Overcoming small business challenges will help lead to success

Michael Clasen PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

During times of uncertainty, it’s important for small-business owners to recognize the challenges that they are overcoming now will help lead them to success in the future.

It is essential to form relationships with business partners such as bankers, attorneys and accountants, especially during a pandemic. Using these relationships will help to overcome the challenges that small-business owners are facing.

Every small business comes with a unique set of challenges based on what type of industry it serves. These need to be overcome on a daily, weekly and annual basis. However, there are challenges that are universal to small-business owners.

Finance Management

How this area is approached varies greatly depending on the business growth stage: Is it at concept creation, full swing operation or is it in a declining state?

No matter the growth stage of the business, having formed relationships with business partners is key to helping you — the business owner — overcome the challenge. Talk to a local business banker about the best options for your situation and stage of the business. The banker will want to sit down, have an engaging conversation and find out about your company’s vision and needs.

They want to know the answer to, “Where do you want this to go?” Knowing the answer to this will allow the business banker to fully maximize the capabilities for your business’ specific financial needs.

The other piece to managing finances isn’t just the need for capital to start or expand. As a business owner you will need to understand applicable cash flow and convey that to the business banker.

Attracting Customers

All businesses want to attract customers. This starts with understanding the customer base, then using methods to capture those customers. Are you using “traditional” methods to attract new customers or have you made the digital leap? The methods that you are using, or have tried, will vary depending on many factors.

Regardless, this hurdle is equally as important as managing your finances. Getting the word out about your business is crucial to its success. If you do not have customers, it is hard to be successful.

Retaining Customers

This challenge can be the most difficult piece for some small businesses. The adage states that it is much cheaper to keep your current customer than it is to gain a new one. Understanding this, and having a strategy, is a recipe for success.

How do you keep current customers and gain new ones? It starts with staff and employee support. No one is better to sell the organization than the people who are working for it. The best advertising is word of mouth. Nothing beats a warm referral from a customer who has used your product or service. Additional steps to mitigate this challenge is to question your customers, offer promotions and use social media. Social media can be difficult for some businesses to get on board with, but it stands as one of the basic steps in taking the digital leap.

Growing Your Business

Any business that has gotten to this phase has accomplished all the other obstacles discussed prior. This challenge is something that must be anticipated and calculated. If a small business notices that it is at this phase and has not taken the proper steps in preparation, it will likely not succeed in capturing the growth it could have.

When it comes to this challenge, timing is key. Small businesses have the benefit of being able to make choices and implement changes without the exhaustive process of a large corporation. During change or periods of expansion, small-business owners and their employees should promote the business’ products and services and provide excellent service — wherever that service might be.

This is something that can never falter: Creating an emotional attachment to your product or a service you provide is the best way to gain market share.

Embracing Technology

Most small-business owners say they wish they took better advantage of technology. In a time like this, the need for embracing technology can make or break your business. If a need is identified, there usually is a technological solution out there that is affordable and can genuinely help. Seek out those opportunities and the business will expand in the way that you hope it would.

There are certainly other challenges that small businesses face especially now such as: The impact of the economy, increasing operating costs and many others. Remember, it all starts with forming relationships with business partners, managing your finances, attracting customers, anticipating growth and embracing technology.

If any small-business owner sticks with the basics of these main challenges, he or she can set their organization up for success in the future.