What are common challenges of a small business owner?
Most small-business owners are aware of the one sobering common challenge that most small businesses don’t survive longer than five years.
Those who set out on the difficult but rewarding path of following their dreams and trying to make a business out of their passions aren’t usually scared off by statistics. But when you come up to this milestone that once loomed as a daunting barrier, you probably breathe a sigh of relief.
You’ve come a long way, but at the five-year mark, there are still plenty of challenges to be had.
These four factors often emerge as new challenges around the five-year mark.
1. Staffing issues
This is one very common challenge. It’s often the case that when starting out, small business owners hire talented individuals who are quick on their feet and can grow with the business. After several years in business, most are confident in their vision and in the direction they want to go. Having gotten this far, many business owners are looking for a more specific set of skills. Managing a larger number of employees with a range of skills can turn into a new challenge; it may even necessitate an HR person.
2. Growing and maintaining a customer base
By now you surely realize that it truly is all about the customer. Customers are what make your business. But just as you were once the new game in town, so too will new competition, headed by eager visionaries like yourself, emerge. You may find keeping customers loyal to be just as a common challenge as attracting new clients. And you need to do both!
3. The need for more specialists
Many small businesses benefit hugely from municipal commerce services that offer free financial and legal advice. However, after five years, you’ve probably grown to the point where you need much more than free advice. You may have to retain a lawyer, hire an accountant to manage cash flow, an IT team and, as we mentioned above, someone who can handle HR issues. No doubt these are all signs of growth and prosperity, but they also require more management, space and resources.
4. Planning the next move
How ambitious are you? What were your goals when you started out? Sometime around the five-year mark you’ll want to take a step back and evaluate these fundamental questions. You may wish to expand, to open another location or do business in a wider geographic area. A lot of risk went into starting your business, and more risk may follow, but ultimately, that is part of the thrill and reward of running a small business.
While these four factors are challenges, they’re nothing you can’t handle. In fact, they can best be thought of as steps (and there will be plenty of big steps) you need to take to get your business to the next level.
Haven’t reached your 5 year mark yet? Well, here are 4 common challenges to be aware of after 1 year in business.