When you are first starting out with your very first Sacramento business, you are going to make mistakes. The most important part of making mistakes is learning from them. However, it is even better if you are able to learn your mistakes without actually making them. What I mean is… learn from the mistakes of others and try not to make the same mistakes.

Here are some of the most common mistakes new business owners in Sacramento have made. I have made some of these mistakes and some I have learned how to avoid from friends, colleagues and mentors showing me the right direction. Thankfully, I was surrounded by others that had started at the bottom and created great businesses through their very own blood, sweat and tears. Most of them willing to help me avoid making “their” mistakes by showing me what they did wrong and giving me guidance on how they would have done it differently in a challenging Sacramento market.

Now it’s my turn to share this same information with you. Here are a few of the mistakes and misconceptions I had about being my own boss.

1. Hours Dedicated to the Business

The most important, and probably the biggest misconception I had was regarding my hours. I was like the thousands upon thousands of other business owners that assumed we would be able to make our own hours, would not have to account to anyone and simply get rich quick. Looking back now, I should have known better and I feel like a fool, looking back at the way I originally had my business dreams planned out.

You will have to work long hours for quite a while before you are going to be able to begin putting a cap on the number of hours you will work and taking time off. For me, this took about six months of sleepless nights, juggling money from my savings account to my checking account and paying only the minimums on my credit cards and mortgage. Don’t be discouraged, I was able to get on my feet and looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing. After all, everything worth a damn is well worth the fight and sacrifice to get it.

2. Target Audience

The next thing, which I was not a victim to, was knowing who your target audience is. From the business owners that I know, they have reported that marketing to the wrong groups was among their biggest and most financially troublesome mistake they made. Why is it important for you to know the exact market you are targeting? If you just randomly advertise for your company, you are taking a gamble at getting customers. On the other hand, if you know the demographics of the people that are going to be interested in your product or service you can focus on those people as your clients and potential clients. This, will save you a substantial amount of money in a fairly short period of time.

Thankfully, this next mistake was not one that I made. However, most of my business is achieved online so this mistake was not an option for me. A few of my friends have reported their mistakes of forgetting to include a website in their business plan, making social network profiles and things of this nature.

3. Online Presence

The majority of people will “Google” a company to find out a little more about it before they decide whether or not to take their business to that particular company. Some of the things potential customers are looking for is:

• Customer complaints
• How the complaints were handled
• What the company is about
• Does the company stand behind their services or products

This might not seem very important right now, however, an online presence is vital to all surviving businesses. If your company cannot be found online, you are definitely losing customers nationwide, as well as customers that could very well be within your city limits.

4. Benefits of Your Product or Service

Finally, you need to figure out why your product or service is important and desirable to the general public or other target audience. If you are considered “just another new business”, your company will likely be overlooked because of lack of experience and even because you are merely average in comparison to other companies offering the same services or products.

Once you determine why your business is necessary and important, you need to convince others that your business is right for them. To do this ask yourself a few questions:

• Why is my product essential for a home, office, business etc.?
• How can my product make life easier for others?
• Who will benefit from using my product or service?

If you can answer these questions easily without having to spend too much time thinking, you are on the right path. Keep in mind, just because you have a great product and great idea your business needs marketing strategies (that is where I come in), advertising and your dedication to make it work. You have a long road ahead of you, but the “pot of gold” at the end will be very rewarding. Trust I have been there multiple times. Cheers!