First, we want to say kudos!
If you’re here, there’s a good chance that means you’ve started a small business, which is incredible. We know this can be one of the most rewarding things you can do, and also quite terrifying.
Growing a company can face a range of challenges. As a small business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions, and what worked a year ago probably wouldn’t work now. And let’s not even begin with the havoc this pandemic has brought upon us.
According to statistics, only 51% of businesses survive exceeding their first five years.
So how do you manage your small business from becoming the one of every two that does succeed? First, it’s to know what typical challenges your business will likely face as it grows and be prepared to meet those challenges head-on.
Say hello to online
Now, we know the online world for some can be very intimidating, but that’s why we’re here. We’re the perfect solution if you own a small business that needs help getting online. The pandemic brought many hurdles that forced us to think creatively about how we live, socialize, and do business.
This was actually one of the few good things to come out of this craziness. Taking your small business online doesn’t just save your ability to interact with your existing customers, this opens your business up to new potential customers, even international ones if that’s your goal!
Just as you would need people in your store, you now need people in your online store! It makes sense. This is where other channels like email and social media help.
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to build relationships and stay top of mind with your audience. In fact, 66% have made a purchase due to an email marketing message. As for social media, It’s an excellent way to reach new customers by getting your business’s name out there. Plus, brand awareness and recognition are an essential part of growing your small business.
Knowing the unknown
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that you never, ever know what the future has in store for you.
One of the big things that the last two years have taught us is that it’s nearly impossible to plan for the unknown. I mean, that is kind of obvious, it IS the unknown.
But it is possible to take a step back and evaluate the present. So let’s play a game. It’s called “If You Knew Then What You Know Now.”
Go back to 2019, before the pandemic hit. How would you do it differently living through these past two years? Take the time now to figure out where you can find the best guidance for your business. It’s best to familiarize yourself with these things and identify helpful resources now rather than in your time of need.
A great place to start is creating a Rainy Day Fund.
Employee safety, first!
We have always believed if your employees are happy, your customers are happy. Employee wellness can make or break a small business as easy as that.
One of the most challenging aspects of running a small business comes from managing health care for your employees. Your workers’ health is essential without a doubt, but the increasing cost can make it tricky. However, employee benefits prove that you care about your employees, which will drive more success and growth.
Find resources and talk to fellow business owners for advice and solutions on how to handle employee wellness and benefits. If there is one thing you can always count on as a small business owner, it’s that you are not alone in your journey.
Making new customers
Of course, the most important thing, and sometimes the toughest, is bringing in new customers to your business.
Finding customers starts with figuring out who your ideal customer actually is. Craft an idea of what your target customers look like, what they do, where they spend time online by building your buyer personas. Creating specific ones can dramatically improve your business results.
Once you’ve built your buyer personas, you can start creating content and getting in front of your target customers in the places they spend online and with the messages they want to listen to.
So we now know who we want to sell to… but do THEY know who YOU are? There are strategies for spreading the word about your brand and building an excellent reputation that you can start right away. There are many ways to spread brand awareness, including PR, co-marketing, and blogging.
In time, a business may boom beyond growth expectations. But, as demands for your business increase, without the proper systems in place, you’re more likely to come up short and fall short of those demands. This is why you must scale up your business, and we can’t stress this enough, WITHOUT sacrificing the qualities that made you such a hit in the first place.
Let’s just admit that we can’t be good at everything. And a lot of people struggle with understanding finances.
If this sounds like you, hire a bookkeeper or accountant to work with you on monthly reporting. You need to review and understand your finances monthly. Then, add up all your expenses each month to know the minimum gross sales required to cover your costs.
This challenge can be overcome by using online invoice softwares or better budgeting systems and effective cash flow management. Virtually every small business owner has cash flow problems. One simple tip is to keep a strict track of your money, where it’s coming from, and where it’s going.
Every business will be different, but you’ll want to use business credit wisely, cut costs where possible, and manage cash flow by staying on top of invoices and bookkeeping. Business accountants and financial advisors can help you analyze your financial situation and help you make good decisions.
Mind the haters
“Isn’t it super risky?”
“Won’t it be time-consuming?”
“What if you lose all your money?”
Raise your hand if you have heard at least one of these questions? Heck, maybe all three in one way or another.
This challenge appears a little more cryptic than the rest. When starting a small business, many have a personal cheerleader cast of friends and family. And as much as they want you to succeed, they also genuinely don’t want you to fail. But, unfortunately, this sentiment can often come off cynical and not supportive.
These opinions can really take a long-term lease on your headspace—no one needs that. And when you do kill it, it doesn’t entirely end. You still get the “Oh, you were lucky!” Oh yes, it must be luck, not hours of blood, sweat and tears you devoted. Simply luck! *Insert eye roll here*. I digress, but this can distract you from your goals and leave you with self-doubt.
We believe in the right time, the right place, and hard work. Don’t pay attention to the naysayers.
Being an entrepreneur in a startup is extremely difficult. Every day you’re faced with reasons to doubt yourself, which will sometimes make you think about throwing in the towel.
Remember your purpose and why you built your company, and always stay focused on reaching the goals you’ve set out to attain.
You got this!