Just because your Yelp reviews are outstanding and your clients love to recommend your services doesn’t mean your business is going to succeed. If you don’t know what it takes to run a small business, you may find yourselves as one of the roughly 50 percent of small businesses that don’t survive beyond their first five years. No matter what type of business you own, whether you’re an IT professional, legal or real estate expert, you may know your profession like, well, a pro, but lack knowledge of some basic small business fundamentals.
Here are three ways you can get yourself and your business in trouble:
Scenario: You need help! Luckily you found someone who can come into your office, work beside you, use your computer and whom you can give specific directions to about how you want him or her to get something done. And, you’ve hired the person as an independent contractor so you don’t have to pay employment taxes or provide benefits.
Where you went wrong: You might think you’ve got it made, but in reality, the IRS might consider your worker an employee and penalize your business.
Solution: Hire through an agency or check with your accountant to make sure you’re following the IRS rules for independent contractors.
2. Customer Service:
Scenario: Business is going so great you can’t keep up with all the phone calls and emails you’re receiving, but you pride yourself on being the only expert your client wants to talk to.
Where you went wrong: Once your business has grown so big you too busy to return a call or email the same day, it’s time to take action.
Solution: Time to hire a part-time worker to answer calls and emails and take messages. If you’re not comfortable with that, then hire someone to help you get other work done, so you deal with clients yourself.
Scenario: When you started your business, all you needed was a brochure-type website clients could see to look up information about your company, but you haven’t had time to update it since.
Where you went wrong: Smart business owners know a website needs to be more than a brochure. Are you employing SEO strategies to boost your search engine rankings? Are you updating content regularly so your website is dynamic and rises organically in search rankings? Is your website mobile-friendly, so clients can see and easily navigate your site on their mobile devices?
Solution: To bring your site up to date, you’ll likely need to call in the experts who can not only fix what needs fixing,but offer continuous updates and suggestions when new technology becomes available.
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