Running a business can be a challenging endeavor, especially when there are so many different voices and opinions. Some of it is differences in opinion – such as should you niche down by product offering, ideal clients, or not at all – and sometimes it’s just bad business advice.
We get bombarded with entrepreneurial tips from every direction and it can be difficult to sort the information that is good and relevant from the ones that will ultimately waste our time and money. To help you out, I’ve debunked seven common pieces of bad business advice that you should steer clear of.
1. You Have To Be Active On Every Social Media Platform
It’s true that social media can be a powerful tool for business growth. However, trying to maintain a presence on every platform can spread you too thin and dilute your efforts. Instead, focus on understanding your target audience and choosing the top two platforms where they are most active. This way, you can allocate your resources effectively and engage with your audience more meaningfully.
Don’t forget that most social media companies make money by selling you user eyeballs or paid ads. Furthermore, contrary to what companies like Meta would have you believe, being successful with ads requires experience and a meaningful budget to get a return on your investment.
Instead, you should plan a deliberate strategy to increase your visibility. My advice: be proactive and have fun with your social media. Use it to have a conversation with your desired clients and develop your brand voice and content in a way that’s true to your mission. Being authentic and delivering value is the best way to nurture your audience.
To achieve this, your focus should be on creating unique content, deliberately reaching out to your ideal customers, and ensuring they remain engaged long enough to become familiar with you, develop a liking for you, and trust you, ultimately leading to purchase decisions.
2. You Need To Post Daily On Social Media To Please The Algorithm
That’s the best way to post uninspiring content! The traditional belief that you must post daily to grow your audience is flawed. When you feel forced to produce content it quickly becomes boring and undistinguishable in the vast online landscape. Worse, the proliferation of AI, like Chat GPT, although a great tool to help you with content creation, can exacerbate this issue when used as copy and paste solution.
Instead, the focus should shift towards quality over quantity. Creating less content, but making it outstanding and unreplicable by AI is the key. This often means developing longer, unique perspectives and embracing a thought leadership role in your field, even if you consider yourself an early-stage expert. Sharing distinctive viewpoints might feel uncomfortable as not everyone will agree, but it resonates with the right people, which is the ultimate goal.
Do use AI to help you with the process and get your creativity going. There are some great AI tools to help you create social media posts more easily. I particularly like Later’s AI option which suggests a few post captions based on keywords you input. It’s a great starting place for great content, especially if writing isn’t your forte.
3. Hiring Cheap Freelancers Will Save You Money
This is something I’ve experienced the hard way! Even on platforms like Upwork you must be mindful of the level of expertise and skill you will get for your investment. Working with freelancers from countries with a lower cost of living is great for them and for you, but make sure that your expectations are realistic and that there’s a mutual cultural understanding. Otherwise, you might be wasting time and money quickly.
Investing in skilled freelancers or agencies might initially cost more, but the long-term benefits outweigh the initial expense. Skilled professionals can deliver high-quality work, saving you time, money, and potential headaches.
4. You Should Say Yes To Every Opportunity That Comes Your Way
That’s another one I’m guilty of… While running my marketing agency, I’ve taken on several clients and projects that weren’t aligned with my business or that took me away from my objectives. Because of my fear of missing out – on experiences, on revenue, or on a new client – I’ve said yes too easily to the wrong opportunities, leaving me feeling overstretched and unhappy.
So while it’s essential to seize promising opportunities, saying yes to everything can stretch your resources thin and hinder your focus. It’s crucial to evaluate each opportunity against your business goals. Consider the potential return on investment, alignment with your brand, and whether it takes you closer to your desired outcomes. Learning to say no to opportunities that aren’t a good fit will help you stay focused and make better use of your resources.
5. You Don’t Need A Business Plan; Just Wing It
Having a concrete business plan is critical if not for success than for your own clarity. It provides a roadmap, outlines your goals, and helps you make informed decisions. Without a plan, you’ll lack direction and may overlook crucial aspects of your business strategy. Take the time to develop a comprehensive business plan, including market research, financial aspects, and marketing tactics. This will increase your chances of achieving your business objectives and be accountable.
Of course, your business plan will evolve over time. You don’t need to create a plan that’s overly complex. If you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or a side hustler, keep your plan simple and realistic. It’s a tool that’s for yourself first, just like a guide and reality check it’s here to make sure you’re being strategic and pragmatic.
6. You Won’t Get Anywhere Without Hustling
Most of us choose the entrepreneurial path out of a desire for more freedom, flexibility, and creativity. What’s the point if we hustle so much we lose sight of why we started all of this in the first place? Yes, there are times in your business when you need to put in more effort and burn the midnight oil, but that should be exceptional. If you find yourself overstretched and overwhelmed, it’s time to rethink your business activities. There are better ways to do things.
While it’s true that building a successful business requires dedication and hard work, sacrificing your happiness and well-being isn’t sustainable in the long run. Overworking can lead to burnout, reduced productivity, and even health issues. Implementing work-life balance strategies, such as setting boundaries, delegating tasks, and prioritizing self-care, will promote your long-term success and overall well-being.
My advice, even if it takes a little longer to get certain things done, don’t make yourself crazy over it. Do your best based on your time, resources, and knowledge. It will make sense in the long term and make it more likely you will persevere.
7. The Free Marketing Advice And Resources Are Enough To Know What You’re Doing
It’s a common misconception that free marketing advice and tools alone are sufficient to master the complexities of marketing. While free resources can offer valuable insights and tips when you are starting out, relying solely on them may not be enough to make a difference in your business.
To start, free resources often provide surface-level information. They might give you an overview of a marketing concept, but they may not delve deep enough to help you fully understand its implementation. What’s more, free resources are typically generic and don’t consider your specific business needs. Personalized strategies are often necessary to make your marketing efforts effective.
Especially if you are a do-it-all-yourself entrepreneur, getting expert guidance can save you time and money in the long run. One option is to learn skills you specifically need to grow your business. If you are getting a paid course, make sure the topic and outcome you can expect are clearly defined. Another option is to hire a marketing coach to help you develop and implement a strategy tailored to your business.
Shameless plugging (it’s my blog after all), I’ve recently started offering marketing coaching as a way to serve a greater number of entrepreneurs and frankly, because I love brainstorming, strategizing, and advising businesses.
Don’t take it from me! Here’s what one of my clients had to say:
Ready? Then book your call with me!
Wrapping-Up: Skip The Bad Business Advice
So, there you have it! We’ve sailed through the turbulent waters of bad business advice, debunking myths and steering clear of pitfalls. But remember, entrepreneurship isn’t just about dodging bad advice; it’s about embracing the good, learning from tough experiences, and enjoying the journey.
P.S.: I only recommend products and services that I love and think you will too! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission if you click on them and make a purchase.