Each small business is unique in its conception and execution – if only slightly. The result is a steady supply of distinct business challenges, facing entrepreneurs in every vertical. An exclusive opportunity to launch and grow a business – problems and all – prompts business owners to invest heavily in their unique visions. Yet despite the distinctive features separating individual ventures, small businesses also share a lot of common ground.
If you thought you were the only operator facing these challenges, you can think again; countless twenty-first century small business owners overcome similar obstacles every day.
Obstacles Impact Businesses of all Sizes
One recent Entrepreneur article suggests common business challenges are not reserved for ventures of a certain size or specialty. In much the same way their big business counterparts face problems, smaller operations also manage issues such as:
In addition to these challenges, small businesses also reconcile common concerns ranging from long-term growth plans, to daily minutiae. In their own way, US small business owners tackle big business problems on a small business level – often with access to far fewer resources than larger organizations have at their disposal.
According to Entrepreneur, unique characteristics may prepare small businesses to compete with larger players. It is thought their size makes small businesses more flexible than large organizations, enabling them to rapidly adapt to changes. Aided by local roots and strong ties to their communities, small businesses consistently rise to the challenge, despite facing the same weighty issues confronting larger organizations.
Hiring and Retaining Top Talent
The current competitive labor market adds another small business personnel challenge. The shortage of qualified workers underscores how broad economic trends, such as national employment levels, can impact Main Street America. As some employers struggle to recruit and retain skilled staff, 20 percent of small business owners acknowledge having personnel problems, calling retention one of the biggest obstacles in the way of business growth.
For the best results keeping solid staff on board, strive to hire the right people from the start, reducing issues surrounding poorly matched hires. To assist with proper personnel placement, start by answering three questions about each candidate.
- Does the applicant fulfill the job requirements to your satisfaction?
- Is the job candidate passionate about your field and the available position?
- Do you believe the prospective hire is a good fit for your existing company culture?
If you can honestly answer yes to these questions, the foundation may be in place for developing the type of employee capable of growing with your business.
Time limitations are a common professional thread, challenging small business entrepreneurs to keep up with work commitments. In order to cover all the bases, most small business owners wear several hats, requiring substantial time commitments, just to stay current with day-to-day duties. In many cases, founders find themselves mired in administrative responsibilities, rather than focusing on the vision that inspired self-employment.
When time is short, it’s important for small business leaders to return to the basics. Start by removing tasks that don’t serve your goals, and reset expectation for better time management. To consistently account for your time and performance, make an effort to
- set reachable goals for the year, month, week, and day.
In addition to streamlining your schedule with a selective approach, you can also ease time constraints by delegating duties within your organization. Outsourcing to specialists should also be considered, as well as investing in technology upgrades that save time.
Integrating New Technology
Rather than resisting inevitable change, small business entrepreneurs are better off embracing helpful technology. From cutting-edge production methods, to social media saturation, the wheels of time have changes in store for your business – whether you like it or not. Though integrating new technology may pose temporary challenges, the benefits of moving your business forward almost always outweigh the risks of staying idle.
The first hurdle for small businesses considering tech upgrades may be viewing advancements as opportunities, rather than expensive disruptions. While it’s true, introducing new technology into your operational flow may cost money; small businesses have an advantage adopting tech updates, compared to larger organizations. When tech opportunities arise, use your small size to make nimble moves, squeezing all the available benefits from emerging technology, without feeling growing pains.
Scaling on Schedule
Business visionaries set benchmark goals for their organizations, expecting to grow at a particular rate. The shrewdest members of this group also understand that with each phase of expansion, comes new obstacles and challenges – some anticipated, others arriving from left field. Because growth is nuanced and widely influenced by factors both within and beyond your control, scaling at the proper pace can be tricky business.
Each case is unique, but one solution adopted by growing businesses is applying the brakes. Slowing down gives you time to work out the kinks, before minor deficiencies become major problems. A deliberate, restrained growth model also accommodates infrastructure needs, enabling you to focus on your foundation, before getting ahead of yourself with unsupported growth.
Beyond the basic challenges of day-to-day operations, small business owners also reconcile issues related to hiring, retention, time management, and technology, as well as common concerns surrounding growth and expansion. Business size and specialty aside, you’re not the only entrepreneur devoting time and attention to these universal professional considerations.