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Janice France-Pettit: Common mistakes entrepreneurs make

Union Bank

Posted: October 29, 2010 10:51 p.m.
Updated: October 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.

New business owners and seasoned entrepreneurs alike often ask their bankers what they can do to avoid making common mistakes. To start, they can learn from their own mistakes and from the mistakes of others.  Many successful business owners failed at their first venture but persevered to build strong companies.

Following are a few common mistakes entrepreneurs make that should be avoided:

Have a business plan
Writing a business plan may help you identify your goals, understand your target customer and plan for growth. Having a business plan may also be an important component in securing financing. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers sample plans and advice.

Hire efficiently
Staffing can be one of the most difficult and time-consuming aspects of running a successful business. Because hiring key employees can affect your entire business, many entrepreneurs debate whether they are making the right decision — sometimes losing opportunities to hire qualified people. On the other hand, if an employee needs to be let go, don’t procrastinate. If there is not a trained human-resource manager on staff, seek advice from a consultant or attorney who specializes in employee relations to assist with the process.

Remember to delegate
 We sometimes try to do it all — at home and at work. But successful business owners know that a strong leader is surrounded by an even stronger team. Train your employees efficiently and utilize their skills. Identify a strong team manager or second-in-command to manage many daily tasks so you can use your time wisely. Reconsider whether you need to attend every meeting or review every memo and e-mail. Trust your team.

Market your business
A good marketing plan may be critical to the success of your business. If you do not have a plan to reach customers, you may soon find that you have none. Develop a marketing plan to support your business through advertising, public relations, online campaigns and appropriate business associations and networking organizations. 

Develop relationships with a banker
Given the challenges of today’s competitive business market, it is important to have a solid and trusting relationship with your banker so you can discuss specific business financial needs and goals.

Get certified
Certification as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) and/or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) may open doors to government or large corporation contracts. If your company is privately held and at least 51-percent owned by a woman or minority who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident, you can apply for WBE or MBE certification. Talk to your banker to find out if your business qualifies.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about common mistakes entrepreneurs make and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank.  Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

Janice France-Pettit is a senior vice president and regional manager for Union Bank, overseeing the Simi Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley region. Visit for more information. The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about financing choices for home improvements and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank. Please consult your financial or tax advisor. Ms. France-Pettit’s column represents her own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Visit for more information.


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