Challenges Facing Small Businesses – And How To Avoid Them
There are many of us who are running small businesses and the number increases every day. There are challenges facing small businesses that can, if you are informed, be avoided. People say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but, in the world of business, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In a normal business day, there are a number of things that could go wrong, but, as long as you know that there is an issue, then there is always something that you can do about it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case when your problems are hidden away. The longer they stay hidden, the bigger the problem will become. To help you out and keep your business afloat, here are six things you might not be aware could be going wrong in your small business.
1. Unmotivated Sales Department
As a business owner, the last thing you want to do is assume that your sales team have the same work ethic and motivation that you do, as this probably isn’t true. Instead, you need to set clear expectations and monitor activity to ensure that all of your employees are staying on task. You should also provide proper sales training, as well as rewards for those meeting their goals.
Now if you do not have an employed sales force but employ freelance help with your sales and marketing. The same rules apply. Set clear goals and expectations, monitor and contact them regularly and reward beyond their hourly rate. A great sales person is driven by rewards based remuneration.
2. Unreliable Web Host
A professionally designed and reliable website can be the difference between business failure and business success. You do not need to have it professionally designed by a web developer for it to look and work professional. Today it is relatively easy to create a great website yourself.
The most important decision to make is where you host your website because of the ability of your hosting company giving you the best service. Load times is a particular issue that should be considered. Most people will wait no longer than 3 seconds for a page to load before clicking away to a competitor.
Unfortunately, once your site is set up, you may not notice when there are issues, so it is worth regularly checking that your site is functioning properly. So many small business owners fail to look at their own website with everything else that they have to do. You can also ask for regular user feedback or get friends and family to take a look for you and report back any errors or issues.
There are so many different components to check to ensure your website is running properly. You may need to fix a slow website so it engages with customers better and increases your traffic or you may need to look at your content to see if it is SEO friendly. When your website is running optimally, it can make a massive difference to how many customers you get.
3. Poorly Priced Products
Whether you like it or not, money and sales are what makes the business world go around, which means that poorly priced products can cause you some serious issues. Because of this, you should continuously conduct market research and make sure that what you sell is affordable to your target market but also makes you a profit. By doing this regularly, you can also keep up with your competitors.
If you do not know what other people are charging for their comparable products or services then go and find out now.
4. Outdated Online Marketing
If your digital marketing strategy has been the same for the past six months, and hasn’t been updated or even looked at, then chances are, you’re doing more harm than good. Online marketing practices frequently change, which is why you need to keep learning, read sites like https://www.simplilearn.com/digital-marketing-best-practices-strategy-article, and make adjustments to your marketing strategy accordingly.
If you do not have a digital marketing strategy now is the time to create one.
5. Slow Payment Collections
Poor cash flow is an issue that has sunk many businesses, but it is one that can often be addressed relatively easily. If your customers are making their payments late, and you are letting them, then this is going to do some serious damage. Rather than letting the issue go unnoticed or ignored, you should enforce your payment terms and set late payment penalties as a deterrence.
It is quite difficult to ask for money and many small business owners will often take excuse after excuse and then get themselves into serious problems. If you do not have payment terms already set up for your customers then make this a priority today. This is more pertinent to service based rather than product based businesses.
6. Lack Of Vision
Every business, no matter the shape or size, should have a plan and a vision for the future and every staff member in every department should clearly understand this. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with most companies, and that can cause direct conflicts. To prevent this, you need to do what you can to improve all of your internal communications. In small businesses a weekly meeting to catch up should be part of the company policy.
Even if you are a solopreneur and have no staff you still need to have a vision of where you aim to be in the next 6 months and the next year. Having a business plan for your future is something every small business needs.
Every business owner faces challenges every now and then, but it is the challenges you don’t face that can cause the most damage. If you want to keep your business up and running, then you need to address the hidden issues that are causing harm. Facing challenges head on rather than burying your head in the sand is the only way to keep yourself up and running.
I hope this post has been helpful or at least given you some food for thought. If you have then please give it a share on your favourite social media platform.
As ever if you have any questions or just want to share your thoughts, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.