3 “Little” Mistakes that Can Kill Your Small Business

They’re little mistakes. At least, most people would like to think they are.

When most people start a business, they’re concerned with a lot of “important” things like the size of their market, who their competitors are, their positioning and their marketing plan. After all, isn’t that mostly what it takes to build a successful business, or is it?

Of course, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the above things are not important or should not be considered. They are very important. However, there are also little things that could singlehandedly destroy your business; they’re little things, yet very powerful. Pay more attention to them and your small business won’t remain the same.

1. Ignoring Your Customers

Exactly how powerful can your customers be?

Most small businesses focus on bringing in new customers and revamping their marketing strategy than they actually focus on retaining existing ones. This is a mistake.

To put things in perspective, here are some important facts every small business should consider:

  • 86 percent of people quit doing business with a company due to bad customer experience
  • Loyal customers are worth 10x the value of their first purchase
  • It is 6 – 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one

These are some interesting facts and you can find more in this Helpscout infographics. However, the point remains the same; your customers that you have are the most important assets your business have, not the ones you’re yet to acquire.

If you keep focusing on attracting new customers to the detriment of your old ones, you’ll never be truly profitable; real businesses that build their business around their customers get to the point where they never really need to market themselves. Their customers do it for them. This is the most important form of marketing and it is called customer marketing.

2. Not Taking Payments Seriously

If you’ve built your business and have done everything you can to ensure you attract the right customers to check out what you have to offer, the last thing you should do is to make it difficult for them to pay you for your services; this is especially important online.

What if you find out that a simple field that shouldn’t be in your payment form is costing your business $12 million annually, how will you handle it? Ok, what if a simple form is costing your business $300 million is revenue annually?

Of course, it sounds outrageous and impossible but these two things actually happened. Online travel firm, Expedia, lost $12 million annually due to a particular field in their web form that shouldn’t be there; this field was confusing customers and as a result people were leaving. Removing this field resulted in a major revenue boost for them.

Also, something similar was happening to a major e-commerce website; by having a registration form on their website and making it a requirement for people to register before they buy, they were losing $300 million every year.

Don’t be smart when it comes to marketing only to be ignorant when it comes to getting paid. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose the right payment processor and let people be able to pay you however they want; don’t restrict yourself to Paypal only or some other major payment processor. Let people be able to pay you through any means possible.
  • Assure people that their payment information is safe with you; have verification seals on your website and use SSL. Let people realize that they have nothing to fear.
  • Remove unnecessary fields and forms that will prevent people from buying from you; make sure it’s extremely easy for them to buy whenever they want to, without having to make additional commitments.
  • Constantly tweak and test your payment system to ensure everything is working fine; you never know what’s really happening until you test it.

3. Not being Faster than You Can

This is especially important if your business operates mostly online; speed matters a lot!

Recent data has shown that slow websites cost the US ecommerce market up to $500 billion annually and that a one second delay in your website speed could be costing you 7% in conversions.

In other words, being slow is going to cost you money. Also, when things get worse and people start to complain to their friends, you’ll start to lose customers you could otherwise have gotten.

Google and other major search engines now use site speed as a factor when it comes to ranking other websites, so how fast your website is could actually make a lot of difference.

Invest a lot into your website and make it faster by constantly tweaking it; remove elements you don’t need and hire experts to help you look into it. The increase in the site speed will be worth it for you.