Small-business owners said mistakes include not firing an employee, thinking too small

vbridges@newsobserver.comFebruary 18, 2014 

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked small-business owners to share mistakes they don’t want to repeat. This is what they said.

• “We have made many mistakes over 20 years, so it’s hard to pick one, but they are somewhat a necessity in growing a business,” said Barry Mitsch, co-founder and vice president of The Pyramid Resource Group, a Cary firm that provides corporate coaching and leadership development. “You have to take risks and by making a mistake or two, you accumulate wisdom that makes decision making more and more precise. But you can’t be afraid of making a mistake; it’s part of being human and a powerful learning experience.”

• “Taking too long to terminate an employee. As a small business, we have to have the right people in the right jobs or our operations suffer,” said Robert Wood, an attorney with Triangle Trademarks, a Raleigh trademark law and branding firm. “Nobody wants to terminate someone, but waiting too long to address an employment issue always hurts the company.”

• “My mistake was thinking too small, remaining in the bootstrapping mode and mentality when expansion was clearly needed,” said Nancy Ruffner, president and CEO of NAVIGATE NC, a Raleigh firm that manages home and health care needs for Triangle seniors. “Funding growth and a farther reach will enable my business to help more clients.”

• “Unfortunately I learned the hard way that I do not know everything and not having a mentor or adviser can be deadly,” said Patrick Natole, CEO of The Natole Group, which provides advising and consulting services out of its Raleigh office. “Even as a certified business adviser, I need to have people I can turn to for advice or simply bounce ideas off.”

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