A recent article in Huffington Post requested the small business challenge they expected in 2012. The sample size of small owners, but a common problem applies to the majority of small business owners. This article about possible challenges and solutions.
All businesses have the same problem: lack of leadership, cash flow, employees and marketing. The level of challenge depends on the market, business location, business size and the level of employee skills needed.
Leadership is a critical problem. Business is usually run by managers and not leaders. The company with leadership finally wither and died due to lack of vision for the future.
The top four challenges are:
1. Concern for small businesses that have 50 or more employees. Most small business owners do not have a previous business experience. They may have some management level experiences, but don’t know what is needed to lead the company to succeed. Leadership requires a completely different mindset.
Successful leaders are visionary. They see a big picture and are usually not afraid to make decisions based on instincts and facts.
A leader inspired others with congruent action. Their actions match their words.
A leader sets focus and purpose and continues to verify everyone understand.
A leader speaks employee language. Communication is done in the context that everyone understood.
A leader is in harmony with the challenges faced by employees and provides guidance and solutions to reduce frustration
How do small business owners learn to be a leader? The majority of learning through trial and error. Other people may be fortunate enough to have a mentor who can help them reduce their learning curves. There are very few institutions that teach leadership. I suspect it because leadership is a mindset and requires a perfect experience. The best opportunity for small business owners is to join a group of business owners, find mentors who are truly a leader and learn from the individual.
2. Money to maintain operation and / or develop: In a previous business it can secure credit paths from banks to keep their business when cash flows are sporadic. The lack of the economy has recently changed the business ability to get additional funds. Banks adhering to their money and no longer comfortable lending to small businesses.
It presents a real dilemma for small business owners because the source of trusted cash they can no longer depend. There are other sources for loans, but usually at a much higher cost for borrowers. The result is an increase in costs and fewer profits.
3. Skilled employees: Today’s business requires employees with communication, computer and mathematical skills and the ability to interact with customers. Unfortunately the labor pool with this skill is limited in several locations. Then the owner must train new employees on how to do basic tasks. This is the time for most small business owners do not have it.
4. Marketing: Marketing has changed the last five years. In the past an owner can place advertisements in newspapers and markets to neighboring areas. At present, business owners currently have a reduced market because of the slow economy if their customer base is local. The challenge of maintaining their client base is multifaceted.
The internet provides access to a much wider customer base if the product is something that can be sent or electronic. The internet does provide business the ability to focus on their specific markets. Internet marketing can be adjusted around the location, age group, interest, etc. If business owners don’t know how to do this type of marketing, they have to learn for themselves, barter or outsourcing their own services. Small local businesses have better opportunities for barter for services than not involved in the local business community.