Startups face a lot of challenges. Sadly, some don’t triumph over these challenges and end up closing down. We are here to help new entrepreneurs by taking into account 17 of the most common small business challenges, and how these problems can be solved.
1. Thinking of the right business
Coming up with the right business idea is on top of the list of the challenges that new entrepreneurs safe. This is also perhaps one of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges there are. It is hard to think of a business that you will have to commit to, and one that will survive.
In order to address this, spend time in doing research. Know what your target market needs, and provide a product that will answer one of these.
I started out as a seller in Amazon, until I decided to go through with an ecommerce platform to sell clothes online. Through that platform, I have created my yoga apparel store with ease. I teach yoga, and I saw the need for comfortable yoga apparel. It helped me stay committed to my business as I know the tools of the trade, and what people are looking for.
2. Coming up with the right product
You now have a business idea. But what product will serve this business idea? Will you create a product of your own, or will you resell a product that is manufactured by somebody else?
The answer to this problem depends on your skills and your ability to make a product. If your product is cooked food, then of course, it is best if you do it yourself. But if your product is a complex tool or device, then the answer is that you should partner with a manufacturer and sell their product. In doing the latter, however, check whether there are other business who are selling the same product.
3. Getting the capital
Now that you have the right business idea, and the right product, now how do you fund this? Unless you are lucky enough to be the son or daughter of rich parents, or if you have been saving money all your life, then getting the money to set up a business is a problem.
There are a couple of ways for you to get the capital you need to set up your business. First, seek help from your relatives and friends. You may not have come from a rich family but with a little help from everyone, you are bound to be able to get your business up and running. You can also consider getting no fluff, realistic loans from a bank. Finally, you can reach out to your potential customers and offer them value-added services in exchange for helping you start your business.
4. Getting a business partner
Business partners lessen the weight that you will carry as a business owner. Also, two heads (or more) is better than one. The problem lies in finding the right business partner.
In looking for a business partner, talk about your goals and how both of you plan to reach them. The right business partner (or partners) is one whose goals are similar to yours, and whose plan to reach such goals are also similar to yours. Conflicting goals and means would lead to a bad partnership.
5. Hiring the right people
Starting up a business doesn’t mean that you should be working alone. You should consider hiring people to help you out. The problem now lies in getting the right people to work for you.
To get the right staff, come up with requirements that are appropriate for your business. However, don’t be too demanding! Don’t concentrate on skills alone – when interviewing the candidates, ask questions that will reveal their attitude towards work. Hire a person with the right balance of skills and attitude.
6. Assigning tasks to your employees
So you think you have the right people. But are you assigning the right tasks to them?
When designating employees to their respective tasks, consider their strengths and weaknesses and match these to the job where they fill fit very well.
7. Finding your customers
When you brainstormed for your business, you came up with a target market. Your target market, however, doesn’t automatically become your customers.
In order to transform your target market into actual customers, do marketing. Give out flyers, print posters, go on social media – let your target market know the benefits of having your product.
8. Managing your time
Some people don’t spend 100% of their time on their business. Some still have jobs aside from their business venture. This isn’t the problem. The problem is in managing one’s time.
To manage your time well, list your tasks – for both your job and your business. Make a schedule that would provide ample time for all your commitments. Make sure to adhere to your schedule in as much as you can. Just make sure that your schedule is realistic!
9. Quitting your job
While some work while operating a business, some opt to quit and just focus on their business. Being your own boss can be quite tempting, isn’t it?
Quitting your job is a not a problem in itself. It becomes a problem when you give too much credit to your business’ ability to sustain your needs. So before sending that resignation letter, take into account all your expenses for the month, and check if your average profits from your business can shoulder all of it.
10. Having too many competitors
Do you have too much competitors? This shouldn’t be an issue unless these competitors are hindering your success.
So that your business is not overshadowed by your competitors, come up with great marketing strategies that will make your stand out. Highlight your product’s advantages over others.
11. Marketing Strategy to employ
Now that we’re talking about marketing strategy, what really marketing strategies should you use?
First of all, marketing’s goals is for you to earn new customers, retain your current customers, and regain lost customers. You should then employ strategies that will do this. Deciding on what channel to utilize to reach your target market is up to you but you should just make sure that you are sending the right message to your potential customers. Show them what benefits they can get from your product, and how such benefits outweigh the benefits that other products offer.
12. Keeping cash flowing
Hopefully, a considerable amount of profits are coming in to your business. But keeping cash flowing is a problem that a lot of new business owners are not doing well. They end up spending more than the business can help them pay, and end up being bankrupt.
The answer to this problem is proper budgeting and accounting. Also, as a business owner, you must not be entitled to the entirety of the business’ profits. What you should do instead is to entitle yourself to a salary, and excess profits should be put back to the business like increased inventory, or additional equipment, so that more profits can be realized the next month.
13. Working on a tight budget
It’s great to think that your business will earn a lot of money. But this is not the case all the time. Sometimes, you will have to work on a tight budget.
As a business owner, you should always anticipate this. Save money that will help you in times like this. You would not want to aggravate the problem by not getting enough supply, or by laying off your employees. Again, adhere to a budget.
14. Developing the business
Business development is essential in surviving. Although you are just new, you should also plan out how your business will develop because sooner or later, you will have to. Customers will easily be bored by a business that stays as is – you will have to innovate your business in order to keep it alive.
To help you do this, read how other business in the industry are developing. As a new player in the industry, you will have to be a follower first. Market leaders will know what to do. But always remember, market leaders were once startups. Your business will have a chance to be where they are now.
Consider reading this guide on how to design a brand identity. Your branding efforts will eventually pay off as customers will continue to recognize your brand and all their experience in transacting with your business. Branding is important as this is the face of your company whether offline or online.
15. Developing your product
Your product should likewise improve after a while. And even as a new business, you should already consider this. But how would you develop your product?
Know what lacks in your product. Ask your customers for feedback. Do surveys. After which, make your product meet your customers’ demands.
16. Developing your market
Your product and your business shouldn’t only be the ones to develop – your market should too. May it be increasing your geographic market, or may it be offering a variety of your product in order to appeal to other demographic markets, your market should grow after a while.
To help you achieve this, do a study again. Research will always be your best help.
17. Lacking self-confidence
Especially at times when your business is not flourishing, you will end up doubting yourself and your business. You might give your business a second thought, and you might even considering shutting down. Don’t!
There are lots of challenges and that is undeniable. But your business’ survivability depends of your ability to drive it forward. Your business doesn’t need a self-doubting leader – it needs a strong-minded one that will face all the challenges head on. You are the heart and the mind of your business and you shouldn’t be weak. Now let’s get your business going!