Time and money always top the list of challenges small-business owners face. If you asked the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, they might even think they face those problems too! The truth is, small businesses face obstacles that don’t plague bigger companies. Don’t worry, though—you can rise above these issues and make your business thrive.
1. Lack of Knowledge and Skills
Every leader has strengths—and weaknesses. A smart leader does something about it. Recognize your weak areas and find classes or training to improve yourself.
2. Information Overload
Information comes at you with lightning speed, but not all sources are created equal. The first article you see can often be the result of marketing manipulation, so don’t trust every emerging trend or popular article that pops up. Instead, ask mentors which information sources they trust. Try them out and stick with the ones with a proven, factual track record.
3. Lack of Direction
A well-known proverb says that without a vision, the people perish. The same applies your business. You need to decide your company’s long-term strategic priorities and set goals to get there. Then at least once a quarter, take time to evaluate those priorities and goals and adjust as necessary. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted by what other companies are doing instead of focusing on what’s important to yours.
4. Refusing to Innovate
Taking your business to the next level may be dependent on your willingness to change the status quo. Sometimes, you need to break what’s not broken and create something completely new. Be willing to take risks, try different approaches, and move into spaces where others won’t go. You may need to sacrifice good so you can work toward great.
5. Going It Alone
When you own a small business, hiring help means lower profits and higher expenses. I get that. But trying to do everything yourself can mean missed phone calls, failing to treat clients with excellence, financial miscues, and other costly mistakes. Think of the upside: The increased productivity from another person could offset the cost of the hire. It could save your sanity too!
6. Finding Team Members
Every business struggles to find the right people, but when you own a small business, every hire matters. That’s why you need to invest significant time up front. Take the interview process slowly and seriously. Create a list of the must-haves, and don’t settle for anything less. Wait for the person who’s the perfect fit then set them up for success by training them well. As your business grows, add people to the team whose skills complement yours. Don’t only hire people who think and act just like you.
7. Finding and Keeping Clients
Building your customer base is one of the most challenging aspects of a small business. It’s hard to compete with larger companies. That doesn’t mean you can’t win against the big guns. You offer one thing that a huge enterprise can’t: outstanding customer service. Give clients an over-the-top, professional experience and you’ll develop loyalty. Remember, it’s all about building relationships.
8. Relying on One Client
When your business is in the infant stage, a big client can provide a huge revenue stream. But sooner or later, that stream will dry up and you’ll be left high and dry. To avoid this trap, don’t build your budget around one client. Instead, go after new clients. That means getting the word out. In today’s world, a social media presence is a must. On the flip side, networking is just as important. A face-to-face encounter will outperform a picture on Instagram 99% of the time. If you can balance the two, you’ll be unstoppable.
9. Physical Fatigue
In small businesses, the owner is CEO, accountant, salesperson, marketer and copy writer. I’ve been there. It’s exhausting. I can tell you that running yourself into the ground will run your business into the ground too. Neglecting personal needs is not an option. Exercise. Pursue a hobby unrelated to your work. Set aside time for family. There will always be more work, but there’s only one you.
The best part of owning a small business is that you’re in the driver’s seat. Your business grows from the sweat of your brow, but you get to reap the rewards. Don’t let any obstacle keep your business from succeeding. You can do this!