Every small business has struggles – some early on, some during growth, others just pop up here and there. As an entrepreneur or owner of a small business you should know that you’re not alone, there are others out there facing the same things you are going through.
While these problems are not unique to running a small business, they are more challenging due to limited resources. Some of the common struggles faced by start-ups and small companies are:
1.Attracting customers – Most small businesses would say that their “largest struggle” is: to attract a constant stream of new customers/clients that can and will pay for their services/products. Ofcourse every small business has to address this challenge in different ways to carve out a niche that serves their purpose. But when you are just starting out, it’s incredibly hard to get noticed and show that you’re credible.
2.Playing multiple roles – One of the greatest struggles of the small business owner is finding the way to ‘do it all’. As the owner with limited funds to hire competent staff for every aspect of your business, it comes down to you to handle all areas – from administration to production. It sometimes becomes difficult to find time to do your own work as you get bogged down with e-mails, paperwork and supervising the work of others.
3.Visibility – Most small businesses struggle with being seen. A restriction on resources means not enough funds are available for aggressive marketing and advertising. Not being visible means losing out to existing customers who are checking out competitors, as well as potential customers who can’t find you.
4.Finances – Funds are always limited, every cost to the company has to be carefully weighed against future benefits. Very often to meet the expenses of the business, the owners have to take a cut.
5.Saying No – As a small business, it’s important to know your process and what customers and clients are a great fit for your business. A common challenge faced is saying no to certain leads coming in because they aren’t a fit for the business model. When you’re growing, leads and customers are the heartbeat of your business and you need them to keep your doors open. But you can cripple your business and your reputation if you take on customers you can’t get results for or are going to be so incredibly high maintenance that your other clients suffer. Walking away from revenue in order to respect your business model and limitations as a small company is no easy task.
6.Rejection – In any business – irrespective of size, being turned down or away comes with the territory. But this can be extremely challenging in the case of a small business, where the owner and the company and very closely linked. Rejection of the product or service that your company has to offer can feel personal, and get you down. It’s very important to remember that it doesn’t reflect on you as a person.
7.Delegating – You might be tempted to do everything yourself in order for it to be “perfect”. But this is not sustainable in the long run, as your business grows. You will be required to handle the important tasks while leaving others to be delegated. This is a struggle a lot of entrepreneurs face, not being able to pass on the reigns to someone else, because of the fear that they won’t do as good a job as they would. You won’t be able to reach everywhere, leading to a decline in the quality of your work. Learn to delegate, and trust that with your guidance and supervision it will be done right.
8.Networking – As a busy entrepreneur with endless task lists and just so many hours in a day, the temptation and ease of staying behind a PC and doing things electronically is appealing. But this can keep you from going out and meeting people. Face-to-face networking and speaking to groups create such valuable relationships quickly that they can really pay off. The best things happen in business when you are right there with people.
9.Finding The Right Employees – As a start-up or small business with limited capital, it is not easy to find qualified talent willing to join with no or limited guarantee of future success. Finding, keeping, and developing people are time consuming and extremely important tasks, as your employees are the face of your business. The impact of their decisions and actions are far stronger in a small company than a large organisation.
10.Being Open to Change – It is difficult to crack the formula to a successful business, and when you do you might not want to change your business structure if things are going well. It’s important to remember that there is always room for improvement for growth of your business. Change is inevitable, what works today, might not tomorrow. As hard as it was to get it right the first time, you can’t be hung up on it. To stay ahead of competition and be relevant to your customers, you have to be flexible and open to change.