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Dear New Business Owner: 'Overnight Success' Takes Years To Achieve

Here are some of the top missteps small business owners make on their path to greatness.

10/17/2017 09:18 EDT | Updated 10/17/2017 09:18 EDT
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Being your own boss, making your own hours and watching your dreams become reality are just part of the allure of running your own business. Entrepreneurial ventures can be very rewarding, but take a lot of effort. No matter how business savvy you are, starting a company can come with a fair share of frustrations and problems along the way. The key to entrepreneurial success is to identify any potential problems, work through them and learn from them so future headaches can be avoided. Here are some of the top missteps small business owners make on their path to greatness.

Trying to get rich overnight

Isn't it everyone's pipe dream to develop an amazing product and become instantly rich? If you go into things believing you'll be the next Richie Rich, you're going to be disappointed quickly, and your passion for your vision will rapidly diminish. It's important to realize that, in reality, an "overnight success" actually takes 15 to 20 years to achieve. True success takes time and effort. Be patient and persistent and give your company a chance to grow and spread its wings.

Having a hazy marketing strategy

First impressions are everything. Your company must present a clear and concise marketing message on all fronts from the get-go, so prospects will have a solid understanding of what you can offer. Mixed messages are confusing and will send clients running in the opposite direction. You know what you are doing and it's important to send the message to others that your company is trustworthy.

Doing too much on your own

As much as you may want to go at it alone, believing you can do everything by yourself will be detrimental to your company's success. A thriving company needs a dedicated team of trusted individuals to keep it viable. This group includes financial experts, tax experts and legal experts. Know when to ask for help from a professional in your team.

Failing to think outside a traditional business loan

Of course, businesses need cash to take off. This doesn't mean you have to limit your funding sources to traditional financial institutions. You can access a variety of government grants and programs to help get your small business up and running. Think outside the box and get creative with where you can obtain funds. A listing of government grants and loans can be found via the federal government's Canada Business Network at www.canadabusiness.ca.

Not understanding your market

Charging into a market you don't understand can have detrimental effects on your business. Have a good understanding of who your market is and who your customers are. If you own a pet-grooming business, for example, do your research and talk to people who are in the market for advice so you can meet the needs of your customers. A little bit of extra work in the beginning will save you a lot of headaches in the end.

Knowing what avenues to avoid when growing your small business can help make the experience a truly rewarding one.

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