What mistakes has your small business made?

Filed in Small Biz Marketing by Matt McGee on October 6, 2009 3 Comments

The American Express OPEN Forum has another one of those lengthy-but-excellent thought pieces that I’ve linked to in the past — this one is about mistakes that small businesses make.

101 Small Business Mistakes (and What You Can Learn From Them)

Glen Stansberry asked me this time to contribute two mistakes I’ve made as a small business owner. Here’s how I replied:

“My first mistake was not starting. I was afraid of launching my own consulting business, and spent a few months doing something I didn’t really want to do. My heart wasn’t in it, and it probably showed. The lesson for me was about trusting my instincts and intuition, about having faith in myself to dive into the entrepreneurial waters and JUST DO IT. I haven’t looked back. It’s been the second best decision of my life.”


“Trying to be all things to all people. I was somewhat desperate for business at the start, and wasn’t choosy enough in the projects I did. Rather than pursuing every opportunity that comes down the pike, I’ve learned the value of defining my ideal client / project, and only doing that kind of work. I’ve learned that it’s better to have smaller and fewer clients that fit well than to have too many clients that don’t.”

If you identify with either of those as a business owner, I suspect you’ll get something out of the whole article.

Comments (3)

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  1. Stever says:

    Matt, they got your URL wrong in that article.

  2. MikeB says:

    A very good friend of mine said this was his worst mistake he made in his business:
    He had one very good client, an internationally recognizable Name Brand. Over the years this client’s business was so good that it represented 80% of my friend’s business.
    Then suddenly the client had to move to a low-cost center and my friend lost them as a client. His big mistake, he said was to not react immediately and cut the overheads that were there to support the Big Name. He hoped he would be able to find more business to replace them. But the fixed monthly costs kept coming – as they do – and he very quickly found himself in debt that was almost unmanageable.
    He got out of that situation, but it was painful.
    Then the recession hit…

  3. Matt McGee says:

    Yeah, saw that Stever and emailed them. Thx.

    MikeB – good story and good lesson. Thx for sharing it here.

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