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3 everyday mistakes small businesses make…and how to fix them

Running a small business can be a tricky proposition – and in the course of a day many small mistakes can be easily made. Here are some of the more common ones and what to do if they happen…

There’s so much to consider on a daily basis when running your own small business that sometimes mistakes can be made. Often these are just small ones that don’t need to be resolved. But sometimes these mistakes can lead to damaging consequences for your business.

Annoyed Male Cafe Worker

Here are a few of the more common mistakes to watch out for and how to remedy them…

1. Mis-pricing
It can be hard to keep track of all your products and services, especially if you’re in retail and run a website. And this can lead to you putting the wrong price on something. Even if you’re not a retail company, you can sometimes send out quotes for projects in which you’ve given the wrong price, effectively under valuing yourself.

How to fix it…
In a retail situation, the first option is to change it as fast as possible. If you spot the mistake before the customer has bought it, you can refuse to sell at that price.

Online retail is a bit different as there’s the gap between sale and delivery. Some say the contract is legally binding when the order is accepted. Others reserve the right to cancel any order up to the point of delivery. Make sure you have your terms and conditions clear as to what constitutes an agreed sale.

If you’ve put the wrong price on a quote for business, you can back out before the contracts have been signed. Just be open and clear with the client, saying it’s the wrong price and then provide them with the right one.

2. Sending the wrong email
Whether it’s a mis-placed ‘reply all’, you’ve put the wrong email address in or you’ve included someone in an email chain they weren’t meant to read, there’s plenty of opportunity to make errors when using your work email.

How to fix it…
It all depends on how bad it is – but the best way is always to start with an apology. Be upfront and honest and, if things are really bad, offer some form of compensation, whether that’s in the form of extra work or reduced cost.

There are ways to avoid it. There are apps that allow you to pull back any email sent within a set time period, which can be ideal for those situations when you realise the moment you’ve sent it you made a mistake.

3. Forgetting a deadline
Hitting deadlines are a big part of developing and improving your reputation as a small business. There’s often not much to choose between small businesses when it comes to cost, so reputation and punctuality are key.

This means that if you’ve failed to hit a deadline, it could be a major problem. It could even result in lost business and possibly legal action.

How to fix it…
Aim to get the work done as soon as possible. If you’re well over the deadline, offer a discount on the price. And, of course, offer apologies.

If it’s part of a larger project, you could agree to hit the next deadline earlier to make up for lost time.

Speak with the client in person or over the phone, not on email. Show them how you’re solving the problem and let them know anything you’re doing to prevent it from happening again.