When it comes to succeeding as a small business owner, the fact is that there’s no one secret to success. However, after spending 30-plus years in the business world, much of it coaching other small business owners, I have realized that there are a few actions guaranteed to spell failure for your SMB. Here are 5 things that you as a small business owner should avoid at all costs:

1. Do Not Spend Employee Tax Contributions

Thinking of using your employee tax contributions for needed business improvements? Think again! You would be shocked to know how many small business owners dip their hands into these company deposits. This is a fatal flaw and also one that’s illegal. In the eyes of the IRS, these deposits belong to the Feds, and spending them on company purchases is a seriously bad idea.

2. Do Not Dilute Business Ownership

If your small business is low on funds, you might be tempted to distribute a percentage of your company. Unfortunately, diluting your business ownership with sweat equity can cause serious problems down the line. If you anticipate a time when you need to flip your business, or hire some high-end personnel, then avoiding this course is probably wise.

3. Do not use a Shotgun Approach to Sales

It’s no secret that a business relies on healthy sales figures in order to survive.  However, SMBs that take a shotgun approach to selling are likely wasting their time.  Instead of marketing to the widest possible audience, aim to target those customers who are most likely to buy your goods and services.

4. Do Not Forget Your Goals

You can’t measure your business’ success—or failure—if you neglect to keep track of your goals. To ensure you stay accountable, make your goals measurable, time- sensitive, and not too far in the future. Doing this ensures you stop procrastinating and take the action steps you need to succeed.

5. A Warm Body is Not a Partner

Small business owners know that their employees are the hearts and souls of their businesses and the ones who interact with customers on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, not all workers are created equal.  If you hire your friends just to have “butts in the chairs,” you might be doing your business serious harm in the long run.  For best results, take time to find the right man or woman for the job rather than selecting the first resume to come across your desk.

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Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts is a highly trained engineer/manager with extensive leadership experience.  He has demonstrated an ability to quickly understand and lead various organizations technologies.  He has worked at all levels of leadership including quality, manufacturing and process engineering in more than 5 countries.  As a leader and as a consultant he has managed and trained in all lean concepts.  He has extensive knowledge in products ranging from batteries to microelectronics.  He has demonstrated the ability to assemble and develop high performance organizations.  He has spent nearly 10 year living outside of the US and has world wide business experience.


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