Building a business from startup has its advantages too. You get to grow in the business with experience and business skills which are really difficult to get by reading books or business magazines. The entrepreneur also gets the pleasure of watching his efforts count. Over the years, he or she is able to determine with a keen sense of judgment what will and what will not work. However, it will be a fairy tale business if there were no challenges that had to face and handled. There is a good amount of challenges of business growth. You are not going to wish those small business challenges away, no successful business or entrepreneur does. And I bet you are in to make it big. So let’s get down to the matter and look into the problems small business owners face and then get you equipped with the right knowledge that will help you deal with them and make things less challenging.
Unless you have been seriously saving for your business startup and those savings have really amounted to a lot there, inadequate capital may be your first problem. It is a common one among startup entrepreneurs, so you are not alone in this. What makes the difference, though, is that those who have succeeded knew how to go about this challenge and still grow their businesses successfully. And you can too. It is definitely one of the challenges of business growth and you should be prepared to deal with it.
When entrepreneurs consider what they need for their business startup, it is usually costlier than most expect. But it is an important place to start from. At least you get to know what you need and can then start figuring out how to get it (if it is an absolute necessity). Once you are able to determine which amongst the items you listed is a necessity, you must have the faith for the next thing. Though it is one of the challenges of entrepreneurship, the right knowledge and skill will make it way easier to deal with this challenge that you thought.
Start with what you have and build from there
If you are looking to get every single thing you need for the business to start running, you are only going to waste a lot of time which should otherwise be profitable should you take the advice to start with what you have. Most times, some of the things we think we cannot do without, only want not needs.
Even if you have just enough money to get the most basic stuff, you need to start from there and make it count. One of the challenges of business growth is that the business does not always have all that it needs or the money to make provisions for it. Putting off what you should be doing today because of what you do not have is procrastinating and it is indeed the thief of time.
By the way, there are many people who may be interested in funding your business dreams but I tell you, most of them will not so much as believe in you until you can start up with what you have and show them something. No matter how big your business dreams are as an entrepreneur, you need to understand that those who can help you are usually not interested in the dreams they cannot see. It is hard to make others believe in your dreams, much less get them to support it you if there is nothing you are doing about those dreams.
So make up your mind and start with what you have, then you can begin soliciting for help from others who might be interested in your business. Inadequate resources are definitely of the most prevalent of all small business challenges and also one of the challenges to business growth though it is sometimes the easiest to conquer.
Never Borrow unless you really have to
It is not good news for any startup to fund its initial projects or even try to make its very first steps of progress with loans. Entrepreneurs who are not bold enough to start with what they have are usually bent on borrowing to make up for what they need for the business. It is not altogether bad, but you can be sure that the disadvantages of borrowing, especially for a startup really outweigh the advantages. For one thing, if initial business projects fail, the entire business has a good chance of crumbling. And not only that, but the life of the entrepreneur too may be in serious troubles if care is not taken.
Small business owners usually do not have enough experience or knowledge to rightly judge whether or not to take a loan. It is one of the challenges of entrepreneurship for startups. For the most part, that decision is made from a point of desperation and I tell you what, desperate business moves unless backed by knowledge and experience are disasters ready to happen. An inadequate fund is one of the small business challenges and is easy for entrepreneurs who are just starting out to falter in this aspect.
Agreed! Insufficient capital is one of the problems small business owners face and one way to deal with this problem is getting a loan. On the other hand, the entrepreneur must be able to count the cost of taking a loan by considering his ability to pay back as agreed with his lender or be prepared to face the sad music when things do not go as expected. Weigh the stakes carefully. If you can, get an expert in business financing to help you determine if taking the loan is the right move. This is especially important when the said loan is a large amount of money. The fact that insufficient funds are one of the challenges of business growth should make you even more careful when dealing with it.
