Challenges facing small businesses
Every small business has a chance to grow into a giant one if you stand your ground firmly and overcome all the challenges. Are you launching a startup? Check out what you may face and get prepared.Yulia_germanofil Poltavets
Any small business owner may confirm that their job isn't that simple. Want to succeed? Get ready to spend time, efforts and money. But how great it is when everything works out well, and the company is thriving! Of course, this does not happen immediately, at first, it seems that life consists only of difficulties, but you can overcome them if you keep on going.
If you are a burgeoning entrepreneur (or just thinking about starting a business), you better know in advance about the most usual pitfalls. Let’s see what problems owners of small companies face and how they solve them.
1. Are you not online?
It makes no sense to deny: people use the Internet to search for everything in the world. If there is not a line about your company, you lose a lot. Fortunately, bringing business online is more than realistic and not that expensive.
What to do?
You need to create a good website. First, it will help attract more customers. People are increasingly looking for a product or service on the Internet through search engines. And the higher your website is in the search rankings, the more chances you will get new clients. Secondly, the presence of a website tells people that your business is serious, open to the world and is keeping up to date. And finally, you will provide your clients with the opportunity to buy your products or services on your website.
A business website opens up these and other possibilities, including the creation of a full-fledged online store. This is a separate topic, but one who starts doing this today will ensure the prosperity of their company tomorrow. Last but not least, if you even have a simple online business card, it will serve to inform people about your company and the product or service you sell. Also, the website will provide the details of your company, that is, it will be easy to contact you.
Think about what social network your target audience is using and create a separate account in it. Social networking activity drives traffic and helps promote your business.
Engage in email marketing. Emailing is one of the most effective online marketing tools. It allows you to increase the number of sales through the website from 3-5% to 30-40%, turn potential customers into active buyers, create the loyalty to the company and sell on a single basis for many years.
2. No ideas how marketing works?
When you start a business, there is no one who can give you a marketing reference. You can easily find a lot of information online, but how to spare the time needed to read and learn everything? However, there is no other option: you would better make some room in your schedule for self-education and learn the basics because you need to promote your company and do it correctly.
What to do?
Subscribe to a good blog, where you can find professional tips and recommendations for promoting small business. Don’t focus just on one blog — keep looking for what suits you.
Read and apply the knowledge gained in practice. Make a marketing plan, think up a promotion strategy, describe your audience, set goals, identify competitors, decide where you will advertise, etc.
Develop your brand. The brand reflects the distinctive features of the goods you produce or sell and how you position yourself. This is the image that you will create in the consumers’ minds, and it is up to you to make the best of it. The company logo, color, text advertising, and many other things are vital in marketing, so keep on working on your visual materials.
Alternatively, you can hire a professional marketing specialist. If you do not have time to read books, it makes sense to spend money and hire competent specialists. Study the market and find people who will be with you on the same wavelength and keep within the planned budget.
3. Want to control everything?
It is a common mistake many entrepreneurs make. Of course, it’s quite possible that you really can work without sleep and rest for a short period of time, but eventually, the fatigue and stress will take its toll, and your business will start suffering. Yes, sometimes it is not that simple to entrust the important tasks to someone else, but you would better be wise. If you think you are losing money when you pay salaries to employees, you are wrong. Calculate what profit you lose when doing someone’s also job instead of the one you are professional in and see the difference.
What to do?
Even if it seems to you that you know better than others (and sometimes this is true), do not refuse a piece of advice. Learn from the experience and mistakes of others – this is a good way to fill the lack of knowledge. And remember that you are absolutely not obliged to do what other people say to you.
Create a good team. If you suddenly realize that you are short of assistants, it means that your things are not going well. At the initial stages, everything depends on employees, so look for hardworking, reliable and like-minded people.
Plan your activities quarterly. Do not develop a long-term business strategy. It is better to divide the year into quarters and make a detailed plan for each of them. It must be feasible, but you should not forget about your ambitions. Analysis of the implementation of the plans will identify your weaknesses and help you understand what points you are strong at. Such planning is the key to successful development.
4. Not sure how to keep customers?
New customers are good, and regular customers are even better. The statistics say that the returning customer spends much more money than the one who came to you for the first time. How to win the trust of people and make them come back again?
What to do?
Think about how much your services and products cost. Explore the market, and find out your competitors’ prices. Remember that the price should be attractive, but at the same time correspond to the market and your level.
Remember about manners. Even if you offer an outstanding product, nothing compares to the high-class service. Politeness, reliability and competence work miracles, so do not forget to develop these qualities in yourself. Avoid uttering phrases that put any person out of temper, such as: “I have no idea what are you talking about,” “You should have read it more carefully”, “And what’s your problem?”.
Keep in touch with customers. Carrying out various marketing events is quite effective on holidays, during seasonal events and on other significant dates. Organize sales, contests, use interesting concepts, attract clients with discounts, great deals or private club membership. That will make your brand more attractive to consumers and increase your sales.
5. Do you sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity?
So, you became successful! Your business develops, the company grows. At this point is vital to maintain balance and not sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity.
What to do?
Quality should be the core value of your brand. Talk about it to your employees more often, and then your company will be able to go through the growth process without much loss.
Do not waste time controlling each step of your subordinates. On the contrary, trust them, entrust responsible tasks. At this time, you should be engaged in more large-scale things — launching a new product or entering a new market.
Be adequate. When the working process is smooth, employees take it with gratitude and try to give their best. We do not suggest allowing them three-hour breaks, not at all. The main idea is to create comfortable conditions, organize the workflow properly and try to avoid distracting people with different “urgent” tasks too often.