Top Five Struggles Small Business Owners Face
After years of dedicating the hard work, time, and sacrifice, you’re finally a small business owner. Owning your own business and being your own boss is an incredible accomplishment most people can only dream of, but the lifestyle is certainly not for the faint of heart. After all, a significant percentage of new businesses fail. To own a successful, long-term business requires a lot of sacrifice and effort, plus a good deal of old-fashioned luck. Whether you’ve been a business owner for years now or you’re just starting out on the journey, there are a few challenges most entrepreneurs will share. So, what are the top struggles a small business owner face?
1. Learning to navigate complicated government and legal regulations. This becomes even more difficult if your business crosses multiple countries. As someone who has traveled and worked all across the globe, I’ve learned firsthand just how complex these issues can be. That’s why you should be sure to have a good legal consultant at your side in the beginning: so you don’t inadvertently break any laws. Many countries have incredibly high standards for the products they’ll import, for example, and will require certain certifications beforehand. If you have employees or businesses in multiple locations, different tax regulations are another consideration you must keep in mind. Be sure to factor all of this into your budget when you’re starting out.
2. Hiring the right people. When your small business is just beginning, you may be tempted to try to do everything yourself. But as your business grows and succeeds, you’ll need to delegate certain day-to-day duties. Hire the right people rather than try to do everything yourself. Even though the initial investment will cost you more money, having experts focus on these other areas leaves you with enough time to grow your business.
3. Brand awareness. When you’re starting out, it can be tough to get your name out to the public. Invest in a few marketing classes, or even consider hiring specialized staff to help market your business. You may have the best product or the most expertise in the world, but no one can use your services if they don’t know they exist.
4. Businesses are risky. Many business owners don’t make a profit for the first few years–is that something you and your family are willing to accept? How about the fact that the business might fail and you could lose out on your investment? If you can’t accept these, then maybe being a business owner isn’t the right step for you at this time.
5. Developing clear long-term goals. Yes, you need an aspirational mission statement–the why of what you do–but you’ll also need a clear roadmap to show how you’ll accomplish those lofty goals. Break your goals down by the six-month, one-year, three-year, and five-year marks. What are the steps you’ll need to take in those first six months to reach those initial goals? What additional steps will you need to take to reach your subsequent goals? Be ambitious but realistic.
Even after accounting for all these struggles, you probably wouldn’t want it any other way, right? Me either. That’s why I’ve been running my own businesses for most of my adult life.