Social networks are a great, free way to build relationships with customers, so it's absolutely worth it to do some research before jumping into the fray.
7. Not Researching Your Printer
Many small businesses do a lot of in-house printing, but that doesn't mean you should run out and purchase the best "deal" of a printer that you can find. Researching printers before purchasing one can help you save a lot of money. To start, should you stick with a laser printer workhorse, or opt for an inkjet, or get both?
It's important to know how much the ink or toner will cost, because this will be the deciding factor in the long run. Many "cheap" printers will slowly leach money from your business with jacked-up ink or toner prices. It's also a good idea to consider refilling your ink instead of purchasing new cartridges each time.
8. Taking the Groupon Way Out
Groupon and other social-shopping Websites can seem like a godsend for struggling businesses. Just offer your product or service up at a deeply discounted price, and get hundreds or thousands of brand new customers.
But if you're a small business, don't be so easily wooed by the potential advertising and new customers. Many small businesses are finding that offering Groupon-like deals can be a nightmare. A number of things can go wrong, especially if you don't have the staff, time, or budget to accept hundreds of new customers purchasing your services for a fraction of the usual price. Offering a Groupon deal that you can't deliver on will not only cost you money, it will cost you your reputation.
9. Slacking on Security, Security, Security!
Your business may be small and unassuming, but that doesn't mean people aren't ready to steal your secrets. Along with securing your employees' smartphones, it's important to make general IT security a priority.
It's also important to practice safe computing. E-mail and social networking accounts are particularly vulnerable to viruses and spam, so keep different passwords for different accounts and don't click on any sketchy links. This might seem like common sense, but more than half of small businesses have no IT security guidelines in place, according to protection firm AVG.
10. Paying for Photos
There are plenty of reasons small businesses use stock photos, such as updating Websites and creating original blog posts, advertisements, and so forth. But before you purchase those two or 20 stock photos to pretty up your company's blog, check out free sources, such as photos labeled with a Creative Commons license.
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