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Written by
Katy Ratican
4 Oct 2021
4 minutes

The most common challenges for a small business owner

Starting a business is a significant achievement for many, but maintaining one is often the greater challenge. Here is how to overcome those challenges
Small business owner challenges

Even with all the technology and apps for small business owners, the truth is that it’s difficult to start and sustain a business. You might have the best of intentions and the necessary expertise but there will be challenges that exhaust you.

Being a small business owner is one of the toughest jobs in the world. You’re often alone against circumstances beyond your control. You don’t have the resources that bigger businesses have. And with the pandemic, well, things have only become tougher.

This isn’t to suggest that it’s impossible to succeed. While nobody is capable of having a foolproof system, with an understanding of these common challenges, you can make better preparations, whether it’s by outsourcing key functions or using apps for small business owners.

The challenges small business owners face (and what to do about them)

Adapting to big changes

If there’s one thing that the past 18 months have taught us, it’s that anything can happen. Nobody was adequately prepared to deal with the challenges and opportunities that the pandemic threw up.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses and their employees have gone through some of the worst periods of their lives.

What you can do: Prepare “what if” scenarios for your business. What if the government were to suddenly bring in or change any regulation related to your business? What if you had to immediately find a new vendor? What if you had to shift to an online model?

Hiring good staff

Employees are the backbone of small businesses. But as the past few months have shown, it can be excruciatingly difficult to hire the right staff. Every day that you’re not fully staffed is a day you’ll be underperforming.

Sometimes, you may even have to shut down your operations because you don’t have enough staff.

What you can do: Treat your current staff well. Share their stories through your social media channels. Get in touch with the educational institutions in your area to find out if you can get interns for your business.

Finding and retaining customers

Small businesses with the best of products and services may find it difficult to find and retain customers. If you’re starting out, it could be because there’s little need for your product or service or that there are better and cheaper options.

Without customers, you’ll find it difficult to sustain your operations.

What you can do: Before launching, study your customers and find out if there’s a need for what you offer. You should also know the price point consumers will be comfortable with. Once you start getting customers, treat them with the utmost respect and encourage them to leave favourable online reviews.

Marketing effectively

The truth is that without the right marketing strategy and execution, there will be no business. If your customers or clients don’t know about your products or services, they will never knock on your door.

Small business owners also find it difficult to figure out where they should put their marketing budget, which leads to needless expenses.

What you can do: If you don’t have expertise in marketing, outsource it to an agency. Start small and focus on digital marketing. Give your agency goals, regularly review their performance and focus on the channel or tactic that works.

Time management

One of the biggest challenges of running a small business is also the one least talked about. As a small business owner, you’re responsible for everything from sales to product or service development to customer relationship management to negotiations with vendors.

This means you’ll be working late nights and weekends and compromising your and your family’s wellbeing.

What you can do: Outsource everything that you don’t have expertise in, from marketing to product delivery. Automate whatever you can, from accounting to social media scheduling. Using apps for automation will help you spend more time with your family. Get a second-line app to take care of your missed calls through its auto-reply feature.

In short

While external challenges can always unsettle a small business, technology can enable you to make your internal systems strong. With the right apps for small business owners, it will be easier for you to focus on what matters and optimise your operations.

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