I wrote up these three ideas in response to a HARO query looking to compile a list of mistakes small business owners make. If you don’t know what HARO is, you should most definitely check it out.
Anyway, the three mistakes I submitted are as follows…
1) They don’t consult with a CPA before deciding what type of business – LLC, s-corp, sole proprietorship, etc. – they will set up.
2) The small business owner tries to do everything, as opposed to appropriately delegating. Sometimes that’s unavoidable in the beginning stages. However, being a one person shop doesn’t excuse things like trying to design your own logo – unless you’re a graphic artist!
3) They make the business an extension of who they are as a person. This means, instead of making business decisions they are making personal decisions. Instead of “it’s not personal, it’s business” it becomes, “it’s not business, it’s personal.”
It wouldn’t do much good to just throw out these mistakes and then not give you ways to resolve them. So, in order, here are the ways to resolve these mistakes if you’ve already made them. I thought about apologizing if this comes across preachy, but when I think about it, some people might need to hear this. A little tough love, if you will.
1) It’s never too late to hire a CPA. So, get a referral for one, from your lawyer, from your bookkeeper, or from me. Be open and honest with them and take their suggestions and recommendations seriously. I’d do it now before the end of the year, especially if you should have been filing quarterlies.
2) If you’re the small business owner that’s trying to wear every hat, as a small business owner myself, I sympathize with you, but I’m also going to tell you to knock it off. There’s no reason a small business owner should be running errands or cleaning bathrooms, unless you literally can’t afford to hire someone. That said, if hiring someone puts you in a position to generate more revenue, then this solution speaks for itself. You just have to be willing to give up a little bit of control. But having a team you can trust makes it easier to delegate. Just remember, trust rolls downhill.
3) That saying “it’s not personal, it’s business” is a saying for a reason. It means that as a business owner you should constantly be making the best decisions for your company. Not for yourself. Remember this the next time a client fires you, or you have to fire a client. They might be making a personal decision, but that doesn’t mean you have to.