The economy at the moment is not as flourishing as it has been in the past. The biggest problem with the economic outlook is a slow growth prediction in the economy. The normal 5.7 percent growth is predicted to fall to a dismal 2.3 percent growth. This is a challenge in itself as people will not be spending as much money as usual. Slow economic growth impacts small business. Since COVID, businesses have been suffering. Many strict COVID areas have seen closure after closure of long-term small businesses which have existed in the area for a long time. COVID shut down the economy world-wide. Most of the world has reopened but there are still areas where strict guidelines have stifled small business and shut many doors. Starting a small business in a strict COVID is not advisable. Most small businesses do not have the funds to maintain over a long period of time. This has become one of the biggest challenges for small businesses.
Lack of funding creates problems for small business who are either getting started or have been in business for a long time. It doesn’t matter how long your business has been around if you do not have the capital to maintain your business. Small business start-ups often overlook the cost of weathering the storm of the first year. The first year is always the most difficult year for any new business. Establishing your small business takes money. Proper planning with the funds your business has available or at your disposal can save you from losing your small business. New start-ups need to plan financially for their first year.
Getting new customers is always the goal of any small business. When you are working your business locally, your customer base in your region might not be what you had predicted when you started your business. Once you have a solid customer base, you may find that your business isn’t attracting new customers. It is at this point that you may want to reevaluate your initial business plan and formulate a new plan based on your experience, demographics, and what is actually possible when attempting to attract new customers. Once you re-evaluate your area then you can create realistic goals when it comes to attracting new customers. Offering a new product or changing the way your service works can make a big difference as long as you are not alienating your current customer base.
Retaining current customers is also a challenge for any small business especially if there is too much competition in your region of operation. Customer retention is always the goal of any small business, but how do you retain your customers if they explore other small businesses similar to your own? This is where creating a niche could be a possible solution. The more original your small business is, the more likely you will retain your customers. They will be loyal to your product or service because of originality.
Getting and keeping employees because you cannot pay them what they’re worth becomes a challenge when you are on a shoe-string budget. Many small businesses operate on a shoe-string budget. This makes it difficult to wage compete with larger businesses and corporations. This makes it difficult for an employee to stay loyal to your small business, even if they love their job. They will go where the wages and benefits are better than you are able to offer. If you cannot compete with the larger companies on this level, then plan for an employee revolving door and create a plan to integrate new employees quickly and seamlessly. This will help your small business overcome one of the biggest challenges- employee retention.
Not getting up to date with technology can cost you when your competition is taking advantage of the new technology on the market. Technology can alienate the elderly who are unfamiliar with technology generally. On the other side of the coin, younger generations love new technology and almost expect it to be available with your product or service. Stay up to date on technology and offer the traditional product or service for your older customers. This will prove to be a successful combination.
Lack of brand recognition can cost any small business customers, profits, capital and ultimately, their business. Any new business should work diligently to establish their brand in the area they are working their small business. Promotions are always a good way to get your brand noticed. Local advertising is another way if it is within your budget. The first year of your new business should be about getting your brand in places in the region where your business is located. This could be via print advertising, events that you sponsor, networking meetings, social media or even flyers. Get your brand out there and get it well-known.
Many new business owners don’t take into consideration how time consuming their business really is. They feel overworked and tired, and it is not the small business dream of having all the time and all the money that most have. The reality of running any small business is that you will have to devote the majority of your time to make it happen. Consider hiring someone to help you with your small business to alleviate some of the difficult tasks and free up your time. If you cannot afford to hire help, your family may be available to help you get more free time. A good business owner knows that for every problem, there is a solution.
Competition is always a challenge for any business, big or small. Small businesses who do their research and plan well have a good idea of the competition in their region. If there is a lot of competition, then originality and creativity are the solutions. This is where you will create your niche and carve your way to success.
In spite of any challenges, small business can thrive with research and good business plan. Create your vision based on the facts and statistics of your region. Know who your customers are before you get your customer base. Take the economy into consideration. Make sure you have enough money to weather any storm or emergency. Get your brand recognized. Stay up to date on technology and offer it to your customers. Niche if you need to. Get ready to take your small business to the next level and keep the attitude that no challenge can stop you.