Subscribe for updates from our blog so you don’t miss out:
Every business owner makes mistakes. They’re a natural part of starting a company. Some mistakes even end up being positive – they show you where your business needs to change and adapt as you grow, and they help you identify weaknesses in your strategy.
But some mistakes aren’t opportunities for growth, they’re just expensive, time consuming, and frustrating. These aren’t one-off errors that teach you something, they’re major, ongoing problems that affect your profitability.
As a relatively new business, Roll has experienced some of these mistakes first hand. Because we work with small to medium businesses every day, we’ve also seen other organisations go through them.
Here are some of the most common, most costly mistakes – and how you can avoid them.
Recruitment is one of the most important – and challenging – parts of running a business. Finding the right person for the job can be time consuming and frustrating, which is why some businesses rush into hires that end up being unsuitable and damaging.
A bad hire obviously costs you money in terms of salary, but it adds expense in other areas as well. You’ll waste time on training and management that would be better spent on a more suitable person; poor quality work may affect clients’ perceptions of your business; and it can be difficult to get someone out of a role once they’re in.
Taking the time to develop robust recruitment processes helps you avoid these problems. Depending on your business, this could mean creating a thorough interview process, developing tests to help you weed out unqualified applicants, or using a professional recruitment agency to help you manage the process.
More software, more problems
The right software can solve many of your business problems – we should know. But overcapitalising on software is a common, and costly, business mistake.
Choosing the best available software system for each business function can seem like a good idea, but can end up being expensive and unwieldy. Do you really need different software programs for accounting, process management, back and front office functions, time tracking, invoicing, and timesheets? Even if each application only costs a few dollars a month, the cost adds up quickly. And making your staff use a number of non-integrated systems adds time that could probably be better spent elsewhere.
Choosing a system that covers a number of essential functions – like Roll, for example – is one solution. You may still need to invest in specific apps to manage some processes, but you’ll be able to cut down on the time and expense that comes with a huge software stack.
Overcomplicating the issue
Running a business involves a huge number of internal processes – big, small, simple and complex. You’ll have a process for invoicing, a process for quoting, a process for managing incoming emails, even a process for saving important work. If you start out as a small business, these systems may be overly complicated and inefficient as you grow.
Inefficient processes can be costly in terms of time, and they can result in other, less obvious costs. New clients may be lost if the process for following up email enquiries isn’t fast enough. Rework might be required if your internal communication isn’t up to scratch. If your invoicing process doesn’t work properly, client payments can slip through the cracks.
Streamlining your internal systems and processes helps make them easier to manage, and helps you avoid losing clients or jobs. For example, you might invest in a software solution to manage invoicing and quoting. You can develop a set process and designate a staff member to deal with incoming client inquiries. A process for saving work so all your staff members know where to find it is a good idea too. It’s about making things run smoothly and avoiding silly mistakes.
Underestimating, under-quoting, undercharging
For people in creative industries in particular, it can be difficult to value your own work and charge clients appropriately. And if you start out charging too little, you’ll set client expectations at a certain level, making it harder to raise prices in the future.
Avoiding undercharging involves looking at what similar businesses are charging in your area, and figuring out how much time you and your staff are spending on each job. Sometimes, jobs that seem quick and easy actually have unexpected costs in terms of revisions or client support.
Software designed to track time – like Roll, for example – can help you refine this over time. As long as you and your staff use it consistently, you’ll be able to see the jobs that take the most time so you can quote and charge appropriately.
Mistakes are inevitable. The important thing is identifying them and finding solutions before they cost your business too much money and time.
At Roll, we’ve worked hard to develop a pretty great solution to a number of common business mistakes. Our software is designed to manage incoming work, create quotes, and track time against specific jobs. It gives you a bird’s eye view of your business and helps stop work slipping through the cracks in your system.
Keen to stop making business mistakes? Get in touch for a chat with the Roll team.