Take time to figure out possible sources of financing for your business
Another way to deal with the challenge of inadequate capital is to seek funding from interested parties. There are people and organizations that will happily help you carry the burden of funding your startup, especially if your business helps the purpose of their organization. Let’s take someone who intends to start a community solar project as an example. He or she may find it really difficult to get even the necessities for a successful startup. However, an organization which supports renewable energy use for a better environment may be willing to help the business financially or otherwise.
This implies that such support may not necessarily be in financial terms but could significantly cut down your budget. The organization interested in helping the guy who wants to start a community solar project may assist with solar panels and even the free installation as well as technical advice. All these are things which would have cost some good amount of money. Now that money, if available can be redirected to other things the business may need for a successful startup. At the end of the day, though the said business did not get any financial assistance, it sure got what is worth a lot of money and has definitely been able to face and solve one of the challenges of small business growth. Hence its initial expenditure has been subsidized.
If your business is not of as such as will attract such assistance from any organization, you can resort to getting initial partners or investors. It is a good way to deal with lack of capital for a business startup. There are so many people who take pride in making large investments in promising startups. If you have such people around you or can get in contact with them, then that will be your next move when all others prove abortive. All you need is an agreement with them on how their investments are going to be beneficial to them.
Getting and Retaining customers
In this very challenging age where only the most determined people make it, small businesses too have to get engaged in their own fair share of the struggle when it comes to getting and retaining customers. It is indeed one of the most aching problems small business owners face. With regards to this, the first issue is that many small business owners get engaged in their startup without adequate market research. This poses a serious challenge when it comes to getting and retaining customers. Without research, the entrepreneur dives into the business almost blindly. Getting and retaining customers are both challenges of entrepreneurship that every business startup has to deal with.
Getting customers is one thing, and an important thing it is. When a business starts out, its progress and success are largely dependent on the availability of customers. Without customers, every entrepreneur can as well take what they have as capital and head off on a vacation. No customers, no need for a business. Yeah, they are that important. So the question which hits those who start out without market research is this; how do I get customers for my business now that it is started. Things become even more challenging when you have serious competitors in your chosen industry. Getting and retaining customers is one of the challenges of small business growth which require precise knowledge and diligence to deal with.
Getting customers is one thing
When it comes to getting customers, you sincerely have to revisit the purpose of your business. Sadly, several startups have profit making as their top priority and the main purpose of existence. Getting customers is one of those small business challenges which if not wisely handled could cause devastating problems for the business and the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur begins his or her business with a desire to make money, then finds something to use as a tool for meeting that objective. It is not going to be long before he or she realizes that money making should not have been the cornerstone of the business. So what then?
Problem-solving should be the main purpose! Every successful entrepreneur must have a mindset of solving problems and meeting needs even before he or she goes on to determine what type of goods or services will meet that purpose. Why so?
Most people don’t just spend money on things for the fun of it. Majority of them are only looking for goods or services that solve their problems or meet their need best. Hence for every product or service that meets a need or solves a problem, that which is most effective gets the most customers. If perhaps you started out with no definite purpose other than making a profit, you need to make reconsiderations before you move on, else you are going to find difficulties getting or even retaining customers. To get customers, put problem-solving and meeting needs over and above money and profit making.
Secondly, try to beat the standard your competitors have put both in pricing and quality. Sometimes, you have to make minimal profits to do this, but if you do understand the importance of it, you will definitely have the courage to make the right decision.
By the way, it is not good for a startup to get too interested in maximizing profits from the very beginning in order to solve some of the challenges of entrepreneurship. If it means you are just going to break even in order to get as many customers as possible, count the cost and take the decision. Minimizing profit at the onset of your business will help you deal with some the challenges of business growth. Those customers, you should have realized by now, are more valuable than the profits you may be interested in. If you need fish, I mean big fish, you cannot afford to be selfish with your bait.
Keeping those customers is another issue
Then when by some means or the other the entrepreneur manages to get customers, they realize that getting one is not half as difficult as keeping one. One thing you should take note of as an entrepreneur is the fact that keeping customers is a more important and noble venture for your business than getting them. However, so many businessmen and women with a promising startup make the mistake of concentrating more efforts on getting customers than keeping them. This is evident in the many promises and flashy statements they make about the business’ products and services through adverts.
