When you first start up a small business, it will take you a while to get on your feet and get to grips with the basics that make a success of your company. Now, every company faces some sort of challenges along the way. Some of this will come as a complete surprise – and would to for any business owner, no matter how experienced they may be. These just have to be tackled as and when they arise. However, there are other challenges out there that are a whole lot more commonly experienced. It’s these hard times that we can help you out with! Here are just a couple of business problems that you’re likely to face within your first couple of years of operation, what causes them, why you need to rectify them, and how to sort them out!
Becoming an Employer
When you first set up your small business, staffing is going to be the last thing on your mind. After all, your workload is likely to be manageable and you can probably cover everything yourself, so why fork out for someone else’s help that you don’t really need? However, once your business has launched, your products start selling, and you experience increased demand, you’re much better off sorting out your staffing options sooner rather than later. Most first-time business owners find themselves in the same boat when they make the mistake of leaving their business unstaffed for far too long. Now, their reasons are entirely understandable. After all, when you create your own business, you’re in complete control. You work for months on end completely by yourself to get things off the ground and up and running. Even when the workload starts getting a little heavy, you will find yourself convincing yourself that you don’t need to take on staff. That they’re just a needless expense when you can take on the extra work yourself by putting in a few extra hours here and there. But you can only keep this up for so long. As you start receiving increasing numbers of orders or more contracts, you’ll soon grow to realise that you’re not a robot and you do need to take a break here and there. So try to take on staff before you end up burning yourself out completely. Not only will you exhaust yourself, but your business will suffer from this bad management too. As a business owner, you can’t find yourself tied up in administrative and day to day tasks. You should be focusing on different areas that will help your brand to actually progress, rather than putting all of your energy into merely keeping it afloat. So, take heed of the old saying that many hands make light work and accept that it’s time to become an employer! Now, you have various staffing options to choose from once you do decide to take on staff. Your first is perhaps a little more costly, but it allows you to dabble in letting someone take some responsibility from your shoulders without committing to the full responsibility of becoming a part or full-time permanent employer. This is outsourcing. Outsourcing is the commonly employed business practice is a business which involves contracting work out to third parties, independent agencies, or freelance individuals. However, if you have tasks that require constant attention, you’d be much better off going down the traditional route of employing in-house staff. Now, becoming an employer is likely to be new territory, but as long as you are aware of your employees’ rights and ensure that they are upheld, things should be plain sailing. Conduct interviews before giving any position away, as this will help you to determine whether the individual applying for your advertised role is qualified, competent, and will gel well with yourself and your existing team.
Nowadays, increasing numbers of small business owners are taking to the realm of E-commerce. This means that instead of operating solely through traditional brick and mortar stores, they’re also (or conversely, solely) operating online through a website. There are various reason for such a large proportion of businesses moving to an online arena. First of all, selling online comes at a much lower cost than selling products to consumers on a face-to-face basis. You don’t have to worry about paying for a commercial property, you don’t have to provide energy to said commercial property, and you don’t have to employ staff such as assistants and security with the sole purpose of keeping an eye on the shop floor. These reduced costs don’t only benefit you, but they can benefit your customers too, as you will be able to cut the prices of the products you’re supplying. This will encourage consumers to opt to shop with you over your competitors. Operating online also allows your customers to shop without actually having to make their way to you. They can shop from the comfort of their own home, which is ideal if they have mobility issues, don’t have access to a vehicle or public transport, or simply don’t feel like heading out to the stores. They can also shop at any point of the day or night, meaning that you don’t have to worry about your opening hours meeting everyone’s needs or preferences. This maximises your sales. Then there’s the fact that you can reach out to a global audience by simply adding the option of worldwide shipping. As you can see, setting up online can have so many benefits for your company that it’d be genuinely detrimental to your company to not jump on the trend. However, this places a whole lot of pressure on you when it comes to ensuring that your technology is all up and running round the clock. After all, if your website crashes, it’s the equivalent of shutting up shop for however long it takes to get back online. You could miss out on a whole lot of sales in this time period. Chances are that you also use tech to do a whole lot of other tasks. You need it to answer customer queries via email, to update your social media feeds, to hold video calls with partners and distributors, to type up and send out contracts, and so much more! So, it quickly becomes imperative that you business has some form of IT support. Whether you decide to have an in-house IT department or to outsource this area of work, you should look to take on – or work alongside – individuals who will be able to monitor your tech and server around the clock. This will allow them to solve business challenges with IT, identifying most potential problems before they establish themselves, rectifying them before they negatively impact your business. This should reduce the number of interruptions you have and allow everything else to run smoothly as a result. They can also help to rectify any problems that have managed to occur quickly and effectively. Finally, they will be able to suggest any upgrades, developments, or alternative pieces of software that you might want to use as and when they make their way onto the market. These could improve the functioning of your business and prove to be a wise investment.
While these are just two of the many challenges that new small business owners will face, hopefully we’ve done them justice and have managed to give you a complete understanding of each situation. So, take note of the above sage advice and bear it in mind for when these issues will inevitably roll around!