Founding, building and growing your own small business is a hugely rewarding experience for many entrepreneurs. But the road ahead isn't always smooth.
There are common challenges that crop up and ongoing issues that need to be factored into your business plan, your strategy and your own personal thinking.
So, what can you do to beat these challenges and make the journey as frictionless as possible?
5 proactive ways to overcome your business challenges
We’d all love to know what lies around the corner when it comes to the future path of your business. The truth is that every business journey is unique. But there are common challenges that every owner-manager or CEO will be faced with – and being prepared for these hurdles is the best way to leap over them and take each challenge in your stride.
We’ve highlighted five common challenges and the simple ways to overcome them:
Uncertainty: No-one has a crystal ball to know exactly what's coming around the corner. But there are ways to be prepared for some unknown circumstances. You can't fully predict the main external threats like government policy, economic conditions or freak weather conditions. But you CAN use forecasting and scenario-planning tools to build up contingency plans so you have a Plan A, Plan B and even a Plan C. With forecasts of your business data, finances and industry trends, you can be ready to react, pivot and take positive action.
Competition: Small businesses often face stiff competition from larger, more established companies. To stay ahead of the curve, it's important to be nimble and agile. It's also vital to find your niche and to know precisely why your customers value your offering. By ploughing a unique furrow and keeping your customers happy, you can give yourself an edge over larger, slower-moving corporate-size competitors.
Access to capital: It can be a struggle to secure funding as a startup, particularly if you have limited financial resources or a poor credit history. Having a detailed funding strategy is a crucial way to overcome this problem. Keep your finances in order and make sure you have in-depth financial reports to show banks, lenders and investors. It's also helpful to focus on paying suppliers on time, keeping debt levels under control and ensuring your cashflow is in a positive position. These are all excellent ways to improve your business credit rating and show you're a stable, risk-free prospect for lenders.
Hiring and retaining employees: Attracting and retaining talented employees is difficult, especially during the ongoing talent shortage. Offering competitive salaries or benefits packages can be one way to attract people. But it's also important to think about your brand reputation, your sustainability credentials and your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policy – all things that Millennial and Gen Z workers value alongside decent pay and benefits packages. Employees want to be proud of where they work, so make your company a progressive, satisfying and rewarding place to work.
Keeping up with technology: Business technology is evolving at a rapid pace. It can be daunting keeping up with all the available apps, tools and software solutions that are aimed at your business. The trick is to be informed but selective about the apps you use. Start with the operational and financial needs of the business and look for apps that can automate, improve efficiency or provide improved data and management information. Talk to other business owners and your professional network to find out what the essential apps are in your industry. And do your research and homework before you choose any software solution to add to your app stack.
Talk to us about being an agile small business
Looking to the horizon for the upcoming pitfalls is essential as an ambitious and informed business owner. We can help you generate the most informative management information, to keep you agile and ready for what lies around the corner.