5 Small Business Mistakes To Avoid

Whoops! You made a mistake with your small business…it’s ok, we all do it, and now you can learn from it and avoid it from happening again. But, what if you don’t know you’re making a mistake?

What if it’s not clear that a mistake even exists? You may think your sales are just slow, but something is actually preventing you from selling your products and being successful.

Here are 5 small business mistakes to avoid:


Mistake #1: Unclear Business Definition

Ask yourself what you want from your business…and remember, an art business is a small business. Is it a weekend hobby or are you in it for the long haul? Once you decide on this, make a list of goals that you want to achieve for your business and track your progress. This can be anything from tracking sales to building partnerships.
For example, tracking your monthly visitors, comments and product sales will give you plenty of information to build on for the next month including possibly creating marketing campaigns and exploring new sales channels to boost your monthly numbers.

Mistake #2: Undefined Target Market

Yes, we all want to sell as much as possible to as many customers as possible, although success doesn’t usually happen like this. Trying to be all things to all people is not a good strategy so understand your core business and focus on a specific target market.
For example, if you make children’s clothes, then focus your marketing and sales efforts in the areas where new mothers and young families visit. Start a blog and share the advantages of your clothing designs or join an online group relevant to this market or explore partnerships with local daycare and toy shops where your target market will be.

Mistake #3: No Value Proposition

Sell a product or service that adds value. Whether you serve a need or a want, make sure you focus on quality to your customer. You can add quality in many areas including your product, your customer service, your pricing, your packaging or your shipping and delivery.
Bottom line, make your customer happy and they not only will come back, they will tell others so adding value everywhere you can is one of the best things you can do.

Mistake #4: No Differentiation

Guess what…you’re a ME TOO! Don’t do what everyone else does…make your business and products unique. This doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, although it does mean putting your own personal touch in your work.
For example, if you sell jewelry and it isn’t that different from the rest of many jewelry designers out there…try to use some unique or rare stones (don’t break the bank trying to do this) or even create unique packaging to separate yourself from the competition.

Mistake #5: Lack Of Commitment

More often than not, this is the number one reason why most businesses don’t get off the ground. We all have moments of inspiration as well as those times you just don’t want to do anything. Hopefully the moments of inspiration outweigh the other, but just to make sure…reflect on your business and ask yourself if it’s truly your passion or maybe just an urge.

Making a commitment and sticking to it is a lot easier when it’s your passion because that desire rarely feels like work. But remember, success rarely comes overnight so remain consistent with your efforts and your work will pay off in the long run. Plus you’ll probably find happiness along the way.
So, what are some mistakes you have made in your business and how did you correct them? Learning from others is one of the best ways to finding a path to success!


Guest author: Jason Dirks is a business management consultant by day at and a passionate outdoor photographer by night (or any other hour he can get outside and take pictures)! He and his wife live in beautiful Seattle, which provides the ideal landscape for his photographic interests: wildlife and nature, travel, sports and adventure.

Here are some other interesting articles:

Branding You : 5 Ways to Improve Your Professional Image

Inbound or Outbound: Which Direction is Your Art Marketing Going?

8 Tips to a Great Blog Post

3 Reasons to Start a Creative Blog for Your Business

Social Media’s Top Stars Share Their Tips on Twitter

6 Free Ways to Promote Your Art Online

2014-05-24T17:19:29+00:00December 21st, 2010|Art Business Tips, Fine Art Tips, General, Guest Articles|15 Comments


  1. LTD.Edition December 21, 2010 at 10:36 am

    It looks to me like you mainly make money by talking about how to make money. Bravo………………………………….

    • Lori McNee December 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      It might look like that although, I am making money from blogging, the majority of my income still comes from selling my art in galleries and online. These marketing articles are geared to help other artists and creative people, ‘think outside the frame’…

      Glad you stopped by and thanks for your comment-

  2. Dianne Miller December 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Trying not to make the mistakes you have written above helped me have my most successful year yet. You can not hear it enough and I appreciate your sharing!

    • Lori McNee December 24, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Dianne,

      It is great to hear you validate this article. Thanks for taking time to comment. Here’s to a successful 2011!


    • Lori McNee January 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      So glad you are doing well! If you have any tips to share, let me know. I wish you an even better 2011!


  3. Meltemi December 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

    LTD.Edition? Ouch! Art for many of us is not a hobby it is a business. Its something we struggle to make. its something we struggle with to market. its something we jut about make a profit from. We paint, we write about art, we blog about art, we think about art we even even dream about the next artwork. An occasional steer fro the likes of Lori cuts down on the effort.

    • Lori McNee December 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm

      So true! Art is all consuming because there are so many facets involved. This article is a gentle reminder of the business side of art. I am so glad this has helped you in some small way.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and Happy Holidays-
      Lori 🙂

    • Lori McNee January 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      I am glad my articles are helping you in some small way! Thanks for letting me know.


  4. Kate Bradley February 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I am inspire to work on my “unique value proposition” now. Thanks for the great advice.

    • Lori McNee February 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Kate,

      It is important for ‘us’ artists to remember to think like small business owners. I am glad this advice helped you!

      Lori 🙂

  5. Jennifer Johansson November 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Just subscribed to your feed when I realized that everything I favorited on twitter was from you. Thank you for the practical and applicable advice!

    • Lori McNee November 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Haha…well, thanks for letting me know Jennifer. It’s great to see you here too.

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