Small businesses may be the backbone of the American economy but when it comes to longevity, these businesses aren’t always able to play the long game. In fact, about 44% of small businesses fail after their fourth year.

Still, there are many reasons your small business may or may not make it. Understanding these challenges and facing them head on can help you not just overcome them, but profit as well.

Below are just some of the most common mistakes you can make when your small business starts to take off, and how to avoid them.

8 Small Business Owner Mistakes & Solutions:

  1. You haven’t made your website a priority. Of the approximately 30 million small businesses in America, over 1/3 shockingly don’t have a website. If you don’t yet have a website, there are thousands of inexpensive web hosting solutions offering features like a drag-and-drop site builder that make it simple to build a website in minutes. Make sure to choose a hosting solution that offers responsive web design, so that your customers can look you up no matter what device they’re on.
  2. You’re over or under-investing in marketing. Some small business owners pour more funds than they can afford into a marketing agency, while other more budget-cautious small business owners opt out of marketing altogether. There is, however, a middle ground: DIY marketing. Posting daily on social media channels, writing a blog and learning a little bit of SEO to perfect your website content all go a long way towards boosting your social engine rankings.
  3. You can also hop on the growing social video trend by making your own video ads. Affordable microphones and lighting equipment can give your video a professional sheen, while video editing apps like VideoBoost elevate and brand your footage by letting you crop, add music, use your footage inside pre-made templates, customize it with your own logos and so much more.
  4. You aren’t doing enough research on your competitors. Check out the competition and see where they’re targeting your audience and how. This way, you can get a better idea of what social media platforms your customers prefer and what range of pricing is acceptable for your goods or services.
  5. You haven’t taken advantage of the data you’ve accumulated. If you do have a website or a social media account, there’s simply no excuse for ignoring the data you’re collecting. Use tools like Google Analytics to understand where your website traffic is coming from and which pages are most popular. Social media platforms have an Insight tab that gives you a similar understanding of your audience’s preferences.
  6. You don’t have a business plan set up. It’s hard to know if you’re winning or losing at business if you don’t have any goals in mind or any idea of how and when you’re planning on reaching these goals. Worse yet, if you don’t have a written business plan you might not be able to secure financing. You can rectify this oversight quickly by utilizing a free business plan template or use a paid platform to help you craft a more in-depth plan.
  7. You aren’t considering alternative forms of financing. Banks can be a great source of funding for some small businesses. However, if you can’t get a bank loan, there are other types of financing, such as invoice or equipment financing, that can get you started and may make more sense for your business financially in the long run.
  8. You don’t have your books balanced. Getting your income and expenses in order not only makes sure you avoid payroll snafus but also helps you tweak and evolve a sustainable financial strategy. Software like QuickBooks and Xero empower you to take on accounting on your own at an affordable price and with minimal stress.

Just because small businesses fail, doesn’t mean yours has to as well. While it’s a challenge to succeed, taking steps to anticipate issues and taking the time to prepare for them can help put you on the path to sustainability and growth.