As a small business owner, I have learned many lessons (some harder than others) on how to keep my business growing and thriving. Here are some of the more memorable challenges:
1. Attracting and KEEPING Employees – I am not able to offer the kind of benefits that a big company offers, but I am determined to provide an environment where employees can learn, grow, get paid well, and have relationships that only a small company fosters. For me, it is important that whoever joins our company fits into the culture, and enjoys the opportunity to become proficient in ways they could never accomplish with a large company.
2. Founder Dependence – As a founder of a small business, I am very focused on the quality and value we offer customers. Founder Dependence is the Achilles heel of a small business. The very qualities that energized the business at the start can now become a stumbling block. I have learned that letting go and delegating responsibilities to employees is challenging, but necessary if we are to evolve as a company. Sometimes I need to step back to allow employees enough room to figure out how to approach an issue. Their solutions may not be exactly how I would handle it, but encouraging them to take on more is the best way for them to learn.
3. Remaining Profitable – The shortcut to profitability lies in examining how everyone in our company can work more efficiently. We are constantly looking at how we deliver products and services to see if we can do it better. We have discovered that the best way to stay profitable is through innovation and optimization. The old adage, “Do more with less” is vital for us as a small business.
4. Overworked and Fatigued – Studies show that being fatigued can lead to rash decisions. As a small business owner, it is my responsibility to take care of my mental and physical health. To keep pace with ever-changing circumstances, I carve out time just for me to help me focus better. Investing in my state of mind pays off in better decisions, and stronger commitment to accomplish what is needed.
5. Seek Expert Help – You don’t know what you don’t know. That is why it is rewarding to seek guidance from other business owners who have “been there, done that.” I belong to a professional group of small business owners who give me encouragement and practical answers to common problems. There is nothing more reassuring than to hear how another successful small business owner resolved a situation.
What challenges do you face in your small business? Please comment below to continue the conversation.