A survey conducted by Wasp Barcode Technologies uncovered some pretty interesting information regarding the challenges faced by small businesses in the United States.
According to data gathered during interviews with more than 1,100 small business owners, the main difficulties for small businesses are the following:
RESEARCH: What are some of the Challenges faced by Small businesses?
- Hiring new employees: 50%
- Increasing profit: 45%
- Employee Healthcare: 43%
- Growing revenue: 43%
- Cash flow: 36%
Note that hiring new employees is a major concern and is one of the major challenges faced by small businesses. It is at precisely this time when small businesses are expanding, delegating tasks and outsourcing services to broaden the outreach of their products or services and therefore, attempting to increase revenues and profits, that they find themselves in more difficulties.
Let’s try to understand better what challenges are faced by small businesses, starting with this dilemma: Putting out fires vs. Expanding the business.
What are the challenges faced by small businesses in growth?
With the temptation to ‘do it yourself’ as much as you can, the small business owner often ends up overloading on urgent tasks or operational functions and neglects the strategic and long-term issues.
Due to this, it’s clear that increasing profits and revenues will be very complicated, confirmed by the research data above.
The key is to understand that you have to do some non-urgent tasks, but they are certainly very important.
One way to organize this is by using the Eisenhower Matrix, which divides tasks into 4 quadrants: Important and Urgent, Important but Non-Urgent, Urgent but Not Important, and finally Neither Urgent nor Important.
But if you want to be more effective still, you can allocate a few days of the month where you won’t do any operational tasks and instead devote yourself exclusively to doing what is important.
Choose one or two days in the middle of the month, away from deadlines, and engage in activities such as:
- Sales and Presentation Scripts for your Products and Services: Often a company evolves, along with its products and services, but an update of sales arguments and materials is forgotten. Fix them ASAP!
- How is your website? Don’t say it hasn’t even been created … well, whether it’s in need of an upgrade or in need of being created, the first step is to select a good service provider for that.
- Encourage lead generation: If your challenge is how to increase revenues and profitability (as pointed out in the survey), create web pages with good lead capturing forms and look for marketing automation tools like Hubspot, Pipedrive, and Salesforce to feed the leads. It’s a crucial thing to do.
- Create Rich Content: What will you offer on your lead generating pages to encourage your customers to leave their names, emails and other data? Mark down days of the month to write a complete and information rich e-book to help your real audience!
Check out: The decision-making process in organizations: Rational and intuitive
But beyond these suggestions of important things you need to do in your company, do you know what other challenges are faced by small businesses?
Productivity and efficiency.
After all, the more efficient a small business is, the more profit it will make. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Using tools to save time and money
How does communication function in your business? Is everything via email, with a lot of documents being sent in several different copies to various contributors and no one knows which is the latest updated version?
There’s no point in listing what challenges are faced by small businesses if you don’t take some simple steps that can make your business much more productive, such as using technology and cloud computing, for example, to share files, encourage collaboration, and promote the simplification of processes.
Google Drive, which is free, allows you to centralize documents, spreadsheets, slide shows in one place and, best of all, you have remote access wherever you go and the ability to edit collaboratively with contributions from the entire team.
Another interesting tool is Trello, which also has an excellent free trial, and can help you manage projects, teams and even day-to-day tasks.
As for your website, how about speeding up this process by buying a ready-made Themeforest layout and using an email marketing tool such as Mailchimp and starting a targeted email marketing campaign right now?
The possibilities are endless; it’s up to you to set your priorities!
How can a process be defined to operationalize this?
Designing a process to take all these initiatives forward can be a great way to get things done quickly.
How about following this 3 step roadmap:
- List all your tasks.
- Estimate the approximate time that will pass in each of them.
- Prioritize the optimization of these processes by looking for tools and tips to improve their efficiency.
For example: If your # 1 problem is financial management: Search Google using the keyword ‘optimize financial management‘. Dozens of solutions will appear, such as financial process automation, for example, that can be done via API, with the help of companies like Pluga or Zapier.
Finally, an interesting tip is not to neglect to observe the business environment and the competition, instead, do this frequently and regularly.
Subscribe to Newsletters with new content, chat with people who can pass on some experience, watch those webinars that people keep sending you email invites to, read a good book about growth hacking, digital marketing or an inspiring biography, or even take a course from a quality online site such as edX or Coursera.
The important thing is to be able to better reflect on what you are doing and model your processes to achieve the best results, and consequently, overcome the challenges faced by small businesses.
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