Getting a new business off the ground can seem like a gargantuan task, so once your enterprise is up and running it may seem like nothing can stop you now. Yet entrepreneurs who let themselves be lulled into a false sense of comfort and let their foot off the pedal well know the perils that this can bring. Managing the pressures of meeting payments to creditors, keeping investors happy and finding and retaining the right talent are just a few of the common challenges you may be up against. So how do you get past these hurdles and make good on your promises to your stakeholders, your employees and yourself?
The pains and perils of a small business
The thrill that accompanies starting or running a small business is balanced in equal measure by some trepidation around things like funding, marketing, brand visibility and acquiring customers. Here are some of the common thorns on that road to bigger things. As you will soon see, your problems are not unique. And thankfully, that means there are ways to get around, over or under these obstacles when they block your way.
Tackling the big guns
First, the good news. Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you’re on weaker footing. Due to your flatter organization structure, less red tape and higher degree of control over all the moving parts, you are considerably more agile than a larger lumbering corporation. What they have in heft, you can make up in swiftness and adaptability.
However, be prepared that a big company will undercut you on pricing, outbid you on big deals and burn up thousands of dollars in advertising and marketing. If you try and match them, it could cause you to burn your entire marketing budget overnight.
Keeping the machinery well oiled a.k.a. ‘The Money Problem’
Yes. Money. Funding is one of the biggest worries for the average small business owner. How do you keep the working capital going? Having the funds to pay vendors/suppliers, partners and employees is vital. It impacts your credibility in the market. Not paying up on time can cost you not just your reputation, but also impact the rates your suppliers or lenders charge you. Money problems can also spill over to impact talent retention, marketing and every other area of your business, making it possibly your single biggest challenge.
Growing the reach of your business can be tough when your pockets don’t run that deep. You will need to compete with older players as well as larger players who have well established brands, websites, and even offline presence. How do you get a consumer to hear about you without splashing advertisements everywhere?
Hiring and retaining quality talent
Getting the best people on board and then retaining them is a huge challenge. A sound recruiting strategy needs to be part of your core business plan. Ensure there is a good rewards and recognition plan in place, have a system of bonuses and share the wealth early on. And under no circumstances should you let money troubles hinder payments to your team. Reputation once ruined cannot be undone.
Early stage growth by virtue of a passionate team, novelty or innovation in your product/service will get you good growth. But how do you keep that going and take growth to the next level?
Tips to put you ahead in the big race
Running a solid small business isn’t a sprint. To create a business that grows and builds lasting value takes time. Ensure your plans and strategy reflect this. Here’s a quick look at some ways you can make the most of being a small business to get a larger share of the customer pie.
Staying competitive and relevant to your audience in the face of copycat startups and big businesses that have millions to invest to corner you out of the market may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right expertise and some foresight, small businesses can overcome much that comes their way.