Small businesses face a number of unique challenges that come with the territory of operating on a micro level. The functions that are easily delegated in larger businesses become less so when there are fewer employees, and it can become difficult to keep up with all the moving parts. Here are the most common challenges that small businesses face and how they can be eliminated.
1. Exposure (or lack thereof)
It can be harder for small businesses to get their name out there when facing off against big-name heavyweights. Marketing can be a challenge for smaller companies, especially if small businesses are working with a smaller budget. However, all is not lost when it comes to marketing for a smaller business. One of the most cost effective ways of marketing is going digital. This can mean a wide variety of things so here are a few examples:
- Email marketing: This is a way to directly target repeat and potential customers and give them insight into your business. Email marketing helps you stay in the customer’s mind by appearing in their inbox and you can draw in customers by offering deals or insider rewards.
- SEO: This is a must for any business, large or small. If you want your business to be found online, you have to practice search engine optimisation (SEO). This is an effective way of combating your problem with getting the word out about your business.
- Online ads: This is a good way to reach your target demographic and spread your companies name.
Your small business can advertise just like the pros if you know what to do. Think about your target audience and how they act online (do your research!) From there, you can figure out how best to reach them digitally.
2. Customers (Finding and Keeping Them)
Another issue that comes along with having a small business is finding customers (or rather, them finding you). It can be hard to face off against bigger names, so it’s important you give customers some sort of value that bigger businesses can’t. This is where being a small business can actually be a massive help! Being small gives you the opportunity to really get to know and interact with your customers, making you seem more approachable and trustworthy. Start out by finding customers (this goes back to the SEO and target demographic from earlier) and then build a relationship with them. Some ways you might consider doing this are:
- Setting up a chat option on your website. This way customers can directly reach you whenever they need help. This not only helps build up a friendlier relationship but makes you stand out as the most helpful business for their needs.
- Be active on your social media. Social media is often seen as a more authentic place to express your brand’s personality, so take advantage of this. Post often, respond to comments and concerns, and generally interact with your followers (e.g. if they tag you in something, like it!) This will help you gain customer loyalty.
- Ask for feedback from your customers. Whether this means setting up a form on your website or encouraging posting Yelp reviews, this not only makes them feel like you really care about their needs, it helps you figure out what you’re doing wrong or right and how to alter your business or marketing strategy to reach more customers.
3. Staying Up to Date
When you’re running a small business, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate. With limited employee numbers and so much to do, it can be hard to stay current on what’s going on in your business sector. But this is actually quite important. Staying updated on trends and what your competitors are doing can help you stay on top of your game and remain relevant in the eyes of consumers. Keep your small business fresh by:
- Reading and writing relevant material. If there are new trends in your industry, you should know about them.
- If you have time, attending events or conferences in your area. This is a great way to get fresh new ideas and cultivate relationships with other businesses that can be mutually beneficial.
4. Technology Woes
Some small businesses might not have the structure to support big tech undertakings. Others just might feel like they don’t have the resources (time or employees) to keep up with technology. If small businesses allocate some time each week to learn about things like Google Analytics or Adwords they could benefit immensely. However, if self-teaching seems too overwhelming some solutions could be:
- Attending online webinars. This is a good way of getting to know your way around software or technology you might not be familiar with and making you more comfortable using them.
- Hire outside help. Sometimes it can be helpful for a small business to hire an outside agency to help them implement software or to deal with technology. This takes the pressure off of the business and allows them more time to focus on growing their company.
Small businesses generally have small employee numbers, with a handful of employees doing a lot of work. This can lead to workplace burnout if everyone is constantly working as they try to keep up with the high demands of a small business. If yours and your employee’s lives have turned into all work and no play, it might be time to make some changes. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. It’s possible (and sometimes practical) to outsource parts of your business. Ask yourself what your time is worth and if the cost of paying for another service is worth saving your time. Turning to other agencies can help strengthen your business and give you more time to focus on what you love about your business (and what you love outside of work, for that matter!)
These 5 problems can be tough challenges for a small business, but with the right tools, they can be overcome. If your small business could use a boost, reach out to us. We’d be happy to help!