Top Problems Facing Small Businesses and How to Overcome Them
All businesses face problems at all stages of their life-cycles, from a brand-new startup to a decades-old institution. We’ve researched a few problems that are nigh-universal, and included some helpful tools others have implemented to overcome them.
Finding and keeping new clients
If ever there was a universal problem facing all businesses, it’s this one. Finding new customers and maintaining clients is at the core of any business. One of the best ways to discover new opportunities is to make sure that you are communicating with your customer base: listening to how they use your products or services and finding any pain points or complaints they have. Easy ways to keep in touch are email marketing blasts, surveys through a service such as Qualtrics, and keeping up-to-date with social media networks.
Maintaining cash flow
In lean times it can be difficult to keep cash flowing into your business; this could be due to a downswing in the economy, delayed payments from a client, or any one of a thousand reasons. It’s very important that you have access to some emergency capital. As a supporter of the spirit of entrepreneurship, Kabbage is a great resource for small business owners, offering loans ranging from $2,000 to $100,000. Kabbage can provide a working capital loan to grow your business in many ways. Loans are approved based on real-time business data, and in as quickly as just a few minutes.
Keeping a competitive edge
In the last few years, the world has been rapidly evolving. “Business as usual” today means that there really is no business as usual, and change is constant. This is probably one of the tougher problems to face, and each company might have a different approach. However, there is one key denominator in staying ahead of the competition and that is through maintaining relationships. Having a superior product or service can keep you in the game for a few months or years, but keeping up with your customers and showing them that you care will have them coming back indefinitely. There are many programs and plugins you can use to help manage relationships; Boomerang for Gmail is a good place to start.
Having an online presence with staying power
One of the more common questions asked by small business owners is “Do we need to be marketing on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/etc.?” and the response is overwhelmingly “Yes, absolutely.” Setting up a page is free, and it can help you find where your customers are, what they’re saying about you, and how they’re interacting with your business. Using tools like Hootsuite can help you coordinate across multiple networks, schedule posts, and analyze data. Even if you don’t make posts frequently, a discoverable social site is very important towards instilling confidence in your business.
Making time for everything
This one is hard to nail down, and works differently for every small business owner. Setting up a calendar to organize and keep track of duties can work for many, and an integrated app on your phone can help immensely. However, for the overwhelmed owner who can’t find enough time in the day for everything, it may be time to sit down and find out just what things you are doing that are most effective, particularly in the online sphere. If you’ve found that your Facebook page is not generating much ROI, or it requires a large time investment to be worthwhile, it might be necessary to scale it back and make only a rare post.
So there you have it, a handful of tools to help you overcome those daily issues that all businesses face. If you’ve got any more hints or tips that have helped your business out, let us know in the comments.