Business Hurdles

Starting a new small business can be a very daunting task with some fairly weighty burdens and very lofty rewards.  There exist a number of potholes, roadblocks and deterrents that every little company needs to plan for, or at least be aware of. In making a list of these deterrents, I hope that some small business out there may use this information to persevere though the hard times to a greater financial success.

Time

Unfortunately there are only so many hours in a workday and you only have so much time and energy to get it all done.  So many startups get burned out because they burn the candle from both ends and forget to just take small simple breaks.  Even if you are constantly inundated with emails, calls or meetings there still needs to be scheduled time for you and your family to rest and recuperate so you can function at 100% at all times.  Effective time usage is something that plagues most businessmen and women and there are many tips and tools to help out.  The largest and most prevalent theme among the most popular is planning.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Fail to plan means you plan to fail.”  Even a simple thought or not as to what your day and week should look like it much better than nothing. 

Size

How does one compete against those multinational conglomerates that have huge budgets to do what you cannot?  Find your niche and identify your strengths to use in your own day-to-day affairs.  Big corporations have a lot of weight they can throw around but never underestimate the power of the local Chamber of Commerce or small local governing bodies to help.  There are a vast number of resources available only to small businesses and not the larger companies.

http://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance

http://www.hispanicbic.org/local_resources.php

Use them!

Funding

At the end of the day, it all comes back to the money and its effect on the business.  This particular stress usually comes from lack of funding and can pose a serious block to the growth and welfare of your business.  With the economic stability of the banks in question, many have sought out alternative funding methods.

Merchant cash advance is one method that is fairly quick to get funding it allows you to reasonably pay it off over time.  This is where a portion of future sales is purchased to help provide funding to keep the business running.  An example of this would be your father giving you two dollars to buy lemons and sugar but you have to pay him back 30% of the first few days of sales.

Crowdfunding has been a newer and popular trend that is arising.  This allows you to pitch an idea or concept to a large group of people and ask for lots of small donations in place of finding one large angel investor.  Examples of this can be found at kickstarter.com or indiegogo.com.

Making sure you have enough cash at the end of the day to cover expenses, invest back into the business and still turn a profit is the number one strain on most small businesses. These resources can help alleviate that stress and actually help the overall growth of the business.

Workflow

When starting a new business and implementing new procedures, you may choose to look to other businesses as role models and adapt what they do to fit your business.  While emulation is an essential step to success, it should not be a destination but instead a stop along the way as you find what way works best for you and your company.  Keep in mind that the industry leaders had to reinvent their own wheels to get where they are and if you use their methods exclusively then you are already behind the curve.  Stay up to date on new methods and technologies and make it a regular practice to try new things to help productivity.  This can be accomplished by simply listening to the news or taking time out of your workweek dedicated to finding something new and innovative.

Bookkeeping

When first starting a business, it is almost too easy to let your personal finances and time mix in with the business.  For example, you may need to travel or eat with a client and you pay for it out of pocket but eventually make note of it in your accounting books.  This can lead to dangerous habits that lead up to scary audits in the future.  Investing in a good accountant or money keeper can go a long way to keeping your business up and running smoothly.  With you holding the reins of everything, a few simple but important details might get overlooked and these could lead to very costly mistakes in the future.  Setting good habits and training your employees to do the same can be very beneficial to your business in the long run.

Employees


Hiring, training and managing employees can be a painstaking task or a rewarding delight depending on how you treat it.  New employees mean more taxes, scheduling coverage, human resource issues, morale issues and many others but can be completely worth it if you’ve overbooked your schedule and need the help.  The most important thing a small business can do for its small workforce is keep an open line of communication so they know what is expected of them and what they can expect of you.  When communication breaks down, the workplace becomes less productive, more mistrusting and even hostile.

Successful Business People

The corporate world can be a cutthroat place where any sign of mistakes or weakness could prove to be fatal.  The competitive and aggressive nature of any business can lead to despair but remember you are not alone and many large businesses worldwide started with even more humble beginnings than your own.  With any luck, this list can be a resource for small businesses that are on the cusp of something huge but just need a little reinforcement.

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