In spite of everything that we’ve been through in the last couple of years, many small businesses in the United States are actually seeing some incredible growth. Some analysts are even saying that due to a lot of factors coming together, this is one of the best times in history to be the owner of a small business. And the truth is that no matter how well your business might be doing, there is not a business on the face of the earth that isn’t facing some sort of challenge. In this article, we’re going to touch on some of the most common, painful, and stubborn struggles of running a small business.
Finding Great People
It’s no secret that companies are having a harder time than ever finding employees. Any employees, period. And if it’s more challenging than ever to find average, run-of-the-mill employees, imaging how incredibly difficult it is to find great employees. In the job market we’re experiencing, you have to provide very competitive wages, and you’re fighting some of the big dogs around you. That can be tough. Not only that, but it’s extremely rare that a small businesses benefit package can measure up to a larger corporation’s. It’s also super common to see larger companies hiring specialized people for a single, focused role. As a small business owner, you’re looking for quality, flexible people who can multitask and handle various jobs within your organization. Right now, that’s like finding a unicorn. (Well, maybe not a unicorn, but at least like finding a silverback gorilla.)
Money is Tight
Listen, it seems like right now everything everywhere is getting more expensive. This is especially painful for small businesses like yours. And just things are getting more expensive, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re making more money. For many small businesses, money is tighter than ever, and without the crucial lifeblood of cash flow, things can be… tense to say the least. If your small business doesn’t have a cash reserve, a slow week or month could mean scraping by and counting the dollars to make sure you can make payroll, keep your vendors paid, make rent, and keep the power on. For some businesses, if your biggest client falls behind on payments it could mean bouncing some checks, and that is super stressful. The #1 thing to remember when money is tight is that you can’t recoil and get sheepish about your most important expenses and investments. Don’t cut corners on hiring the right people or cut your ever-important marketing among other things. Remember that big client who’s behind? What if they’re closing down. You need to act like they’re never going to pay you again and keep searching for the next big fish. One best-case scenario is that if your first client stays and you’ve found another larger one, now things will be more stable not having all of your eggs in one basket.
One of the biggest challenges we see plaguing many small businesses is growing, but keeping the quality of their products and services top-notch. Sure, you think that if you just get more customers you’ll make more money– and while that’s technically true, many small companies aren’t equipped to take on more clients (even though they think they are). Or something else we see is that a small business will land a whale of a client and quickly realize that keeping up with their needs is a full-time job unto itself. Sure you have that big fat client, but are you still properly servicing all of your other customers well? Unless you scale with a plan, it typically means having your existing workforce (including yourself) working extra hours, nights, and weekends. And eventually, your work will suffer– we’re all human. Eventually, it can be easy to start justifying cutting corners and taking shortcuts. Every small business wants to grow, but when they don’t have a plan, it can ugly.
Zero or Weak Marketing Efforts
Probably the #1 problem that most small businesses share is difficulty marketing themselves. Sure you can rely on customer testimonials and word-of-mouth, but that often has a long turnaround, and you need customers now. The truth is, when it comes to marketing most small businesses just have absolutely no idea where to get started. Sure you might have a website, but how old is it? And is it secure? And most of all, is it getting you new customers? Oh, and hopefully you realize that a website is just one of many, many pieces of a larger puzzle that make up your company’s online personality. Now more than ever, local marketing is not a viable or sustainable method to keep a small business open. You need a specific, custom-built online marketing plan. You’ve probably heard the names of some of these social media platforms, but how much do you really know about them? And is your business using them? And better yet, using them properly (sometimes using a social media platform the wrong way is worse than not using it at all…). (Oh, and if you’re ready to try learning yourself, this article is a great place to start.) What about reviews? Are you having customers leave them for you? And do you know the best place for them to do that? Big companies have a full marketing department, but if we’re guessing, your company’s marketing department is you. (Oh, and we’re not counting friends and family members who are helping you for free…) Many small businesses are absolutely drowning because they are trying to handle marketing by themselves. Not only are they not experts, but a high percentage of business owners do not have the time to devote to marketing their company properly. This inconsistency often leads to a vicious circle of “let’s try marketing” leading to “marketing doesn’t work.” Rinse, repeat in three months when sales are low again. Mishandled marketing (especially online) is one of the biggest culprits of small businesses closing their doors all across the country.
Are You Ready to Grow Affordably?
Remember earlier when we said that experts are calling this the best time in history to have a small business? Do you agree? How is your business doing? Does that feel like the absolute farthest thing from the truth? If so, we can help. If you’re feeling the pain points of any of this article (but especially the part about weak marketing efforts) we’re here to help. Here at Good Rep Media, we can help you grow your business by getting you some new customers. The fact is that no matter which of these issues is plaguing you the most (or if the thing you’re struggling with wasn’t mentioned at all) higher profits are always welcome– and are usually the best prescription for whatever problem you’re facing. We find that most businesses that are struggling have one major problem in common: they need more customers. That’s where Good Rep Media comes in. If you’re ready to grow your business affordably, schedule a free consultation today.