Last year, Paramus' Small Business Saturday was a huge success. This year, Small Business Saturday takes place on Saturday, November 30, and we expect a similar turnout from Paramus small businesses, many of which stayed open all day on last year's Small Business Saturday to accommodate eager customers.
With that in mind, and as a follow-up to Angela Sanders' Top Mistakes Small Businesses Make in Their First Year, here are a few more common small business mistakes that businesses make in their first year. If you want your business to be part of Small Business Saturday 2014, make sure you don't make these all-too-common mistakes!
1. Not having a unique selling proposition
What exactly is a unique selling proposition, commonly known as a USP? It is what makes your business unique, and is one of the most important steps a small business owner needs to take when starting a business.
For example: Paramus has numerous jewelry stores, including Elite Diamond Center, Meri's Spot Jewelry, and Sweetheart Treasures. However, each of these jewelry stores offers a unique customer experience and sells a different type of jewelry. If you want to open a jewelry store, a clothing store, a restaurant, or other retailer, consider how your small business will be different than other businesses currently in Paramus.
2. Failing to calculate risk
Many small businesses fail, but few people go into small businesses planning to be one of them. Instead, the businesses fail because the business owners do not plan for business risks, such as the start-up costs involved in purchasing initial inventory, or how to plan ahead for lean times.
On Tuesday, November 12, SCOREBergen is holding a risk seminar for small business owners in Paramus and the surrounding areas. This seminar will focus on buying insurance for your business and how you can use that insurance to manage your business risk. The seminar will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Maywood Public Library. Registration is required.
3. Missing important branding opportunities
Every interaction with a customer should reflect your business's brand. For example: instead of shipping your product in a plain brown box, invest in custom printed corrugated boxes. These same custom printed boxes can be used in-house, providing customers with a uniquely branded way of getting products home.
Your front signage, email newsletter, and even work clothing should all reflect your business's brand. Think about what type of experience you want your customer to have -- fun, luxurious, one-of-a-kind -- and make sure your branding reflects that across the board.
4. Failing to network with other business owners
Sometimes, other businesses aren't the competition -- instead, they're your biggest assets. It's time to buy a few cups of coffee and talk to other Paramus small business owners about how they do their jobs and what they know about making a small business work. If you ignore your colleagues in the small business world, you lose out on valuable networking and relationship-building opportunities. This, in turn, means you are likely to make first-timer mistakes that hurt both your customers and your business.
5. Closing your business when customers need to shop
Why do Paramus businesses stay open all day on Small Business Saturday? Because they know their customers need them to be available when they're ready to shop. Many people no longer work 9 to 5 jobs, meaning that retail locations need to be open late into the evenings to accommodate people who cannot shop at any other time. Likewise, formerly "business-free" days, such as Sunday, are now become normal shopping days for a majority of the population. Major retailers, such as Kohls, Macy's, and J.C. Penney, are even staying open on Thanksgiving this year.
Don't make these small business mistakes. Instead, work hard to make your business thrive, and we look forward to seeing your name on the list for Small Business Saturday 2014.