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Mistakes I Made as a First-Time Business Owner

When starting a small business, it can be easy to imagine all the success yet to come: fancy business vacations, expensive cars and homes, pursuing your passion, waking up and setting your own schedule and even taking care of your beloved family members. With over 582 million people around the world owning their own successful businesses, having your own business is definitely an obtainable and realistic dream to have. However, running your own business also comes with a lot of unexpected and time-consuming sacrifices and even with all the preparation in the world, you are still bound to make mistakes and stumble on your first venture. With all this in mind, taking the leap to follow your dreams and start your own business can seem scary—but don’t worry! These are all the most common mistakes all small business owners make along the way and the steps you can take to avoid them in your pursuit of passion, success, fame and fortune! 

Registry and Obtaining a Business EIN

When starting my fashion business, Keziah Amaree, I was completely uninformed about the importance of keeping your personal finances and business finances separate from one another. Of course, many people are probably aware of the taxes that come with registering your business and creating your own business account, but did you know there are also many benefits to this decision as well? By registering your business with your state, your business name is automatically protected from unauthorized branding by others.

In the long run, when you are the mogul of your own small business empire, it will be highly beneficial in avoiding smaller companies or even scam artists trying to make a profit off your business without your consent. Another major benefit is that, in case of unexpected legal situations, your personal assets will be exempt and protected from liability lawsuits or business dealings. For example, if a person sues a natural soap company for giving them a rash, that person’s personal assets (i.e., car, house, personal money) will not be put forth as collateral because the business is considered a separate entity. Although paying taxes can be nightmarish, the long term benefits for you and your small business are definitely worth considering. 

Choosing the Right Platforms

In the middle of a pandemic, starting an online business has become an excellent way to make use of a seemingly never-ending quarantine while bringing in additional income. However, choosing the right platform for a small business can truly become the difference between a side hobby and a multi-million dollar business in today’s markets. With consumers wanting more things to be available faster and quicker, it is important to choose a platform that properly supports your needs as a small business owner. When considering a platform, consider how it will be able to serve your needs. Can it give you a visually appealing site? Will it be easy for your customers to navigate through and place orders? Does it give you easy and efficient ways to manage inventory? In order for your business to run smoothly and successfully, considering these needs and how different platforms can satisfy them will make all the difference in your success. 

Marketing 

When asked to pick somewhere to eat after a long day of classes, are you more likely to pick the local diner that no one has ever heard of or been to before or Chipotle, with its tasty burritos and delicious seasonings? If you picked the first option, I commend and respect your decision to support small business and try something new, but after a long day of classes, even I would have to say Chipotle. Through their marketing, Chipotle has been able to create a reputation as a reliable, healthy option that is quick and considerate of your time with fast service.

Even if you personally don’t feel this way or this is not always the case, this business has convinced enough people of this identity to become a national mogul for good food. The difference between these two businesses is their identity with consumers and the marketing techniques each business used to cultivate these identities. Your most important job as a small business owner is to create an identifiable brand within your market and a consistent enough image that will make people both consciously and subconsciously choose you over your competitors. 

Reaching Out For Help

My final tip for anyone looking to take the leap into launching their own small business is this: never be afraid to ask for help. By admitting you are unsure or uninformed when a problem presents itself, you are giving yourself the opportunity to learn and to be better prepared next time the problem arises. In the middle of a pandemic, it can seem hard to find mentorship or even the answers to seemingly difficult questions.

As a small business owner, it is now your responsibility to get creative and find new, fun ways to get access to this information. Currently, there are so many free online courses, internships, YouTube videos, video seminars and small business networking circles to connect with. Put yourself and your business out there—even though it can be terrifying, the benefits you will gain and the people you will meet will make it totally worth it.  

Owning any small business definitely will come with its ups and downs, but the immense pride and freedom you will feel in the end is totally worth it. If this article has inspired you, start your journey to success today! Continue to research and study, look for new opportunities and find your own resources, and soon enough, you will become more confident and assured of your skills than ever before. Good luck, everyone! 

Keziah is a writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. HCXO!
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