What are the current challenges that small businesses face? Most importantly what practical steps can you take to navigate through them? We’ve got easy-to-apply tips, tools, and expert advice to boost your spirits on your path to sustainable growth and long-term success.
If you're a business owner, let's get moving. Napoleon Hill once said: "Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle". Keep reading and learn about five challenges you could face before reaching growth and how to overcome each one of them.
1. Keeping your customers happy
What do customers want? What can your business do to meet their needs? These can seem like broad and overwhelming questions for a small business owner. Solution: use market research to stay top-of-mind with current and potential customer needs. Below you'll find some tips on how you can focus your market research on staying on top of your customer’s necessities:
Define your market buyer persona: Build a fictional character to exemplify your ideal market buyer persona. Give them a name, age, preferences, interests, and behavioral traits. If you’re having trouble coming up with a set of questions, use one of these free online target buyer persona templates.
Detect your audience’s favorite digital channels: Don’t look in the wrong places. Use tools like Hootsuite Insights Keyhole.co, and Google Analytics to find out where your current audience spends the most time online first, and then plunge right in!
Listen to your current customers. Make friends with old-school market research again. Ask your customers about their experience with your services and products- most importantly, what you can do to improve to meet their current necessities. Document the data in a CRM system to trace preferences and patterns in the future.
2. Standing out from your competitors
Small companies are hurrying up to build their presence online. The best way to stand out in a crowd of ambitious businesses is by finding the best digital marketing channel and strategy. Solution: find a digital marketing strategy to stand out in a crowd.
But where can you start? There are countless digital marketing channels. If you try to dip your feet into all of them will only make your road to success slippery. Here are some tips for finding the digital marketing strategy and channels:
Use a web analytics service: What tactics are raising conversion rates? You can find this out by looking at metrics through tools like Google Analytics. Get more insight into users’ behavior and collect valuable user data in real-time.
See what your top three competitors are doing: To simplify your competition research and analysis, find the tools that will do the job for you.
3. Keeping your employee's satisfaction levels high
The biggest challenge for small business owners is to carry out actions that are tangible and measurable, based on that subjectivity. All this with the aim of making your employees feel better. Solution: Build a purposeful company culture and share it with your team.
According to a recent Gallup poll, only 4 in 10 employees strongly agree that the mission or purpose of their organization makes them feel their job is essential.
Identify and communicate a meaningful mission and purpose and convey it to your employees. To maintain high employee satisfaction levels, you can rely on the following pillars:
Emotional ownership: Your employees will want to actively engage and reach high-performance levels if they feel that they have emotional ownership over your company’s mission and values.
Community building: Incentivize a sense of community in the workplace. Align your team to work together for a cause.
You can do this through storytelling. Try to create videos, announcements, and events based on their stories. Depict how- their challenges and growth positively impact your business’s organizational mission. Make them feel that they own this mission.
Don’t push employees to follow a set of rules or orders dictated through hierarchies or bureaucratic systems. Instead, make them feel like they are working together to build something great. The easiest way to do this is by regularly organizing community service activities—a solely purpose-driven activity. You can learn more about initiatives to support your employees mental health.
4. Keeping the cash flow running
According to a U.S. Bank study, 82% of failed businesses cited cash flow problems as their primary challenge. All companies experience slow and fast growth cycles. Even profitable companies can be affected by cash flow problems. What's the solution? To keep your business cash flow running. Make sure your business operations and investment activities are running efficiently. Instead of waiting for better times, set a plan and finance your business growth strategy. Below you can find way's to invest in your business:
Top-performing inventory or services: Select the 20% top-performing inventory and products and invest in increasing its supply chain. You already have proof it’s working out, enhance it, and even multiply it. Detect obsolete inventory and poor product management and move on to the next big thing.
Technology to optimize services: The options are endless. Is it marketing? Your supply chain production? Customer service? Detect the area of your business that will increase your profitability and invest in the right technology.
An A-star team: Maybe your services are lagging- because you and your current employees can’t deal with everything. Detect where you need an extra set of hands and use the working capital to attract a talented team that will make your business thrive.
5. Getting fast working capital
Small businesses are often faced with challenges when it comes to seeking fast access to working capital. The solution? One Park Financial fast working capital programs. Even if you’re getting off the ground, we accept businesses three months old and generating at least $7,500 in the capital. Check if you pre-qualify first and connect with one of our funding experts and get up and going! We’re sure you more than anyone, can grow and succeed amongst all business challenges.