Running a successful small business often means avoiding some common business mistakes. Business owners often have great ideas and fantastic skills, but poor execution can make a business much less profitable than it needs to be, not to mention more stressful and likely to lead to burn-out.
No matter how steeped you are in business-ownership experience, you are bound to run into problems at some point. The key to your success is to quickly identify your mistakes, learn from them, and prevent the same mistakes from happening again.
So, what are the biggest mistakes owners make when starting and managing their small businesses?
Not Having Contracts in Place
In business, contracts are important because they outline expectations for both parties, protect both parties if those expectations aren’t met and lock in the price that will be paid for services.
Many small business owners do not start out making clients sign contracts though, and there is a huge risk associated with this practice. As we mentioned, contracts protect nor only you as a business owner, but the client as well. It makes sure expectations are set and everyone knows what will happen if the contract is breached.
But, I’m a small service professional, I don’t need contracts. Well, we disagree. We have seen so many small business owners get burned due to their lack of contracts in place, and we don’t want that to happen to you.
Say for example you are a photographer, you will want a contract in place to let the client know how long the session will be, how many edited photos they will receive, what they can and cannot do with the photos, and how you will handle non-payment disputes and last minute cancellations.
We firmly believe that contracts protect your business no matter what vertical you work in. That is why we offer an easy to use contracts and waivers feature within the PocketSuite app. We allow you to add any contract or waiver you need directly to PocketSuite. It also allows you to add an invoice, so as soon as the contract is signed the app will automatically send it to your client.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to take legal action based on the contract, but it is always better to plan accordingly in order to protect yourself and your business interests. Plan for the worst case scenario, because you don’t want to be caught off guard by a client trying to breach your agreement if you don’t have a contract in place to protect you.
Not Taking Deposits
Another common small business mistake that many people make is not taking up front deposits. We know it can feel awkward asking for money upfront before you perform a service, but trust us, deposits are a must!
Too many times, we have seen small business owners waste time and money, because we know time IS money, because clients no-call-no-show for appointments, and when there is no deposit and cancellation policy in place, the business owner is now completely out the money they would have made from that client. While you can attempt to fill that slot and make up the day, we know that it isn’t always that easy. Plus, having no deposit or cancellation policy in place actually encourages clients to deprioritize their appointment because there are no consequences.
Take a hairstylist for example. Say a client who booked a color and cut decides they don’t want to show up. It isn’t always easy to fill that booking time because people tend to plan their hair in advance and aren’t always able to drop what they had planned to come into the salon to fill an empty slot.
Same goes for a lot of different industries. Tattoo artists also have a hard time with cancellations since it isn’t an industry that allows for people to just come in for a last minute slot. So having a deposit and cancellation policy in place will protect your business interests.
If someone gets upset that you require a deposit, it may be tempting to waive it for them, but honestly, if something that small and simple upsets them, then maybe they aren’t the type of client you want anyways. If the client shows up for their service, the deposit is applied to the price of the service so it isn’t like they are paying extra or losing money by doing this.
PocketSuite makes it easy to take deposits and set your cancellation policy. We are here to support and protect our pros, and having these systems in place is something we know the importance of. That is why we make it easy for our pros to collect on-refundable deposits as soon as someone books with you in our app. And you can always waive a no-show fee if they have a good excuse and you want to let it slide just one time.
Not Automating Simple Tasks
Small business owners tend to have this mentality that they have to do it all, and do it all themselves. We get it, it is your business, your dream, and you want to make sure everything runs correctly. But this is an easy way to get yourself burnt out quickly.
Running a small business takes a lot of time and work. Not only providing your actual service, but also all of the behind the scenes work that has to be done.
For example, when clients want to schedule an appointment with you, what do they have to do now? Maybe they have to call you, speak to you directly to get your availability. Then you have to check your books, see what you have, go back and forth with their availability. Now you have to write them in and get all of their information over the phone. If you are taking a deposit ( as you should), you will have to process that while they are on the phone with you. All the while you probably have another client there waiting on you to get started. Or maybe you can’t even get to the phone because you are with a client and the person who wanted to book is impatient and has decided to go elsewhere. Sounds stressful doesn’t it?
Well, for many businesses you can do all that automatically online with less work or stress from both parties. If you have that kind of business,not allowing clients to book you online is a huge business mistake! If you aren’t letting clients book you through an online booking app, like PocketSuite, then you are wasting both time and money. It’s a simple, time consuming task that for most booking businesses should be automated.
Our app makes it easy for you and the client. With our easy to use client facing widgets, they can see your availability, pick their service, pay the deposit, and get everything scheduled all while you are working with your other clients.
The app makes it easy for you to set up everything as well. You put in your availability, services, and set up your cancellation policies, contracts, and deposits and you are good to go! Not techy? No problem either, we made it easy for everyone to use, but if you want a little extra help, our customer care team will be happy to walk you through setting up your account and helping you get the most out of your booking app.
Don’t Make These Small Business Mistakes
So no matter if you are simply thinking about starting a new business, are in the process of getting started, or have been working on a side hustle for a while that you want to turn into a full time gig, it is important to understand that starting and running a business is a process, not an event. If you take the time to do the thinking and the research and avoid the business mistakes discussed above, you’ll hugely increase the likelihood of your new business succeeding.
If you are ready to take the next step, the small business experts at PocketSuite are ready to help you succeed. As the top all in one small business app, we are here to help your business grow with our smart scheduling, booking, and payment app. Take advantage of our 30-day risk free trial and see how our team can help you grow and reach your top earning potential.