Starting a Small Business in Florida? 9 Mistakes You Must Avoid

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It's no secret that Florida is one of the best places to open up a business in the United States. It offers a favorable tax structure, top-ranked infrastructure, top-class talent, state leadership that supports new entrepreneurial ventures, and much more.

Although it is easy to become blinded by the advantages, it is vital you understand the potential pitfalls that await when starting a business in Florida. Yes, the potential rewards can be great, but they can disappear in a flash if you make the wrong moves in such a competitive state.

Research reveals Florida is currently home to 2.8 million small businesses. It also features the second-highest density when it comes to US start-up businesses, where for every 1,000 firms, there are more than 100 start-ups. Yet despite all of these positive figures, it is said that only half of Florida businesses established in 2020 will make it to 2025.

If you are planning to start a small business in Florida, make sure you avoid the following nine mistakes.


Mistake #1: Not putting together a business plan

A business plan is a necessity if you are attempting to secure funding for your entrepreneurial venture. Yet a lot of people feel this is the only situation where you should create a business plan.

That's not the case.

This type of plan helps to map out the big picture. You gain an understanding about the market you're about to enter, the financials required, the logistics, your business model, and so on. Without this information, you can quickly encounter problems – the type that will cost you a lot of money, effort, and time.

By writing a detailed business plan, you are able to dodge this common mistake. It clears up the unknowns, discovers opportunities, and puts your business on the right track from the start. This is needed wherever you are setting up a business, but in the competitive Florida market, not having one will set you up for failure.


Mistake #2: Failing to define your target market

Who will be buying your products or services? If you fail to understand the market you're entering, this can lead to problems – notably a lack of sales compared to what you were expecting.

If you're selling to a local customer base, this point first becomes pertinent when deciding where to base your business in Florida. Understandably, you want to select a location that would appreciate the type of business you're setting up. If you see other thriving small businesses that are similar to yours in a specific area, that suggests it could be a good place to set up shop.

Knowing your target market is also beneficial for gathering feedback. By continually learning from both current and potential customers, you are able to refine and offer what they desire most from your company.


Mistake #3: Not getting financial advice

Even a small business has a lot to consider in regard to finances. Outgoings, investments, insurance – without the right strategy, all of these numbers can quickly overwhelm you. This is particularly the case when you have to wear so many other hats as a small business owner. The likes of insurance coverage can be easily overlooked.

This is where it makes sense to work with a Florida-based financial advisor.

There are many reasons to work with a reputable local financial specialist. For instance, Grand Life Financial, a financial advisor in Stuart, Florida, is able to assist in many different areas. They can organize your finances, ensure you have the right insurance coverage, explore potential rewarding opportunities, perform cash flow analysis, and much more.

This type of expertise can be invaluable – especially when you're just starting out. When your finances are sorted by an external party, this frees up time for you to focus on other areas of your business, and you can also be comforted by the fact you're receiving expert guidance. The latter helps prevent you from wasting money.


Mistake #4: Undervaluing what you have to offer

This is also applicable if you decide to overvalue your product or service. However, it is a more pressing issue if you decide to undervalue what you have to offer from the start.

Go too high, and you can readjust and be perceived favorably by your customer base. The same cannot be said if the roles are reversed. If your prices are too low to be sustainable in the long run, you will need to up how much you charge. Yet, if customers are already accustomed to that initial price tag, they are likely to react negatively to a sudden cost bump.

Yes, you want to entice people to your business, and opting for a lower price than your local competitors in Florida can help grab a portion of the market share. Nevertheless, if you have belief in your products and services, make sure you price like it.


Mistake #5: Launching too quickly

You could be eager to get your business up and running. After all, the longer you remain in pre-launch mode, the longer you are not bringing any money into your company. That's far from ideal when you already have expenses to cover.

However, it is imperative you don't panic and jump the gun. If you launch before everything is in place, this understandably leads to problems. For instance, you could start getting clients through the door and signing up for your services, but there's an issue: you don't have the necessary systems set up. You cannot take their payments, sort out contracts, communicate properly, etc.

That's not exactly the sign of a professional company. Ensure your business is set up correctly – in all areas – before you decide to launch.


Mistake #6: Thinking customers will automatically visit your business

Florida is a busy place. Not only is it the third-most populated state in the US, but it is also one of the most popular destinations for tourists. If you're located in a popular area, this means a lot of people will walk past and see your business. However, this footfall doesn't automatically equal customers.

In reality, you have to put in a lot of effort with marketing to get customers interested in your business.

The good news: there are endless possibilities when it comes to crafting effective promotional strategies. If you're just launching, for instance, this offers a prime opportunity to get the word out about your business. You could provide everything from free samples to a special introductory discount, helping to instantly build interest in your brand.


Mistake #7: Going it alone

When you're just beginning a small business, you are conscious about how much money is being spent. You want to try and keep your expenses down as much as possible. This can lead to you going it alone and not bringing in any help – whether internally or externally.

This is a mistake.

Even if you are well-rounded with ample skills for different positions within the business, you can't do everything on your own. There's only so much time in the day. Try to spread yourself across every department and task, and you won't be able to get everything done to a sufficient standard.

Aside from a financial advisor, as mentioned above, there are other areas where you can receive assistance. Marketing, accounting, sales – you name it, and help can be received. It can also be done by everyone from a full-time employee to a freelancer hired on a one-time basis.


Mistake #8: Not making use of current technology

Along with receiving help from others, there's another way you are able to take a lot of work off your plate: through the use of technology.

Modern technology allows you to automate a lot of processes. This includes those monotonous, time-consuming tasks that nobody wants to complete manually. Adding technology and automation to your business functions helps in numerous ways. It saves time, produces effective results, and helps to remove human errors from the equation.


Mistake #9: Expanding too quickly

Your small business is up and running. Not only that, but it's also generating a healthy amount of success. The natural conclusion, as a result, is to simply build on this success and grow your company beyond its ‘small' status, right?

While growth should always be part of the plan, there is a case of expanding too quickly for your own good. Go down this road too rapidly and it can result in a tragic situation for your business.

For instance, that notable period of success for your business may have only been temporary. What happens if those sale numbers drop, but you have a lot more expenses – such as staff, new premises, and stock – to cover? The answer is an obvious one: your business ends up in massive trouble.

With this in mind, you should always avoid trying to expand too quickly with the intention of capitalizing on what could end up being a purple patch. Instead, opt for an approach that is slow and steady. It may not be as adventurous, but it's also a safe bet where you're not possibly acting on what could be a fortunate run of results which quickly changes.  

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