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  • Writer's pictureStacey Ebert

Top Challenges Small Business Owners Face & How to Handle Them

Perhaps you honed your skills as an entrepreneur crafting products in your basement or designing web pages in a garage. Whether a collaboration, partnership, or a multi-piece band, ‘small and medium-sized enterprises control 95% of the business market and regulate 60-70% of employment’. However, only about 50% of those that make it through launch are still around a year later, and still fewer are considered "successful."

The National Federation of Independent Businesses researches all sorts of everything affecting small businesses. Successes, failures, job openings, and struggles along the way - they research it all. Want to know what some of the top challenges facing small business owners today are and possible solutions to those struggles? We’ve got you covered.

Cash Flow

Limited cash flow can hamper even the most established businesses. Strategically managing that money is significant in the success of any small business. Even with heaps of assets, without cash, it’s hard to continue to build a business and pay employees. Ample funding matters and having the business sense to manage it correctly matters even more. Solutions to this struggle involve taking in more money, taking on more clients, and building a profit, all of which are obvious but not so simple. One way to move forward is to consult expert opinions on the matter. Whether financial advisers, business advisers, or employing the merits of the endless cash management tools available - ignoring the problem is never a solution. Start with some of the basic tasks of getting your house in order. Get assistance with bookkeeping, lessen that capital drain, and be sure to do your best to diversify your income streams and maintain some level of cash on hand.

Hiring New Employees

If you’re running a small business, most likely you’re not doing it alone. If you’ve got good employees, do your best to train them and retain them. If you need to recruit more talented people seek those with experience in the modality necessary. Today, user reviews are a huge part of consumer marketing. Digital marketing group Fan Fuel tells us that ‘‘Ninety-two percent of people will hesitate to complete a purchase when there are absolutely no reviews available’. Similarly, potential employees will check you out online to see what people are saying about your business. While it may be difficult to find new talent with unemployment numbers at a low, it might serve your company well to work to retain those employees you already have. Ask them to contribute reviews of working for you on sites like Glassdoor.

Growth vs Quality

Many of us have trouble delegating. We want to do it all ourselves and the way we expect it to be done, and often run ourselves ragged doing so. Growing a business is a difficult task and doing it all on your own doesn’t often work. While no one wants to trade quality of service or product for growth, it’s possible that to continue to thrive the founder needs to allow some others to take the reigns a bit more often. Strategic leadership can help to grow that business. Diversifying a client base is vital to that growth. With proper marketing, your business can choose those essential and particular media platforms to provide that niche marketing and stand out from the crowd. Targeting and retaining already satisfied customers through creative and personalized services can help to manage that compromise between quality of process and scale of business.

Staying Passionate

At this moment, there are five generations working in business. All five are seeking something different and often have different talents to offer. With ‘traditionalists, baby boomers, gen x, millennials, and gen z’ all in the same space, the talents and challenges are interesting to maneuver. What they have in common is seeking purpose. Consumers are looking beyond a brand’s product to their mission and how they are providing service to the world. If buyers are willing to swap products based on a company’s level of philanthropic mission, the same can be said for employees. Sure, there are still some who are in it for the long haul, but many are looking for purpose, for passion and to really feel that their impact is bigger than themselves. There was a fire within each employee that may have sparked their interest in your company in the first place, do your best to continue to ignite that flame. Work to engage their various values, insights, and motivations. Educate staff so they can see and feel that bigger picture and impart those answers to clients and consumers.

Government Regulations

As long as there are governments, there will be regulations. Whether from local council, county, state, or federal, regulations are a constant. Designed to protect a shared society, businesses often struggle between the benefits of regulations as a consumer themselves and the difficulties of working within all of the necessary guidelines. Workers need protection, a shared society needs some safe havens, and businesses want to both make a profit and continue to play a role in that shared society. Stay vigilant and know your stuff. Government regulations change often - it’s your responsibility to keep your protocols up to date. Work with employees and management to find the best way to keep your company running while maintaining a symbiotic relationship with all involved.

Throughout the life of a small business there will be ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, adversity and new ideas. Whether it’s challenges like cybersecurity and managing new tech, managing user reviews, or keeping up with the needs of the newest crop of employees, aspects of running a small business will constantly keep owners on their toes. Regardless of the services provided or products produced, small businesses will continue to be leading entities in the business world and often the pride and joy of their owners.

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