When your business gets into promotional activities and mouthwatering adverts in a bid to get customers, you have to realize that adverts get customers but the quality of experience for those customers keeps them. This means you must ensure that your business is able and willing to live up to its promises as demonstrated or shown on adverts.
If you produce a brand of shoes for example and decide to use flattering advertisements which present them as stylish and durable, you better make sure that they can actually stand the test of time. Nothing gets customers engaged in your products and services faster than the persuasive advertisement, but at the same time, nothing drives them away like failing to meet up to the expectations aroused by your adverts.
To keep customers, the entrepreneur needs to be consistently innovative in his or approach to meeting customers’ demands. You cannot keep them if you are not consistently satisfying them.
This means the business has to get engaged in regular market research so that it can stay up to date with the changes in demand. If you have the finances for a startup, put a good amount of it into market research and keep it that way for as long as the business exists. Develop ways to keep in touch with customers. That is one way to keep them. Also, make it as easy as possible for them to give suggestions and send in their complaints. Some customers will stay loyal to your products or services as long as they are able to get their complaints and suggestions to you. It gives them hope that things are going to change for the better.
More so, giving customers the opportunity to influence changes in a business’ products and services is a great way to keep those you already got. It instills deep loyalty that comes from that feeling of belonging. It makes the average customer feel like he or she is in part an owner of the business. With time you will get to realize that keeping customers is more an issue of loyalty to a brand than anything else. Strive to get the loyalty of your customers instead of just sales.
Finally, as far as the challenge of getting and keeping customers is concerned, one thing should constantly be your focus and consciousness. Turning every first-time buyer into a loyal customer. Sincerely honor and value your customers. Every single one of them must be considered priceless for the business. Have the saying “the customer is king as your motto” and keep it that way.
No sooner would you have started than you will be forced to ask yourself how you are going to promote your business. Amongst small business challenges and the numerous problems small business owners face, this one cannot be avoided. You know, sometimes we talk about business promotion and entrepreneurs almost immediately think they have it all figured out. However, the failure recorded by many businesses in the matter of business promotion proves otherwise. There are different ways of promoting a business and each is only relevant to particular businesses and circumstances. It is therefore not enough to understand business promotion as a subject. You need to be skilled at applying it
One means of business promotion is advertisement. It is by far the most common of all and maybe because of its popularity, every business owner or startup looks forward to making the most of advertisement. It is indeed a good thing to engage in the advertisement but you have to first figure out what method will best suit your startup. If you must make use of advertisement, be sure you do not oversell yourself. Like I already mentioned, it is important for startups to keep away from enticing adverts, especially if they are not going to make good on the promises of the advert, for that is basically what most adverts are to customers, promises to deliver. For startups, never promise your customers more than you are able to deliver or you will definitely lose those who even become engaged through the adverts.
You can also get customers through promotion sales, and that is a better means for startups that can handle it. Wisely manage your costs of production such that you are able to promote through even slight price reductions or giving out free products if possible.
Another way to promote your startup is by making an alliance between your business and that of another with complementary products. For example, if you are into producing toothbrush, you can make sales through another business with a large part of the market dealing in toothpaste rather than trying to get a share of the market on your own. Selling under the canopy or another business is a great way to promote your business.
Dealing with competition
This is one of the most challenging issues for startups and one of the most serious problems small business owners face. Almost every industry you venture into will have others who have gone ahead and are also bent on staying at the lead or keeping their positions. There will always be competitors. Even if you started out with none, you will have to face them at one point or the other. competitors who are way ahead in the industry have the power to push others out and most of the time they are really bent on doing that.
Surviving in the midst of fierce competition is a serious affaire and on top of that, you have to stay profitable no matter what measures you to face the challenges of entrepreneurship.