Problems Facing the Small Business Owner

moneymanagementTimes have been hard for the small business owner as of late.  It seems like with each passing day, small business owners become more cautious amid economic and financial uncertainty.  We at beMarketing have witnessed these trends, as small business owners are feeling less confident about their business conditions and future outlook and becoming more reluctant to hire additional staff.  These places are also struggling to keep up with technology, lacking the tools to improve efficiency.  But why do small business owners feel this way? What kinds of challenges are they facing in today’s economic and political climate?

Money Management

One of the most difficult and problematic things to do as a small business owner is to make sure you are managing your money correctly.  There is a fine balance one needs to determine when allocating funds to the different aspects of your business, and this balance varies from business to business.  If you own a small business, chances are that you don’t have an abundance of extra money laying around for you to do whatever you like with.  So you need to make sure that you are putting your money towards the right activities.

Growing revenue

Many businesses site their problems with growing revenue as directly related to being unable to capture funds from lending institutions because they are unable to grow with the business.  For example, they need to hire employees but don’t have the funds, but without the addition of new employees, they are unable to serve their growing customer base, and therefore are unable to actually make a better profit.

Increasing profit

Small businesses, more so than larger business, struggle with the ability to increase profit and sustain a viable cash flow.  Cash flow never seems to be of concern for larger organizations, but smaller businesses always seem to struggle to increase their profitability on an annual basis.  While larger businesses prioritize it below other, more pressing, concerns, companies are consistently seeking to increase their profit margins.  However, the urgency seems to lessen as the company grows.

Balancing quality and growth

It is one thing to want to grow your business, but at what cost.  You need to be smart during growth, making sure you are not sacrificing quality of your product or service just for the sake of growth.  Too many times do we hear about small businesses, known for their amazing quality and value, changing as they grow because they attempt to cut costs by compromising the integrity of their product.

Lack of marketing knowledge and trying to do it on their own

There is something to be said about having a killer marketing plan.  No matter what kind of product or service you sell, your marketing plan can make or break your business.  Even worse than not having a plan is trying to implement one without having any prior marketing knowledge.  Marketing your business is a full-time job, full of focused management of different mediums and developing a wide range of exposure.  When a small business attempts to implement a plan without a clear objective, the entire process ends up a huge waste of time and energy, of which would have otherwise have been applied.

Good marketing is not only about having the right plan, but also the right expertise and time behind the plan so that it is properly implemented so your business can be seen.  Whether you hire someone in house to handle this role, or outsource your marketing to an external source, it is important that your business allocates the appropriate time behind your marketing strategy.  Hiring a company like beMarketing (www.bemarketing.com) gives you the opportunity to have extensive marketing expertise in today’s top advertising mediums for a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee.  beMarketing would act as your marketing department, offering competitive, small business marketing budget pricing.

How to do small businesses fix these problems?

First and foremost, a small business needs to stay true to its mission.  A business without a clear mission isn’t much of a business at all.  You need to go into it with a clear set of goals.  There are times when it can be more profitable to serve a small-medium clients than large account clients.  It all relies upon your mission and what your small business aims to be.  Also, focus on what’s already working for you and stick with it.  There are times when being creative and taking risks are necessary to the health and growth of your business.  But if something is already doing well for you, there’s no reason to trash a good thing.  In addition, you should know what not to do.  Keep a running list of all the tasks and things you’ve done that have led nowhere.  These things are nonessential because you are getting nothing out of it.  Trim the fat.  When it comes to finances, make sure you are paying attention to your sales cycle and constantly revisiting your budget.  Plan for large purchases early and carefully, so that you can be sure it fits into your budget.  And lastly, time is money.  Really.  There is never any time to be wasted, so make sure that every minute of your day is put to productive use.

Sometimes, the issues mentioned revolve around a lack of additional funds.  Small business owners don’t have the luxury of having an excess of money to play around with.  Even with all of the economic programs and incentives for small businesses, most don’t qualify.  It’s difficult, especially for smaller businesses, to build up credit and provide financials worthy of securing business loans and lines of credit needed to grow.  One of the most opportunistic options and best resources to solve this is using a small loan company that can provide you with the extra funds to solve these issues. For example, a company like Kabbage makes it incredibly convenient to apply for loans from $2,000 to $100,000.  In today’s business environment, cash is king, and Kabbage is a supporter of the spirit of entrepreneurship and gives you the means to know instantly whether or not you have been approved for a loan.  100% online, a loan application with Kabbage only takes minutes to complete.  You can have as much as you want, when you want, as opposed to a traditional limited lump sum amount. Not only that, but Kabbage has dedicated team members available seven days a week to address any concerns or issues.

Overall, the odds are stacked against small business owners.  But there are plenty of solutions to help these places flourish.  As long as the owners are alert and aware of each of their actions and decisions and the effects that they have on their business, then they will survive this tough climate.