Getting the right customers through the door, hiring talented personnel, managing cash flow, putting marketing systems in place to be able to sell more products and services, reducing inventory… these are some of the small business challenges that you’ll encounter if you decide to embark on this journey and be your own boss.
It’s fascinating to me to see how small business owners of different age groups behave and how they tackle these issues on a daily basis. The above-mentioned challenges are common to every industry, market or country.
Yes, the 40+ year old business owners will use their accumulated life and business experience to build relationships and will often come up with products and services that solve an actual problem instead of dreaming about building the next Facebook or Uber ‘of pancakes’ as 20 year old entrepreneurs do – however, the challenges both age groups face have a lot of commonalities.
Let’s be practical and have a closer look at three common small business challenges along with some hands-on tips on how to best overcome them.
Challenge #1: Selling ‘needs’ first.
I vividly remember how Steve Jobs, former CEO and Co-founder of Apple once said in an interview that people don’t know what they want, therefore it’s wise to create a need and sell products based off that need.
Steve Jobs was right, in part.
There are two ways to approach the creative aka sales process:
- You create demand (NEED): This is what Steve Jobs suggested and it’s obviously the more difficult path.
- You tap into an existing demand (WANT): You create products and services that solve an existing problem. You give your portfolio a certain spin thus differentiating yourself from others in the marketplace.
Of course, there are people who wonder around shoeless, clueless without knowing what they want. At the same time, there are a lot of folks who know exactly what they want and are willing to open their wallets and pay you, if your products and services solve their problems.
In most cases, the youngsters will pick the first strategy, whereas the more experienced ones, the second. Often times, the experienced small business owners will create products and services that solve a problem they personally had for a longer period of time but nobody was able to provide them with a proper viable solution so far.
TIP: Sell WANTS first. It’s easier. And stop being romantic about it; be practical.
Challenge #2: Being afraid to increase prices.
Here comes one of the biggest struggles for most small business owners.
Why is increasing prices so challenging?
The truth is never in the shallow answers such as: “I can’t communicate the price increase”, “Now is not the right time for a price increase”, “My competitors have similar prices” etc.
The true answer lies deep in the human psyche:
You don’t believe in your product.
You don’t believe in yourself.
You don’t feel worthy enough.
Knowing this, here comes my most important question to you:
AND… What are you going to do about it?
TIP: Stop dwelling upon it. Instead, do whatever it takes to get over these feelings and increase your prices. Unless, you have intentionally decided to play the “low prices everyday” strategy just like Walmart and Amazon do.
Challenge #3: Getting out of your own way.
Wearing several hats, juggling balls – that’s how many operate their businesses.
It’s not productive, nor is it efficient and most certainly, it won’t help you scale the business.
TIP #1: Delegate.
Double down on your strengths and delegate everything you’re not good at. Invest in people. Hire an amazing team that shares the same values and let them do what they’re best at.
TIP #2: Get a mentor.
Find somebody trustworthy with a proved business record, a person who has already achieved what you’re aspiring to accomplish and can give you hands-on tips on how to get similar results.
There is a blueprint for success and you need to know it, so that you can unlock your own code.
Remember these wise words from Les Brown: “You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame”.
A Very Short List of Small Business Challenges
If you’re in the trenches, you know this is a brief list of challenges you’ll be confronted with. Tackling them however, will not only free up your time and mind but also help you propel your business at a faster pace.
The only thing stopping you from getting the results you want is the part of your human body that lies between your ears and generates billions of thoughts every single minute.
It’s up to you to face your demons and build your mental discipline so that you can overcome your own doubts and confidently pass through hurdles that are holding you back.
What does your own ‘marinade’ of small business challenges look like? Is there a special ‘ingredient / spice’ that comes up over and over again?