Mistakes Business Owners Always Seem to Make

Originally Published Aug 12, 2020

Owning a business is practically synonymous with making mistakes. It’s all part of the process and running a company is a constant evolution and it’s key to accept that reality.

However, knowing what pitfalls to look out for can help you make better decisions in the moment.

So, here we’re going over common mistakes business owners make and how to avoid them - or at least not make things any worse.

Mistakes Business Owners Always Seem to Make

Doing it for the Wrong Reasons

If you’re not passionate about the work you’re doing, it’s not likely that you’ll find success. Without a strong “why,” you’ll fall off the wagon once things go wrong - which they inevitably will.

So, if you’re only starting a business to prove something to someone, make a ton of money, or for any other fleeting reason, think again.

Starting a business means solving a problem and being generous within your community. You might see a hole in the market and see an opportunity to solve a problem in a way that only you can.

You have to love the process of helping others, solving problems, and bringing your unique perspective to the table instead of focusing on an outcome. Do it for the right reasons and you won’t give up at the first detour.

Click the link below to check out Pinq Business Partner
Tom speak about his passions for Physiotherapy

Mistakes Business Owners Always Seem to Make

It’s a Job, Not a Business

Many people who start a business Australia-wide, form it around a technical skill that they’ve gotten really good at. You might have your name on it, you might be making more money, but, in reality, you feel trapped, working harder than ever before.

So, amazing physiotherapists might start a physio clinic, impressive dancers might start a dance studio, and incredible photographers might start a photography studio.

When this happens, you’re not really a business owner. You’ve just created a new job for yourself.

Owning a business means being able to walk away at any point with the business continuing without you. If your business would crumble without your technical skill and input, it’s not a business, it’s just another job.

So, instead of starting a business “doing what you love,” start a business to help someone else and create systems that can operate on its own. Take your ego out of the equation and focus on building a business, not another time-sucking commitment.

Mistakes Business Owners Always Seem to Make

You Didn’t Do Market Research

We get it. Crunching the numbers isn’t fun for anyone and no one really wants to do market research before starting a business. But the truth is, it’s essential.

Understanding where you stand, who your competition is, and what trends are happening in your industry will be key to your success - or failure.

Without market research, you might be reinventing the wheel without really serving anyone.

You don’t need to do something totally unique to be successful but you have to have a point of view. Without market research, your perspective could be off.

Skipping the Plan

Having a clear plan is key to starting a business, but many business owners skip the planning stage altogether.

Having a business plan helps you make important decisions and prepare for the long term. Backed up by market research and data, you’ll have stronger structures to move your business along a clear path when you plan at the start.

A business plan includes your mission statement, goals, processes, and budget. When you sit down and decide on your values and aims, you at least then have a chance of achieving your ideal.

Otherwise, when you have to make choices (which come up every day running a business) you won’t have a firm baseline that’s rooted in your mission and goals.

But that doesn’t mean your business plan won’t change. You should actually reassess your plan at least every year or so. You can’t foresee everything, but you can at least lay out a game plan. Trust us, it’s worth the extra effort.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or just want to re-evaluate your expense ratios, check out the Physio Inq Budget and Planning Guide for Physiotherapy Clinics.

Avoiding the Numbers

While you may feel like things are going well and that you’re absolutely smashing your business goals, if you don’t pay attention to the numbers, you may actually be losing money and eventually, your business will go under.

Understanding the difference between profits and cash flow, having a plan for when you’re not meeting financial goals, and organising systems to make sure everything is working well (and legally) is essential.

It can be super intimidating to look at your numbers, especially in the beginning when you’re probably not turning a profit. Remember, it takes, on average, at least 5 years for a new business to actually make money. But, this is not something that should discourage you. It’s part of the process.

What’s worse is ignoring a potential problem. Then, you’re really at risk of closing your doors when you could’ve done something about it. No one likes bad news, but the only way to move forward is to keep an eye on what’s really going on.

