Starting a business is no mean feat but keeping one alive is even harder! Inevitably all businesses are confronted with challenges at some stage in their lifespan and most issues that surface you can’t hide from. Here are 5 of the most common challenges of running a small business and what you can do to overcome them.
- Over-dependence on a single client – Receiving more than half of your income from a single client could be dangerous territory and perhaps its time to diversify your client base. Being overly dependent on one client makes you more of an independent contractor rather than a business owner, and it could limit your future growth.
Invest time into generating more clients, and work on strengthening deals with your existing customers. Its highly valuable to have one consistent client that pays well, but its important not to rely solely on them as your main source of income because you never know what the future holds for your relationship with them. Organise alternative streams of income so you’re always prepared for a rainy day.
- Managing your cash flow – Virtually every small business battles with cash flow issues but, with careful management, this can eventually be overcome.
In the beginning when there’s a lot of uncertainty around your business, cash flow is limited and therefore easy to track. However, when money starts to flow into the business, it becomes more important to skilfully handle accounting, taxes and other responsibilities. The complexity of a company’s books naturally rises over time, so getting professional help is a good idea. In the meantime, online software and budgeting systems can bridge the gap and ensure your company is directing its flow in the most efficient way possible.
- Fatigue – Even the most dedicated entrepreneurs will feel their fair share of fatigue – it’s unavoidable. The stress and constant pressure to perform eventually catches up with you and many business owners fall into the trap of working long hours and never really clocking off.
With the unique pressure that comes with running a business, it can be hard to ‘turn off’ or take time away to recharge. At the back of your mind, there’s always the fear that the business will stall in your absence when, in fact, the opposite is true. If you want to bring the mental energy that your business will need to evolve, you need to make sure you’re well rested and fully recharged! Just like your employees, dedicate a working window and then sign out until the next day.
- Balancing quality and growth – There comes a time in the growth of every small business where it must sacrifice some aspect of a service or product in order to scale. This may mean no longer being able to manage every client relationship or oversee every delivery.
This attention to detail is often what makes a company initially successful, but staying tied to these habits will limit your company’s growth. Learn to delegate tasks and compromise in certain areas – your brand will only benefit from it in the long run.
- Staying passionate – When your passion becomes your daily grind, it can lose some of its glister. When this happens, the quality of your input can suffer, meaning the quality of your output will, too!
You need to make sure you’re 100% committed and passionate about your business idea before you start out and, if not, find ways to breathe new life into it. It’ll be far easier to work a full day if you’re totally invested in what it is you’re creating.