As the owner of a small business, knowing when challenges or adversity will strike is impossible, but knowing what they look like and how to deal with them can help you in the long run.
Nearly 20% of small businesses flop within their first year and only half will survive past their fifth. The success rate for the remaining number falls to just one-third after a decade in business.
A lack of proactivity when it comes to identifying and facing obstacles can play a role in these dreadful statistics. That's why we're going to identify seven of the most significant challenges for small businesses today and how to overcome them.
1. Time to expand your client base
If a single client makes up more than half of your revenue, this should raise a big red flag. By depending on a single customer to pay their bill every month, you’re running the risk of going under yourself if that client falls on hard times or if you lose them to competing businesses.
In this case, diversifying your client base is generally the best option for any small business, in order to pick up the slack when/if any single client stops paying.
2. Don't let the business run you down
The long hours, the heavy workload and the constant pressure to perform takes its toll on even the most passionate and motivated individuals. Many business owners, even the most successful ones, get caught up working much longer hours than their employees. That's mostly out of fear that the business will stall in their absence.
So, they avoid taking any time away from work to recharge their batteries. This eventually creates a domino effect. Fatigue can lead to rash decisions about the business, including the desire to not want to work or just let it fail entirely.
Let’s face it, businesses of every size, there will always be problems to solve. It’s how you choose to approach and handle it that can make or break you. When problem-solving evolves or devolves, depending on your vantage point, into win/lose scenarios, the outcomes can be weaker and the fallout of the struggle can be devastating.
Collaborative team discussion, strong, comprehensive listening and extensive study of the immediate issues are imperative to resolve an issue. With these actions, a team can lay out the best options and often arrive at an alternative plan or a plan C if you will, which may work better than any of the initial steps or actions put forth.
Having options and different viewpoints in the time of struggle is your most important tool when dealing with problems of any magnitude.
4. Finding the right staff
The employment landscape is more challenging/competitive than ever as leaders deal with an uncommon level of stress. As a leader, you must listen to everything your employees are saying and even go as far as knowing/anticipating what they’re thinking.
Just like you create buyer personas for your customers, do the same for potential job candidates. Your personas should be different for each new role that you’re hiring for but will share some common attributes, specifically focusing on company culture.
It’s also important to take ownership of attracting candidates to your company's brand and get them interested in learning more each and every day. Not only about what you do for your clients, but what your clients do for their customers as well.
5. Data security is extremely important to your business
It's been recorded that small business owners are the primary targets of nearly half of cyberattacks. The threat of being hacked/infiltrated by cybercriminals is a nearly everyday occurrence that seems to come with the territory. Since cybercriminals are coming off of a huge feeding frenzy in 2017 and 2018, you can expect their activity to become even more aggressive in 2019.
So, small businesses need to consider investing more time and effort in their cybersecurity protocols and practices. Educate all of your employees with the same best practices, so they know what to look for and how to avoid any disguised, malicious threats. It's important to find ways to bulk up your website security as well and ensure the protection and integrity of business data.
6. Prepare for success
The time comes when a business may boom beyond the initial growth expectations. While this may come as a blessing for most, it can quickly become a curse for those who aren't prepared or equipped to take on all that comes with it. Small business owners that don't account for a large boost in customers and product/service production are more likely to fail.
As the demands for your business increase, without the proper systems in place, you’re more likely to come up short and not meet those demands. This is why it is important for you to enhance the status of your business, while not sacrificing the qualities and traits that brought you success when you first launched.
7. Having the right hardware
Every business requires a computer in one form or another. Prior to investing in computers for your company, you should consider how many you will need for yourself and employees. As well as any oddities. For example, will some employees need tablets or laptops?
The brand of the computer isn't as important as how well it works, how well it meets your business needs and how long it lasts before you have to replace them. Dell's Small Business Central is your 24/7 resource for tailored support and advice for your unique challenges of managing and growing your small business.
5 essential kinds of hardware for your small business
If you want to be competitive and successful with your small business, you're going to need some strong hardware. No, not hammer and nails, we're talking tech here. Investing in the right hardware products for your business will help you to stay organized and boost overall productivity. Sure, it's easy to say that your business should have effective hardware, but what kind? Here are five essentials to get you started.