There are many issues facing small businesses in the 21st century. Not all of these are avoidable, but most of them will have solutions to lessen the burden and make life easier for you as the business owner. Of course, this shouldn’t be off-putting, and if you have a fantastic business idea you should do all you can to make it work. However, it’s useful to be aware of the pitfalls so that you know how to tackle them yourself.
Unfortunately, the reality is that as a small business, there is essentially a cap on your growth potential. This, of course, isn’t the case if you’re a web-based company, but if you own a physical site such as a shop, cafe or office space, you are limited in terms of expansion by the site itself. You can only employ a certain amount of staff, and you can only stock a finite amount of products because of the physical space limitations. Online expansion, however, is a much more reasonable solution. Websites are inexpensive to set up, and with the right internet marketing you could become a hit online.
Lots of small businesses struggle to manage their own finances, or find themselves at the peril of massive national accountancy firms. For a small business, it is far preferable to find yourself a good local accountant. For example, if you’re a business in a small town such as Hastings, it’s a far better idea to get yourself an accountant in Hastings rather than a big firm in London. A smaller accountant will understand how small businesses work and you will establish a more personal relationship.
It can be mentally and physically exhausting running a business. Not only can it get stressful when money is tight or footfall isn’t quite as you planned, but all the behind the scenes work can take its toll too. Constantly having to respond to emails, keep on top of paperwork and process special orders can be a nightmare. Make sure you set enough time aside to relax and forget about the business, even if only for a few hours a week.
Small businesses often find that it’s extremely difficult to stand out and get themselves noticed in their town. There might be several other businesses doing the same thing as you, so how do you get people to visit you rather than them? Holding special events on your premises can be a good way to draw attention to the business, or look into the gaps in the local market. Is what you’re doing niche enough to be needed? If not, find a way to fill that gap and promote this as your unique selling point through word of mouth, community-level campaigns, such as adverts in local newspapers and newsletters, and online marketing.
Craig Davies is a small business development coach who regularly advises local businesses on how to stay competitive and streamline their operations