According to the Business Employment Dynamics report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five small businesses fails in their first year, and one in two businesses close their gates by their fifth year. Only one-third of small businesses survive to their tenth year.
These numbers put a lot of pressure on entrepreneurs and business managers. If you belong in this category, you are probably worried, stressed, and unsure what to expect. Keeping your business afloat will not be easy. Making it successful will be extremely difficult.
However, the only thing you should care about is that it is possible. If you are motivated, you work hard, and you prepare for the challenges ahead, you will succeed. There are three main challenges today’s entrepreneurs face, and they have surprisingly easy solutions. Check them out below:
Top 3 Challenges for Today’s Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them:
1. Hiring, Retaining, and Monitoring Personnel:
Capterra reports that finding the right employees is a challenge for more than 20% of small businesses. Growing and retaining that workforce is just as challenging. Unemployment is at its lowest rate in decades.
This means fewer potential employees to choose from. It also means more job opportunities for your current employees. How can you find new ones and retain the ones you already have? You need to:
Invest in employee training and education:
Finding employees fit for the job will not be easy. Retaining the ones you have without offering them growth opportunities will be impossible. You need to have a well-thought system in place that will allow new employees to learn the trade and loyal employees to grow and evolve.
Improve the way you measure and reward performance:
You want actual results, and your employees are willing to offer them. However, you need to scale your expectations according to the job at hand and reward performance accordingly. Your employees need to feel their work is appreciated at its true value. Only then will they continue to give their best.
Invest in technology to improve communication, teamwork, and monitoring:
When you have several ongoing projects or tens of employees to monitor at the same time, keeping track of everything can be challenging. No wonder you have no time left for discussions and planning. With the right business management software, you can track employee schedules, assign jobs, monitor and update their status, participate in discussions and contribute with notes, photos, and comments. You can even track down your employees’ location and working hours, all from the same intuitive platform.
2. Ensuring a Constant Online Presence for Their Business:
According to Statista, there are nearly 4.2 billion internet users worldwide. Out of them, 3.908 billion use mobile devices to access the internet, and 3.4 billion are active social media users. By the end of 2019, 80% of U.S. internet users are expected to make at least one online acquisition. By the end of 2018, the internet is expected to drive retail sales of $2.84 trillion.
Under the circumstances, no entrepreneur can afford to neglect the importance of having an online presence. However, building and maintaining that presence is not easy. You will need to design a website, create social media profiles, and publish and promote content regularly both on your website and on the social media. You will also need to interact with your audience and keep them engaged. How do you do it? In theory, you have three options:
Learn as you go, step by step, by trial and error:
This option only works in theory, because, in practice, you will never have time for everything. Just imagine writing and posting on the company blog once or twice a week, keeping minimum three social media profiles up to date, and interacting with your audience.
Hire someone to do it:
You will have to work with them to make sure they follow your vision and do a good job. If you hire a professional, you will need to pay them an arm and a leg and still monitor their activity and work with them on strategy, budget, and other issues. If you hire an amateur, you will pay less, but the results will be far from spectacular. You will need countless brainstorming sessions, and many of your investments will not turn any profit.
Outsource to professionals:
An online marketing agency has all the resources and know-how required to build and maintain a successful online presence for your business. Since they use specific tools and strategies, they often charge less than you would spend with an employee. They need less monitoring, so you can invest your time into more profitable activities.
3. Maintain a Balance between Their Personal and Professional Life:
Most entrepreneurs work much more than the average 40 hours a week. Many actually exceed 60 to 72 work hours a week. The situation has been going on for years. In fact, it has driven many entrepreneurs to depression, fatigue, and even divorce. If you care about your personal life and you do not want to neglect your business either, you need to learn to use your time more efficiently.
According to Inc., you’re wasting over 21 hours a week on activities that you could easily delegate or avoid altogether. You should, therefore, evaluate how you spend your time and focus on the activities that really matter and need your input.
If you cannot find it in your heart to delegate or outsource less important activities, at least invest in business management tools that help you use your time more effectively. Some of them let you manage payments, customer issues, timesheets, tasks, emails, and more on the go, from your mobile device. With them, you can assign roles and permissions, set up reminders and notifications, monitor employee activity, store files in the cloud, and access and share them anytime, from anywhere.
Entrepreneurship is not easy, and neither is business management. You’ve already faced your share of challenges, and even more will follow. Hopefully, the above lines have helped you acknowledge important challenges and develop a strategy to overcome them. Take your time, think twice before acting, and never give up! Your efforts will eventually pay out.