Owning your own business can be rewarding but there are many challenges that you need to overcome. The best thing you can do as a small business owner is prepare for these challenges so that you can assess your situation and potentially rethink your business strategy.
- Creating a Vision for the Future
When you first start your small business, you will often find yourself spending all your time taking care of the day-to-day tasks or current problems. This leaves you with little time to think about the future of your business. You need to ensure you are setting aside time regularly to create a long-term plan for the business so that there is a clear path the direction the business should be taking. Click here to read more about developing your business plan.
- Finding and Retaining Employees
Hiring the right employees is one of the hardest parts of being in business. Finding qualified talent is a challenge that all business owners, big and small, face. As a business owner, you have to not only find employees that fit within your business but you must also work hard at retaining those employees.
- Financial Management
Most people start a business because they have a passion for the goods or services they provide, not because they are a whiz at financial management. Managing the finances of a small business is a major challenge for many small business owners. You can read this blog to learn more about the different financial statements small businesses use to help you better understand the financial health of your small business.
- Building and Maintaining a Good Reputation
It takes time to build your businesses reputation and, once it is built, it takes work to maintain that reputation. You always want to be aware of the decisions you are making and how those decisions could impact your reputation.
- Tax Compliance
Many small business owners are concerned about staying compliant with tax authorities. There are many online tools available that will help you make necessary filings and payments to the appropriate tax entities. We also have a list of local resources on our website to help you find local accountants and book keepers.
- Scaling the Business
This is one of the hardest hurdles for small business owners to overcome as they go through growing pains. There is not a perfect answer to know when and how to scale your business. You will need to ask yourself several questions, such as, do I have the right employees to support the business growth, do I have the clients to support the business growth, and can I business scale and manage the side effects that come with scaling the business.
- Getting your First Customers
A challenge for many of our business owners is getting their first customers, especially for businesses that don’t have retail locations, such as consultants, life coaches, government contractors, and service providers. It is hard getting started without any name recognition or customer referrals. Finding customers starts with identifying your ideal customer. Follow the steps in our Customer Discovery blog to help you better understand who your customer is.
- Managing Workflow
Once you have your employees in place, the next challenge is ensuring that your team has the knowledge, processes, and tools needed to work efficiently and effectively. As the owner of the business, you can not be hands on with every single project. You need your employees to work in the business while you focus on working on the business. There are several online applications available to help small businesses manage their employee’s workflow.
- Staying Passionate
Most small business owners start a business that provides a good or service that they themselves enjoy. As time goes by, sometimes it is easy to lose that initial passion in the day-to-day tasks that need to be completed. As much as we talked about making sure you are working on your business, sometimes it is important to jump in and work in your business to ensure you maintain the passion that drove you to start the business in the first place.
Since you are reading this blog, you are already moving in the correct direction and setting your business up for success by understanding the challenges that you may face. One additional thing to remember is that you are not alone. These challenges affect almost all small businesses in all types of industries. How your business responds to these challenges is what will set your business apart from your competitors.
The University of Mary Washington Small Business Development Center (UMW SBDC) helps local businesses evaluate their business to determine effective strategies for growing and scaling their business. If you are a client, please contact your consultant to schedule an appointment. If you are not already a client, you may register for free, confidential business assistance by completing a Request for Consulting form.