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3 Most Devastating Small Business Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them)

By: SmallBizClub


4 Pitfalls Successful Startups Must Avoid

As a small business owner, you’re juggling a lot of details, decisions and doing a lot of hard work to keep your business solvent and successful.  You may also be familiar with the grim statistics that almost half of all small businesses fail within the first five years of being open.  While this figure certainly doesn’t inspire, it may very well motivate you to do everything possible to avoid being part of that statistic.

What’s more, you’re likely under a ton of pressure to handle the endless aspects and functions required to keep your business running smoothly.   With this in mind, we wanted to help you identify some potential problems before you encounter them so you can work with less stress and keep your businesses thriving.  The following are the most common (and devastating) small business pitfalls, and how to avoid them.

Security is Key

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of doing business is neglecting proper security.  In fact, according to Cybercrime Magazine, small businesses spent over $20 trillion in repairs caused by cyber attacks last year alone.  Furthermore, the same source cites that 43% of small businesses fall victim to security breaches committed by internet criminals. 

Today, small businesses need to take an assertive, full-spectrum approach to IT security and online protection.  Installing an antivirus on a computer is okay, but it’s a meager effort when you consider the aforementioned risks to small business security.

You can dodge this devastating pitfall of compromised security by obtaining a managed security services provider (MSSP).  A qualified MSSP gives you instant peace of mind because they handle every aspect of your businesses cyber security needs.  A crackerjack MSSP will provide you with essential services such as malware remediation, software patch management, antivirus services, device health monitoring – all while giving you current reports on the status of your business IT security.

Having this safeguard in place is godsend to any SMB owner’s sanity and peace of mind.  Just remember, without it, you may run the risk of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars due to cyber attacks – not to mention losing the trust of customers who might have been affected by a cyber hacker targeting your business.

Outsourcing Is a Must

If you’re like most SMB owners, you put your heart and soul into your business every day.  You also invest an exhausting amount of hours and hard work.  This likely takes you away from friends, family, recreation, or just old-fashion relaxation.  The result of all these long hours and herculean efforts are multitudinous.  

At the very least, you might experience isolation, which could lead to depression or emotional instability.  You might also experience burnout, which could thwart your progress in developing your small business.  At the worst, doing everything and keeping up an impossible pace could lead to major health problems which could take you out of the game altogether.

You can avoid lost time, health issues and stalls in productivity by outsourcing.  Most small business owners tend to shirk at the prospect of delegating or outsourcing.  They often feel too connected to the business, and are reluctant to let go of the reins.  Nonetheless, outsourcing is a benefit and boon that should happen in order for you and your business to experience ultimate functionality and growth. 

Start small by handing off daily functions to a secretarial service. Then, branch out to passing your website development or payroll processing to professional providers.  The more chores you release in the capable hands of reliable third parties, the more productive you will be in running your small business.

Keep Expectations Reasonable

One of the most admirable and necessary qualities of a small business owner is their ambition.  They raise the bar, take risks and have high expectations for success.  There’s nothing wrong with this, but sometimes these expectations might be hindering more than helpful. 

To explain, setting unrealistic standards can be a downer on team spirits when things don’t work out as you expected.  Furthermore, it might become increasingly hard to overcome disappointment when goals aren’t met when or how you intended.  As a result, you and your SMB team might feel defeated, and unwilling to move forward with other business plans.  You can avoid this emotional pitfall by strategizing in ways that are practical, reasonable and pragmatic. 

If you run a small business, you know better than anyone that it is not for the weak of heart.   It takes grit, gumption, hard work and good sense.  However, even the most accomplished small business owner should know about and plan for these top potential SMB pitfalls in order to avoid setbacks for long-term business success.

Published: May 17, 2022

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SmallBizClub.com is dedicated to providing small businesses and entrepreneurs the information and resources they need to start, run, and grow their businesses. The publication was founded by successful entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton. We bring you the most insightful thinking from industry leaders, veteran business owners, and fellow entrepreneurs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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