To not respect the staff. Human resources is the most important business resource.
Not taking, or ignoring the feedback from the consumers *Cough* apple
I don't know if it's the biggest mistake, but one mistake in big companies is definitely treating management better than the rest of the employees, and laying off long-term employees. I think a big mistake of small businesses is not marketing enough.
when they forget that it is the people working them that are the real heart and soul of the company. You can pay people for their time, but giving their heart and wanting to do their best can only be given to a company if an employee chooses to to put their heart into their work. This is a result of how a business treats its employees.
Failure to plan. I am referring to the mistake businesses (big and small) make in not formulating a business plan, a backup plan, a disaster plan, etc. Having forethought is the biggest value added plan a business can have.
I think failure to make proper planning, market research and customer analysis.
The biggest mistake most businesses make is underestimating their cash and credit requirements and overestimating their projected revenue.
They fail to properly monitor cost, if you're not tracking on a regular basis you only see the amount of money flow in not out. Running a business is much harder than most people realize, employees all think the boss is getting rich and they're not getting their share. There are many hidden cost involved in business and just when you adjust and are making a descent profit the cost of something changes without notice and you have to do it all over again.
Small sized - inadequate focus on sales and marketing, ignoring scalability in case of ideas. Waiting too long to release a product (Product companies)
Medium sized - playing too safe as it now has something to loose
Large sized - Disconnection from customer and employees
As noted in the other answers, employees make up the core part of any business so a common mistake is to not adhere to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow created a theory int he shape of a pyramid of importance. By adhering to the hierarchy of needs, you can guarantee employee retention, respect and happiness.
In my talks with most business owners the main mistake that most make is thinking that it is a light switch - off to on in one flip. Especially with online businesses they assume that once they launch the website that the traffic and money will be immediate.
Unfortunately it is not that simple and many overextend themselves with the plan that they will recoup their investment in just a few days after their website is live.
I would advise anyone opening an online business to develop a plan for the launch involving SEO work, and most importantly realistic expectations. Don't quit your day job to launch your business, launch it and devote your nights and weekends until you get the ball rolling.
The market is always the reality, the only one there is.
Wanna be entrepreneurs think to much about "what? when? how?"-things instead of asking the market, i.e. get clients to pay, that's business, the market will tell you, if it works, it works, othwerwise, do something else!
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