Physio Inq clinic owners are armoured with our Business Portal, providing Integrated Business Systems including online administrative processes, predictive data science modelling, supply chain structures and more. Long story short, we’ve got the numbers sorted for you.

Poor Hiring Choices

Before going into business, it’s good to know what you can and can’t do. What’s great about our Physiotherapy industry is that you don’t need to be a qualified Physiotherapist to own a Physiotherapy clinic. So, if you are passionate about business and the health industry, then the Physiotherapy industry could be a great fit for you. Of course, you will need to employ Physiotherapists to treat patients.

When it comes to choosing employees, choosing the wrong employees will make you more likely to micromanage your team (a mistake in and of itself) and leads to overall poor results. Be sure to interview everyone, even if you liked the first person you met, thinking about not only their technical skills but also whether they fit into your company culture as well as their leadership skills.

In most cases, soft skills like the ability to work under pressure and strong communication skills are a lot harder to teach than technical skills like massage therapy and clinical analysis.

It might seem counterintuitive, but hiring for these soft skills often lead to better outcomes. Someone who’s a fast-learner can pick up anything you need them to do. But someone who knows massage therapy but has zero people skills won’t bode well in a clinic.

Oh, and don’t hire friends and family. With way too much emotional entanglement, it never works out well.

One-Size-Fits-All Solutions

As your business continues to grow, you’ll be managing many people. From customers to stakeholders to employees, everyone’s has different needs and a unique personality making it clear that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work for long.

Taking an individual approach to each person and how they operate will offer much better results than attempting to use the same tactics for everyone. Have a game plan, but be ready to adjust accordingly.

This approach is much tougher on the business owner, but we never said it would be easy. Stay present and in the moment and respond to each individual in a way they can best understand. It takes a lot of emotional intelligence, but this tactic is the magic of the best leaders.

Mistakes Business Owners Always Seem to Make

You Haven’t Invested Enough in Marketing

Many business owners underestimate the power of good marketing. They assume that “if you build it, they will come.” But these days, that’s just not the case.

Plus, many business owners don’t understand the importance of a digital presence. Like it or not, everyone is on the internet. So, if your business isn’t caught up, you’re missing a huge opportunity to find new customers and engage with current clients.

It seems like every industry is oversaturated and we’re all experiencing information overload. Investing in quality marketing tools and strategies can help your business stand out from the pack and is absolutely essential in our fast-paced, information-heavy digital world.

As a Physio Inq Business Partner you’ll have access to our Digital Marketing Specialists, who will manage your SEO and Google Adwords accounts, and provide guidance for your social media and content marketing.

Not Listening to Your Customers

Customer service is so important to a thriving business. If you fail to listen to what your customers want and need, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.

Make sure you have the operational support to engage with, respond to, and solve customer issues quickly and effectively. Your business will be much stronger for it.

That means reading online reviews and taking any constructive feedback into account when making future decisions. The customer isn’t always right in a literal sense, but if you’re getting the same complaints over and over, you’d be smart to listen.

Additionally, putting the customer first by, again, avoiding the trap of your ego is a good place to start. Just because you think something is a good idea doesn’t mean that everyone will agree. So, instead of making a product or service for yourself, always keep the customer at the top of your mind.

You Haven’t Set Clear Expectations

If you notice that your employees or contractors aren’t producing consistent results, it’s likely that you haven’t set clear enough expectations.

OKRs (or objectives and key results) should be in place from the beginning. Not only will those around you feel more empowered in the business, but you’ll also see stronger results after having set clearer expectations.

Clear expectations that are specific and measurable can help you set checkpoints along the way and ensures that you have a leg to stand on when you pull someone up on not meeting the mark.

It’s best for everyone when you can communicate reasonable expectations to ensure your business is running as smoothly as possible.

More resources

Check out this video featuring Jonathan Moody sharing his thoughts on the matter.

As business owners, we all make mistakes. You won’t ever be able to avoid mistakes completely. Better to embrace it and adjust quickly once we realise we’ve made one and avoid the common ones that we can learn from.


The information provided on this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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