Owning a business is one of the most liberating experiences one can achieve. The freedom of being your own boss, making your own hours, and just being in control of your own destiny is quite alluring. The challenge doesn’t come without roadblocks, however. There are many obstacles to overcome as your business grows, and we’ve pinpointed five of the most common so that you can be aware of them as they approach and better prepare yourself to tackle them in the future.
- Finding New Customers
Perhaps the greatest challenge of running a small business is finding new customers. Once you’ve grown your loyal customer base, you’re going to want to branch out and try to attract new customers as well. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
You have to be sure that you’re absolutely sure of who you’re marketing to. What’s your target demographic? Old, young, men, women? There are dozens of factors to consider when attempting to approach new customers, but most of all, answer this question: what problem does your product solve for your customers?
Once you’ve figured out what problem your product or service solves, do some research into the demographics the product will apply to. Once you’ve narrowed this down, you can better tailor your marketing efforts to specifically target those people, thus driving new customers straight to your business.
- Building A Reputation
What keeps your customers loyal? Your reputation for excellence. This can be difficult to obtain because it usually takes many years and thousands of transactions to build your brand’s reputation as top-notch.
While there may not be an easy way to “shortcut” to the top in terms of brand reputation, there are some things you can do for your customers to ensure that you’re building a solid foundation. First and foremost, keep your promises to your customers. This lets them know not only that you mean what you say, but that you value their business and the promises you’ve made.
Never underestimate the power of reliability. When you deliver on time, every time, you earn respect and place yourself among the ranks of trusted businesses.
You’ll also want to ensure that you’re communicating with customers about changes in the business or products, promotions, etc. If they don’t know, they won’t talk about it or attend sales and special events. Sending emails, talking in person, and even phone calls can let your customers know you care.
- The Hiring Process
It’s difficult enough to trust someone else with helping you build your dream, but it can be incredibly disheartening to hire someone and include them in the business, only to find out they’re not reliable or a good fit for you.
Hiring is a challenge. That’s why there are dozens of tools available to employers to assist in making the process a bit less painless. Online applications, Job sites, and even apps make the screening process easier than ever.
Some job application sites work with AI to create a better hiring experience by matching you with qualified candidates in their database. This eliminates the need to search for those candidates and adds a bit more efficiency to the hiring process.
Once you’ve found a qualified candidate, try using video chat for the interview process. This saves time and allows both parties to conduct the interview in the comfort of their own office or home, reducing some of the stress and pressure associated with an interview.
If you’re looking for more information on choosing the right candidates, here is a guide for small business owners.
- Financial Guidance
Owning a small business is tough enough without the added stress of balancing the books and planning for the future. The prospect of making your own money can be incredibly seductive, and you may find yourself spending that money in the wrong places or prematurely if you don’t plan accordingly.
Managing finances doesn’t have to be a mystery. There are many resources available from online classes to professionals whose job is to manage business finances. Reaching out or learning for yourself can help you make better financial decisions for the security of the business.
Financial advisors and accountants are just two of the available professionals you can hire to help better manage your business’s financials. Consider help if you’re struggling to balance the books or save for the future. Go here to find financial advisors.
- Feeling Inferior
An obstacle that doesn’t get addressed often is the feeling of inferiority many new businesses face when emerging into the market. If you’re offering products or services similar to other businesses, you may find yourself feeling inferior, or like your product will never measure up to the more established competition.
This is a normal feeling, but entirely untrue. Your product or service is only as good as the business that stands behind it. As long as you’re open and honest with your customers, deliver on your promises, and maintain a high level of customer service, you’ll build a reputation to rival your competitors in just a few years.
The most important thing to do is to stay the course. There will be many challenges, but once you’ve navigated the obstacles, you’ll learn valuable lessons and will perform all the better for it. Hard work pays off, and persistence makes progress. You’re an entrepreneur, a different breed from the normal nine to five workers.