Many people dream of the freedom of owning their own business one day, only to feel shackled by the challenges they face once the business is up and running.
In fact, according to a recent Gallup research poll, roughly 50% of all new U.S. companies fail within the first five years.
If you are thinking of starting your own business or are a fledgling small business owner, it’s important to understand the common challenges faced by many small business owners as well as possible solutions for those challenges.
Here are some everyday challenges you may experience as well as tips to help you avoid these pitfalls and set yourself up for success.
6 Common Challenges for Small Business Owners
Challenge #1—Developing a Solid Business Plan
Even the best ideas can fall flat without a strong business plan. Write a business plan that outlines both short-term objectives and long term goals as well as revenue projections and milestones to help you stay on track.
Solution—There are a variety of free resources on the internet to help you get started, including business plan templates, business planning software, and how-to articles. If you would like additional assistance, consider enlisting the help of a qualified business consultant.
Challenge #2—Getting Access to Capital/Funding to Start or Grow Your Business
Unfortunately, obtaining the capital you need to get your business off the ground or to expand your operations can be a daunting experience.
Solution—Companies like Kabbage give small businesses the opportunity to apply online for capital and get an answer in minutes. Approval is based not only on your credit score but also a variety of business data in real time for a more well-rounded approach to determining the creditworthiness of your business.
Challenge #3—Attracting Clients with a Limited Budget
A small business can feel like a small fish in a big ocean when trying to compete against larger companies to win business, but there are several strategies you can use to level the playing field, even on a tight budget.
Solution—Here are a few tips for drawing in new customers:
- Responsive Website: To compete with the big guys (or gals), it is imperative that you have a professional-looking, mobile-friendly website. This will give you more prominence in search results and a competitive edge, especially against those with static websites that can’t be read easily from mobile devices.
- Internet Marketing: Utilize social media channels, email marketing, SEO, content marketing, online advertising, and other tactics to inexpensively expand your reach to potential customers. If you aren’t sure how to utilize these techniques, enlist the help of a well-rated internet marketing company. Also, check out our blog for a wide variety of internet marketing tips and tricks for small business owners.
- Barters/Exchanges: Trade exchanges, like New England Trade in the New England area, give members a competitive advantage by using barter to bring in new business, boost revenue, and offset cash expenses, among other things. Check out the local barter companies in your area to take advantage of this opportunity.
Challenge #4—Time Management/Organization
Time is a valuable and elusive commodity for most small business owners, especially if you are working the business on your own or with a handful of staff members.
Solution—In the technological age we live in, there are a variety of productivity tools available to help us make the most out of each day. Evernote is an example of a free app that provides you with a workspace to organize your daily projects. Make lists, record meetings and verbal notations, save images, take notes, present ideas, and more with this handy tool. Trying to measure workplace productivity? Toggl is a great free tool (for up to five team members) to track the billable time spent on projects for you and your team. It is easy to get started and is a nice alternative to the traditional time sheet if you work on multiple projects at once. This can give you a great overall picture of how time is spent so that you can more effectively manage projects/tasks. There are also a variety of helpful time management tips available online to help you make the most of your day.
Challenge #5—Trying to Do It All Yourself
Many small business owners are faced with the challenge of starting up a business alone or with a very small staff because of limited funds. This can easily become overwhelming and take its toll on both the owner and the quality of the product or service.
Solution—Companies like Upwork (formerly Odesk) offer a more affordable staffing solution for those who need short term help or can’t afford to hire in-house employees. Here you can find talented freelancers for just about any position that can be done online.
Challenge #6—Keeping Track of Your Financials
With all of the balls you are juggling, it can be easy to overlook cash flow and what money is coming in and going out each month. However, failing to monitor your financials can be detrimental to the growth of your small business.
Solution—Cloud accounting software like FreshBooks offers a fast, secure way for you to manage your billing and expenses, track time spent, access instant profit & loss reports, and more so you can focus on growing your business.
Hopefully you are able to utilize some of the resources mentioned above to answer some of the nagging challenges you face.
OpenVine is a greater Boston web development company specializing in internet marketing and responsive website design for small businesses. If you need help elevating your online presence to increase website traffic and quality leads, contact us today or get a free online quote.