All businesses begin small. And it is these small businesses that are incubators for innovation in any economy. They foster new ideas and generate employment opportunities.
While a business owner might control many things in his business, the larger aspects that drive or doom businesses are beyond an owner’s control. These factors include natural disasters, economy shift, change in government regulations and tax policies, healthcare policies, etc.
Here we will discuss some of the major concerns that torment small business owners in 2015.
Economic and Regulatory Changes
Market conditions and changing economy steer the companies from running into losses to progressive heights. And since small businesses constitute around 50% of US GDP, even an iota of change in economic policies directly affects the influencers of country’s annual growth rate.
Variation in existing laws instills uncertain conditions in the business community, which eventually give rise to anticipatory insecurities within the workforce and destabilizes businesses. Sometimes exhaustive laws are implemented to encourage green practices, and as a result heavy fines are levied on small businesses adding to their deficit. Such penalties are capable of closing down firms unable to meet up the change.
Foreign trade has increased globally beyond doubts and there are multiple commercial transactions happening with more than one country. Whenever there are alterations in any of the country’s foreign trade policy, the impact has to be borne by the stakeholders on both sides. As small businesses are more vulnerable they are considerably affected.
However, an efficient leadership can elevate deteriorating businesses. Good leaders play a significant role in driving growth through their people’s skills and articulate decision making. In such times, organize meetings with people to mitigate their insecurities and boost morale. Plan your finances in advance; and don’t hesitate to revise your strategy foreseeing a need.
To avoid major setback as an SMB owner you need to constantly observe your company’s performance with any impacting change. The magnitude of impact experienced by your company will determine its future sustenance capacity. A company that survives vexing times promises a higher growth potential.
2. Capital availability
Businesses require regular cash inflow. And the question that mulls over most SMBs is #– How to raise this capital? We know that profits are marginal in small businesses and are banked for next term investments. And once your business venture has attained a subsequent growth where you have recruited 200-500 employees. Your liabilities have increased. Along with your staff salaries you require surplus funds to invest into new business prospects. Also a contingency planning is mandatory irrespective of the company size and age.
There are banks associated with Small Business Administration which are ready to invest in businesses running short of working capital. Even traditional banks grant easy loans to promising businesses that have earned credibility. As these banks offer a low interest rate they are the most feasible options to repay for small to medium firms. You may have to approach a couple of banks for your requirement and negotiate a several times for reasonable terms and conditions, remember nothing comes easy. To generate capital for your business that helps you afloat in the most vexing economic recessions, this is but a small deal.
Don’t use your personal funds as far as possible, for two reasons namely: 1.They may be sufficient for a onetime investment, but a business requires continuous inflow of funds to support routine activities. 2. Once you have utilized your contingency fund, you have nothing to look up to in crisis.
3. Resource Management
A small business has cost constraints preventing you from hiring expensive resources from the market. This compels you to settle for optimum performing resources at minimum wages. However suitability of these resources is of absolute importance. Hire them mindfully and retain them peacefully is the motto. Where a small team of 10 doesn’t need special handling, a workforce of 50 above requires a proper Human Resource Management Officer. This resource manager ensures proper enforcement of rules and regulations along with up keeping employee satisfaction levels.
Sometimes small businesses with pressure of outperforming their successful competitors work 24 hours. And the workforce is divided in different shifts. Management of their shift timings can be an additional task; you can use readymade scheduling template available in the market to manage employee timings and wages. Employee engagement programs and trainings help maintain work life balance. A happy workforce is the key to running a successful business.
4. Security Issues
All organizations are dependent on internet as a major source of communication. At the same time opening your gates to internet also renders you vulnerable to malicious virus attacks and security issues. Sometimes entire intranet lines are forced to shut down owing to malwares. Small businesses cannot afford costly prevention mechanisms for a data breach or virus attack. But protection of information is essential for all businesses, whether it is from an unauthorized person entering your server rooms or from accessible open networks.
For all these reasons many new businesses resort to cloud computing. As they implement strict ISO security standards and host the entire system in a secured location, the chances of your important information being compromised are least.
5. Increasing employee health insurance costs
The impact of rising health insurance costs has taken a toll on small business owners. With a new insurance plan – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought into practice the firms above 100 employees will have to insure 95% of their full time employees by 2016. This has burdened the SMBs with more cost coverage compared to previous insurance practices. This has mandated employers to cover most of their employees under high premium health insurance scheme. To alleviate the problem businesses that are unable to bear the premium are asking their employees to pay higher premiums, this again will lead to unsatisfied employees opting out of either jobs or their health coverage.
However, there are better ways to manage such costs. You can reduce employee work hours; prioritize tasks in hand to avail time-effective productivity from your employees. You can also cut down on investment costs rather than staff salaries.
I have heard of no business that has never encountered challenges. However addressing these business challenges by proper and ethical practices will not just survive your business in difficult times but ensure a steady growth with market credibility. Keeping in loop all the factors – from raising capital to managing employees, abiding state laws at the same time and undertaking security measures one can work at softening these concerns to maximum effect.