6 Common small business problems and how to manage them

Small Businesses face many challenges in their first few years. The data shows 20% of the businesses fail by the end of their first year, 50% by the end of fifth year and by tenth year the number raises to 80%.

Many of the common business problems can be fixable all you need to do is take a step back, take time to understand and re-think your strategy. Here we are covering 6 of the common problems and how to take action to solve them. Let’s get to work.

  1. Cash Flow - Money problems in their various forms are top of most business’s list. In fact, nearly 67 percent of current small business owners reported lack of capital as a top challenge. Many experts say having enough cash to support first two years of business is very critical for success. One simple tip is to keep strict track of your money, where it’s coming from, and where it’s going. Having a strong cash flow can keep your business running and growing. For small businesses the major worries are clients stalling payments, unexpected outgoings, and outstanding bills. Using online invoices and reminders can help you get paid on time from your unwilling customers to part from their money. There are great software’s out there that can do this for you, including DoTimely which generates invoices, send reminders, can accept payments and automatically charge clients. Additionally, you can improve your receivables by giving incentives to clients who pay you on time, taking deposits from new clients or offering services like packages or subscriptions to get cash in advance. Applying a few of these tips should help you stay on top of your cash flow problem.

  2. Fatigue - As a business owner you wear multiple hats and tend to do everything yourself and these long hours can add pressure and cause fatigue. Fatigue, one of the most commonly overlooked small business challenges, can leave you disorganized, absent-minded and irritable, this could lead to not paying as much attention to clients as you should, and end up making frequent mistakes. The long hours at work with constant pressure to perform wears on even the most passionate business owner. Many business owners, even successful ones, get stuck working much longer hours than their employees. They fear taking time off can cause havoc to their business. Fatigue can lead to rash decisions about the business, including the desire to abandon it completely.

    Business owners have to pace themselves, which includes embracing strategic delegation, something that for any highly motivated individual isn’t an easy ask. Start by identifying business tasks that don’t require your expertise and take part time help or use software to automate repetitive tasks. The investment to free your time to do things that you do best is worth it.

    You could also consider delegating tasks that are outside your skillset to specialists, such as accountants or legal experts – the results will likely be more professional and can save you endless headaches. The complexity of a company's books goes up with each client and employee, so getting an assist on the bookkeeping can prevent it from becoming a reason not to expand. DoTimely offers integration with QuickBooks and Xero for managing your business accounts.

    It is important to take time off for your health, wellbeing and having a happy family life.

  3. Time Management – Time management may be the most common problem faced by small business owners today. Small business owners play different roles and staying on top of critical tasks becomes a big challenge. Small tasks like providing great customer service and following up with your customer, generating invoices, collecting payment, paying your employees start taking lot of your productive time away from you. If you don’t stay organized then you are jumping from one task to another and missing important deadline on another task

    Staying organized, prioritizing your tasks and setting goals can help you get out of the whirlpool of time management. You should create your goals annually, monthly, weekly and daily and stay top of the priorities that need your attention. Assign tasks to your employees and use software like DoTimely to free your time up.

    You are already running out of time in this fast-moving competitive world. The ones who master the skill of managing time are the ones that can stay ahead of competition

  4. Motivating Employees - Your employees are very important part of your business and keeping them happy, engaged and motivated is vital for your business success. You need to find ways to boost employee engagement when giving them a bigger paycheck is not an option. Ensuring employees are happy and productive means communicating clearly, and being approachable. We have created DoTimely Hub to solve the common business communication problem with your employees. Also, small gestures like company picnic and holiday dinners can go long way. You should always be open for your employees’ feedback and understanding their needs. Many businesses overlook to understand what their employees wants and then wonder why they have high turnover. Bringing in new employees cost you time and money so remember it is in your best interest to keep the ones you have happy. To stay competitive in your industry you need to attract top-notch talent and keep them motivated and productive.

  5. Marketing and Advertising – Marketing and advertising can be a dauting task for many. But to grow your business it is one of the crucial tasks. Now if you feel comfortable taking over it yourself then it is great. You need to make sure you brush on the best practices and keep yourself updated with latest trends and avenues.

    Some of the ways are to maintain your presence online and on social channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Partner with local complimentary businesses to advertise for each other. There are many ways you can support your local community, network with people and grow your business as a result.

    It’s also okay if this is not your forte. There are plenty of people you can hire to do it on you behave. You don’t have to feel bad, your skills are starting and running a successful business and that itself is a huge undertaking in itself. Use your time wisely.

  6. Resistance to Change – Doing the things old way is going to drag you down. You need to keep up with the changing business environment. In the last 15 years 52%of the fortune 500 companies have disappeared. The companies like Blockbuster, Yellow pages were not willing to adopt. As a business owner you need to always keep yourself open to learning new ways that can help you save time and grow your business. Change can be frightening for many of us but maintain a culture that embrace change at your company. Keep your employees informed about the benefits of change so they understand and adopt it.

Overcoming the main small business challenges involves a number of key actions:

  • Use software to manage your repetitive tasks and manage cash flow

  • Set goals and make time for yourself

  • Take help where needed

  • Work hard to create employee satisfaction and use tools to improve employee communication

  • Stay up to date with your industry and adapt

As a small business owner, you need to understand your competition face the same challenges but how you respond and handle them will make all the difference and set you apart.