First Person: 4 Ways to Kill a Small Business

Yahoo Contributor Network

A good friend of mine owns his own business. It's a business that he's had for over 30 years and that has suffered significantly in the recent recession. But the recession isn't the only reason his business is in decline. There are things that he is doing -- or not doing -- that are slowly killing his small business. And sadly, some of these things are quite easily and cheaply remedied if he'd only listen to a little advice.

Missing out on easy marketing

Whether it's business cards, those magnetic advertising signs that can affix to a vehicle, or promotional freebies like pens, coffee mugs, notepads and the likes, there are all sorts of easy ways to promote a business or product to customers or potential customers. Businesses like VistaPrint, where small business owners can search for or develop their own such items make it easier and often times more affordable than ever to utilize simple marketing and advertising techniques and products. There is really no excuse for not making use of such affordable marketing tools in the digital age.

Underutilizing human resources

As times change, so do the experiences, education, and needs of the younger generations. This isn't to say that the older generations are obsolete, but it can behoove those generations to pay attention to the advice or urgings of newcomers.

In my friend's situation, he has a number of younger employees who are in tune with the trends and technology of the current generations, while he himself is a baby boomer who does things the old-fashioned way. While there is something to be said for working harder, there is also something to be said for working smarter. And listening to some of the advice regarding technological updates and tools at his disposal could help our baby boomer business owner make some simple changes that could not only modernize his business but make it more efficient and productive as well.

Failing to harness simple technology

Speaking of modernization and efficiency, it doesn't always take a tech guru to harness some simple tech trends to improve a small business, trends that my friend prefers to ignore. Even doing things that might seem common sense to most, such as utilizing phone voicemail or creating a website -- or even a blog -- are not things that this business owner takes advantage of. Not making use of such technology -- even though it's there to be had, in some cases for free -- is like the Titanic turning away extra life boats after it hit the iceberg.

Fighting the establishment

There are times when disputing an errant or incorrect bill or fighting a fine is worthwhile, but taking time and energy to dispute charges and fight them purely upon principal -- and losing in almost all instances -- can be time consuming and demoralizing.

A city or government is there to enforce established rules and regulations. As a small business owner, taking time to try to fight the establishment can focus resources on a losing battle when they might be better spent fixing the problem that's causing the issues in the first place. While it can be important to fight for what we believe in, bearing in mind the old phrase, "It's not personal, it's business," when it comes to such government regulations can have a business owner working toward fixing the problem than fighting the system and costing his or her business thousands or even tens of thousands in legal fees and fines in the process.

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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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