dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s

Most recommend having a lawyer and an accountant on standby. Use them not only to set up your business, but to ensure you’re doing everything by the book throughout the year. Tax laws are complex, and hiring someone who knows what they’re doing will pay for itself in the long run.

Sound like a lot? Of course it does! And your dream of starting your own business didn’t include all that back-office nonsense you often get stuck doing. Step out from behind the desk, and let Thryv do the work. Learn more.