Let’s start with this: there isn’t a small business owner anywhere, in any sector or industry, who wants to kill their business. In fact, it’s the absolute last thing they’d think of doing — if they ever thought about doing it (which of course they don’t).

Yet despite this fact, a staggering number of small business owners are directly responsible for the demise of their business. Of course, this is entirely unintentional. But frankly, that’s beside the point: dead is dead, whether deliberate or accidental.

And so, how do these business owners slay their beloved business? There are three common ways:

They try and do everything themselves

During the first few months of their business — and maybe even the first few years — small business owners typically do a handful of jobs: everything from sales development to janitorial work (hey, someone has to clean the coffee machine and do the vacuuming, right?).

However, there comes a time when small business owners have to either onboard new talent to offset the burden, or they have to outsource tasks to skilled consultants, contractors or freelancers. Unfortunately, many small business owners are so used to being in control, that they don’t know when (or even how) to let go. Paradoxically, instead of protecting their small business, they suffocate it. Ways Kill Business Underwater

They don’t optimize lifetime customer value

Studies show that it can cost up to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one. Unfortunately, many small business owners are so focused on new customers, that they neglect their existing ones. If they keep doing this, sooner or later there aren’t any existing customers left — because they’ve all left for the competition.

Not investing in marketing

Many small business owners delay investing in marketing until they get bigger, and have more working capital. However, the truth is that they’re very unlikely to get bigger unless and until they invest in marketing.

In other words, the marketing investment has to come first, before the growth and profitability happens. Of course, this doesn’t mean that small business owners should be forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Super Bowl ad. There are many highly effective and surprisingly affordable marketing strategies and tactics, including getting box truck graphics or car wraps, cross-promoting with local businesses, leveraging social media marketing, utilizing pay-per-click advertising (e.g. Google AdWords), and so on.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a small business owner and are making any of the above mistakes, then don’t feel bad: they’re very common. However, they’re also very costly — and in some cases, they can be catastrophic. Avoiding them will keep your small business strong, and your dream alive!