5 Challenges Faced by Every Small Business Owner
Nobody said that starting and owning your own business would be easy.
Nobody said that starting and owning your own business would be easy, in fact, hard may even be an understatement. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people around the world dream of one day owning their own business, paving the road to their self-made destiny, and leaving behind a legacy for their family and friends to enjoy and be proud of. Studies show that over half of the US population would like to own their own business, either right now or at some time in the future, so what’s stopping so many of them from taking the jump? There are many reasons why owning a business is difficult and the number of challenges a business owner will face over the life of their business are endless; however, the benefits of nurturing, growing, and sustaining your own business will make for a lifetime of unforgettable memories and if done properly, the benefits that you and your family reap will make it all worth it in the end.
Here at Viking, we know the types of hurdles business owners face every day. We work tirelessly to identify and predict potential problems and work together to come up with effective strategies to help owners successfully run their business as well as prepare them for the future sale of their business. Below are some of the most common, and most difficult, challenges every business owner will face at some point in the life of their business.
The world revolves around money whether we like it or not. No matter what is it that you want – new clothes, gas for your car, food for dinner, a home to live in, or a business to start – you need money to get it. Luckily, the small business industry is hot right now and banks are eager to lend to business owners. At Viking, most of our business listings are prescreened for an SBA loan that includes working capital. This is money that the bank will provide the new owner with in order to continue to run the business. SBA loans are available for existing business owner as well. Other sources of capital include investors and taking out additional lines of credit. These options are good ways to obtain cash that will keep a business alive, but having adequate cash flow is essential. If a business doesn’t have good cash flow, the owner may want to consider constructing a new business plan and exploring all other options before taking on more debt. If your need help figuring out how to increase your cash flow, want to explore lending options, or would like to plan an exit strategy, contact Viking today and let our team of experts help you!
Everyone will come to a crossroads at some point (probably more than once) where they will have to choose between taking the easy way out with sacrificed morals, or taking the high road and keeping all of their character intact. For business owners, this crossroad is usually approached on a daily basis. In today’s world, businesses face more moral challenges than ever, making it exceptionally hard to stay true to the integrity of your business, and making it even more important to do so. In order to have a successful business it needs to be respected and trusted, and this can only happen if the owner and their employees adhere to the integrity of the business. Cutting corners, neglecting certain information, deceiving coworkers or customers are all seemingly little things that can have a big impact on a business. As an owner, it is vital to enforce strict moral guidelines to all employees and to set a good example for them by adhering to them as well.
Starting your own business has never been easier. Gone are the days when it took months of paper work, registrations, blood, sweat, and tears to open a business. Today, you can go online, register your business, and in the matter of about 20 minutes you can call yourself an entrepreneur. This is great for the eager dreamer with a researched business plan full of cleaver, innovative ways be successful, ready to begin the journey of owning a business. And this is bad for that same eager dreamer, whose idea is fresh and solid right now, but a little less fresh and solid in 3 months when another business offering similar products or services moves in next door. Competition is what keeps our economy running, but it poses a rather large challenge to business owners. The key to taking on your competition is to get back to the basics. Excel in customer service, rally your team together, create an inviting and exciting atmosphere, and focus on what you do best. These are simple things that are usually lost somewhere in a growing business. Inexpensive, noticeable changes that will create loyal customers and set your business apart are imperative in competing with and defeating your competition.
Customer & Employee Loyalty
Almost every grocery store, restaurant, and entertainment facility has a loyalty program. Loyal, returning customers are vital for small businesses. Many business owners would rather have 1 loyal customer than 3 one time visitors. Businesses with a strong loyal customer base are more likely to be successful not only because they have repeat customers, but those customers are likely to refer their friends and help build a good reputation for the business. One of the most important things a business can do to obtain loyal customers is to offer exceptional customer service every minute of every day. Loyalty programs, consistent quality of products and services, and reasonable prices can also create customer loyalty.
Ask any business owner what their biggest problem is and 90% of the time they will say it’s their employees. Employees are what make a business run. Without them a business cannot function. It is important that business owners don’t take their employees for granted. Owners can show their appreciation for their employees through pay raises, demonstrating trust, giving promotions, or by just being respectful and letting them know they are needed. As a business owner, nothing is better than knowing you have a solid, loyal employee base standing behind you, so treat them well and they will repay you with loyalty, ethical behavior, and will essentially be the reason why your business is successful.
Uncertainty in anything cripples the process and delays the ultimate goal. This is especially true when it comes to a small business. Global debt, the unknown future of our country, and the invested capital in a business encourage uncertainty in almost every decision a business owner has to make. There are always what if’s, no matter how sound a decision appears to be. As a business owner, you have to stay focused on the end goal and make educated decisions to get there without letting uncertainty creep its way in and distract you from the end line. To help combat uncertainty, have a detailed business plan that lists out key milestones and when you should reach them to help you stay on track. Assigning an accountability partner to tell you when you are letting uncertainty get the best of you is a good way to stay focused as well. Considering all options before making a rash decision is always for the best, but as a business owner, you have to be aware of time you spend making those decisions. Time is critical for every business and it should always be spent wisely.
No matter what type of business you own, or would like to own, the challenges discussed above are almost inevitable. Business owners face hundreds of difficult scenarios and some, like the ones talked about in this article, will continue to be challenges throughout the entire life of the business. At Viking, 75% of our staff have owned their own business so we know the day to day struggles and have worked to come up with solutions to help business owners overcome them. Contact Viking today to schedule a time to talk to our experienced advisors in order to make your business the best it can be!