The things involved in starting and running a successful small business are not secrets, but so many small business leaders struggle. Why? Why do 50% of small businesses fail in the first 5 years? If you can begin to understand and put a name to the important pieces of a business and name the challenges, this will be a good start to the future of running a small business. A great investment to running a business for the long haul!
Many small business owners start their small business because they had an idea and an opportunity. They also took a risk to go out on their own, invest money and resources to get things started. For some running a business comes naturally, but most face challenges they didn’t even realize would exist.
What are the main parts of business that leaders need to think about?
What your business offers
What exactly do you have to offer others - “to sell.” This is the development of a product or the service you are providing. This takes a bit of innovation and creativity. This is the product that meets a need or a service that helps solve a problem. From nail polish to car washes, each business has to focus on their offering.
Systems and activities of running the business
The day to day operations of your business are extremely important. Even if you have a great product or an amazing service, making the small business machine run smoothly and all the pieces and parts working together is a crucial part of a successful small business.
People involved with the business
Your employees, vendors, customers - Oh yeah, people. This piece is very important. You have to keep in mind you are dealing with people not just running numbers or products. You are hiring people to work with. You are selling to people, even if you never meet them face to face. And remember people come in all types!
- Developing the systems and activities you need to run smoothly - You start out with a business plan and being your business, and as soon as you get into the day to day running of the business you start to see the need to set up systems that promote efficiency and effectiveness. As you hire more and more people, you feel the need for processes to be set that are reproducible. The needs go on and on.
- Finding and keeping good people - Many small business leaders face this challenge. They need good employees working in their business. They want to find people who they can trust, they can give responsibility to, and that share an interest in the company, not just there for a paycheck.
- Finding and keeping good customers - Business dies without customers. It makes it very challenging to run a business with “bad” customers. So how does a small business find “good” customers?
- Dealing with the stress and responsibility - By stress I mean the pressure, the weight of responsibility. Stress can be the not-good-for-you type that “stresses you out,” but it can also be the good kind of stress that stretches you or forces you to grow and adapt. Learning to deal with this in the best possible ways is key for small business leaders.
- Getting help and advice you can trust - As an owner or leader in a small business there are times you may feel alone. You may have areas that you don’t feel equipped to address or need some direction. One of our favorite leadership coaches says, “No one gets to clarity alone” and reminds us that although finding those experts, consultants, coaches and mentors can be a challenge, they are also necessary for your success!
What about you? What are the challenges you face in your small business? How are you going to overcome them?
Here are 7 questions to ask to successfully overcome challenges in small business:
- What areas do you find challenging?
- Have you previously taken steps?
- What steps have you taken to overcome these challenges?
- Have you had results? Good, bad?
- How did you measure your results?
- What plan do you currently have in place for facing these challenges?
- Who do you have that you trust for advice, help, consulting, etc. when it comes to business development and leadership development?
Take some time to really think about your challenges, what you have done in the past to overcome them and what you plan to do next. We don’t want you to become one of the statistics in the business failure rate, but to press on and build a successful small business.