As a business owner, you will always eat challenges for breakfast. After all, you have to provide excellent service to your customers and ensure that you are compensating your employees well.
It’s easy to feel like you should have the grit to grow and expand your business. And you do, whether you know it or not! Unfortunately, many business owners face challenges that keep them from reaching their full potential—and can even force them to close their doors for good.
Sure, challenges can be unique for every business, but there are common denominators as to why businesses fail. You may be facing many of these right now. Below, I’ll walk you through what these challenges are so you can prepare for them, take steps to overcome them, and build a thriving business you’re proud of.
1. Lack of Direction and Planning
To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to have a strong will to succeed and patience. Although initially, you might get far without a firm plan in place, you will hit several roadblocks along the way.
So, before you put in the capital, you need to make a business plan, decide a mission for your business, and set those goals. In her interview with IdeaMensch, Michelle Dipp of Biospring Partners highlights the way mentors can help you stick to these goals to create a business that stands the test of time.
That said, look for people who are working in your industry and ask for their advice. You can also tap someone who's living the life you want to live as your mentor. These mentors can give you different perspectives that will help you with your professional growth.
The more proactive you are, the easier it will be to avoid mistakes later on. So, make a fool-proof plan! Ensure that you keep these plans flexible, as being too rigid about things can also be problematic in the long run.
If you want to look impressive to your customers, having an innovative is just one thing. You should also have a robust plan and be willing to adapt to change.
2. Finding and Retaining Customers
Attracting customers and keeping them is one of the most difficult challenges every small business owner needs to face. An excellent product will not matter if you do not have customers.
Chances are, your marketing budget isn't usually anywhere as big as your more established competitors. That's why you need to work on your social media strategy, get a good grasp of the tactics that work, and improve your email and online marketing skills.
Once you've effectively built a solid client base, the next thing that you need to do is to manage customers effectively. There are plenty of cloud-based apps out there that you can use for customer service, customer support, or CRM.
Using these apps lets you automate how you accept and organize orders. You can even automate your fulfillment services.
3. Building Brand Awareness
Before you can start growing your business, your audience first needs to know that you exist. The thing is, you won't instantly turn into a household name overnight.
Building brand awareness takes time. With so many businesses out there, getting and retaining your target audience's attention can be challenging.
And if you think shoving your ads to your customer's face is effective, think again. It will likely piss them off and make them run away from you.
If you don't have a solid promotional campaign or know how to convert customers, you might just be getting their attention only to lose them. So, make sure that you run your ads strategically.
For instance, running digital ads is a more cost-effective way to get your name in front of prospective customers.
You should implement the best social media marketing practices to build a meaningful relationship with your customers.
4. Adapting During a Crisis
One of the biggest trends that rose during the COVID-19 pandemic is small businesses going online.
For many small businesses out there, the internet turned into some sort of lifeline. Without it, many companies would not have thrived during the pandemic.
Many small businesses have been looking for creative ways on how they can succeed despite the challenges. This involves expanding to new markets and testing out new innovative ways to deliver and market their products and services.
In the same way, big tech companies like Google and Facebook are also looking for ways to help small businesses connect better with their customers.
For instance, Instagram has recently launched its food delivery and gift card stickers. They also launched several e-commerce tools for small businesses.
5. Managing Workflows
After you have people in your team to make things happen, the next thing that you need to do is to manage your workflow as you grow your business.
Ideally, you need to make sure that you and your team have the right processes to work efficiently.
But of course, you couldn't do all of these all at once. So, how do you run your business while ensuring your team has what they need?
One of the best ways you can do that is to ask and give feedback. Build a system where you can receive and give feedback. More so if it is related to a project.
6. Running Out of Capital
Obtaining the necessary funds for your business can be challenging. However, there are several ways to find business investors.
For instance, you can try crowdfunding or attend a local networking event in your area to let your presence be known. Put yourself out there, and don't back down from opportunities. You'll never know where you can get secure financing.
Moreover, as you get your business up and running, make sure that you regularly review your budget.
This enables you to look out for the money that goes out every month and make necessary changes if needed.
7. Protecting Customer Data
Whether it is your customer's email or bank details, you need to be responsible for the data they've shared with you.
That's because if these fall into the wrong hands, this can hurt your reputation. One of the most common mistakes small business owners make is thinking that data security is for big brands only. What they don't know is that such a mindset compromises their customers' data security.
As a small business, you need to ensure that your team is well-trained.
They should understand the responsibility and importance of keeping these data safe. You should also pick the right tools for extra layers of protection if you want to reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
Overcome Your Business Problems & Build Your Dream Business
Running a business, whether an enterprise or a local retail store, is challenging all the same. But that should not hinder you from turning your dreams into reality. And with the points listed in this post, we hope you can learn how to mitigate risks moving forward.
Gia Keasler is a contributing writer based in NYC. She usually writes about running and funding a startup and how to make it successful. She also does brush pen calligraphy as a hobby.