Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Starting and maintaining a business is the hardest journey many people will embark upon. Regardless of the type of business, there are common challenges for business owners. The following contributed post is entitled, Common Problems Faced by Business Owners.
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In the end, it’s worth it. That’s what a lot of business owners say. The path to the top might be long, but ultimately, if it’s successful, then they can look back on the blood, sweat, and tears with something akin to fondness. Indeed, it’s these challenges that many business owners embrace; the graft is one of the primary reasons for starting a business. Still, that doesn’t make them any easier to navigate. Fortunately, it’s unusual for a problem to come from nowhere, and to be radically different from the problems experienced by other business owners. There are a bunch of common problems, and since they’re common, newbies to the game can read up on them before launching their own venture. Below, we take a look at some of the recurring issues, as well as offer advice on how they can be overcome.
Will it Work?
Business owners tend to jump between a level of confidence that’s getting close to arrogance, and fearing that nothing will go right. If setting up a company was guaranteed to be successful, then wouldn’t everyone do it? Part of starting a business is understanding that there’s an element of risk involved. Indeed, that’s more or less the entire game. You can’t win big rewards if you’re not risking anything, right? So there will always be doubts about whether it’s going to work — nothing is guaranteed. However, you can calculate the risk that you’re taking by conducting as much research beforehand as possible. This will form part of the market research segment of your business plan development, which will tell you whether there’s a demand for what you’re going to offer to the public.
Finding Time and Space
You’ve got the idea for the business, but ideas only take you so far. It’s the actual sitting down and getting down to work component that’ll make the biggest difference. Since you’re a new venture, however, this could prove to be a challenge. When you have a regular job, you have a complete office and scheduled hours. When you’re doing your own thing, you don’t. As such, it’s recommended that you figure out where and when you’re going to work as soon as possible. You’ll find that it’s much easier to make progress when you’re able to work productively, which is something that having an office space — be it in the home, rented office, or a working space — and scheduled working hours will allow.
You’re in business in order to ultimately make money, but that could take some time. To get things going, you’ll need to spend money first. Finding the funds to get your company off the ground and knowing how to budget will be two of the biggest challenges that you face in the early days. It’s sometimes recommended to take a money management course, or to outsource all of your company’s financial matters to a third-party company. There are a lot of companies that end up failing not because they didn’t offer good products or services, but because they ran into cash-flow problems from which they couldn’t recover.
You can’t prevent yourself from making fundamental business errors that result in poor company finances. If you read up and understand the best practices, then you can safeguard your venture against cash-flow problems and other financial issues that can derail success. But some financial hits you just can’t see coming. For example, if your office is affected by a natural disaster, or you’re the victim of an elaborate break-in. There are some things you can do to protect yourself against them happening, but not all that much — sometimes, you’re just unlucky. What is in your control is how ready you are to absorb the hit. Look at getting commercial insurance from Krywolt, and you’ll have a level of coverage that’ll mean a natural disaster doesn’t have to mean disaster for your business. It’s all about preparing for the worst. You’ll hope it doesn’t happen, but at least you’ll know that you’ll be ready if it does.
Winning Customer Trust
There’s no shortage of companies out there, and, alas, not all of them are as upstanding or as noble as they should be. Additionally, you’ve got the fact that customers, for various reasons, generally prefer to give their custom to the businesses that they already know. If you’re going to win customers, then you need to win their trust. It won’t just be given. There are multiple ways you can do this. You can, first, deliver what you say you’ll deliver; there’s no value in promising the world if you can’t provide it. You’ll also want to have all the staples of a trustworthy company, including strong branding, a robust online presence, and so on.
Online customer reviews are both a blessing and a curse. They have, overall, had a positive impact on the business world, since they’ve given a voice to customers that were previously voiceless. However, we all know that there’s a dark side to reviews. Customers can have ridiculous demands and, when they’re not met, take their anger out on a company by posting negative comments online. And this is a problem for companies, especially smaller ones, for whom reviews are mightily important. You can help protect yourself by actively managing your reviews. Whenever one is posted, whether it’s positive or negative, look at responding. It’ll show that you care about the customer experience.
Big Business Threats
They say that it has never been easier to start a business. But we’re also living in an age when big business is king. No matter what type of business you’re running, you’ll find that there is a much larger company offering the same services or products. It’s a David versus Goliath situation. It’s important to remember that your smaller stature can work to your advantage. Try as they might, huge corporations will never be able to offer the same level of boutique service and care that small, independent outfits can.
It’s not easy running a business. It can feel like you’re forever walking uphill, and it’s normal that it will get a little tiring from time to time. There’ll be times when it feels like you’re at the bottom of a pit. You’ll see a rope offering the way out, which is the equivalent of giving up on your business. Don’t take it! Life and work can’t be positive all the time. You’re going to go through tough periods. It’s the business owners who are able to carry on working hard even when times are tough that go on to become successful in the long term.
Even when things are going well, it’s important that you’re protecting yourself against another common problem that business owners face: low energy levels. Take care to ensure that you’re looking after yourself and getting enough rest. It’s tempting to think that you’ll be doing right by your business by working twelve hour days, but this isn’t the case. If you’re working so much, then all you’re doing is draining your energy. You’ll find that the way you’re working isn’t sustainable. As such, have a cut off time each day, and force yourself to take a vacation every now and again. You’ll be able to achieve much more if you’ve got plenty of energy to spare.
You may be able to start your business just by yourself. But eventually, there’ll come a point when you’re not able to run things alone. You’ll need to bring other people on board if you’re going to sufficiently grow. Alas, this is often more difficult than it sounds, and especially if you haven’t been involved in a hiring process before. Before going through the process for your company, it’s recommended that you look up the best hiring processes. Also, don’t forget to factor in your intuition — you’re going to be working closely with this person, so it’s important that you have good vibes.
You have to feel kind of sorry for a small business that brings an innovative product or service to the table. Within no time at all, there are a million and one imitators. If you’re finding any level of success, then you can rest assured that there will be others who want to get the same kind of business set up. You can’t prevent this from happening; all you can do is do the best for your company as possible. Quality will always stand out!
Sometimes, a company can think they’re doing brilliant, wonderful things, and then in the space of a few months, everything has fallen apart. What happened? The economy shifted. Your success depends on you and your ideas, but never forget that it’s part of a broader system. And if that system isn’t doing as well as it used to, then your business is going to suffer. The best thing you can do is to assess the risk and put as many safety nets in place as possible.