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Small Business Opportunity Faux Pas

By Helen Dowling of Exceptional Thinking crack

Running a successful small business is definitely partly about identifying opportunities and acting on them. However, I see many small business owners missing out on these opportunities due to one of a number of faux pas. Here are my top five opportunity faux pas and what to do about them:

1. Missing Deadlines

Have you ever requested tender documents, known about a business award or wanted to do something else, but then have realised you have missed the deadline? I have spoken to quite a few business owners recently who have done just that. Let’s face it, you’ve made the effort to find out about the tender, award or other thing you wanted to do. Make sure you put the deadline date in your diary and then also the date it needs to be returned by and when you need to start completing it. Don’t let yourself miss the deadline for something that could be a great opportunity for your company.

2. Not going to things

I don’t know about you, but I often have networking events in my diary and sometimes when it comes to the day, I have to admit I do think “I’m too busy” or “I can’t be bothered” or whatever. But, sometimes you just never know who you’re going to meet at the event – I met up with a business owner the other day who hadn’t gone to an event because he was too busy and the chairman of a major company who he’d been trying to get into for months was giving a presentation at that meeting – what a great opportunity wasted because he didn’t go. Come on guys – if you’ve got a networking event booked into your diary, go to it – you never know who you might meet!

3. Not following up

Why is it that many of us are put off following up with people? You don’t have to only follow-up by phone these days – follow up by email or by post, but do follow up. A business owner I was talking to the other day had been contacted eight months ago by someone wanting her services and had not contacted her again because she didn’t like picking up the phone. Unfortunately it may now well be too late for that person to do business in that company – what a shame. If you don’t like following up by phone, that’s fine – follow up by email, by post or get someone else to do it for you, but you must follow up or you will lose the business.

4. Not paying attention

There are things going on around us all the time that we miss and in business it’s really important that we pay attention. There are many, many articles, radio talk shows and events happening all over the place that may talk about something related to your business. If they are, you should be contacting the show or paper and giving your opinion – sure they might not pay attention at the time, but they may well contact you if they’re doing a piece on that subject in the future. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for your business – it may well pay off for you in the long term.

5. Not thinking outside of the box

Finally, I meet many business owners who tell me “I can’t” for whatever reason. My answer back to them is “why not?” If you really want to do something, find a way to do it. We mainly put our own blocks in the way and if we take these away, we can often think of a different way around the problem. Next time you have a challenge in your business where you’re stuck, forget about traditional methods and think outside of the box to come up with a solution.

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