Working at a small business is a fantastic experience.
It gives you the opportunity to work with a tight-knit group of unique individuals who strive towards the same goal.
It allows you to see the impact your work has on a day-to-day basis, acting as validation and a reminder of why you do what you do.
It provides numerous opportunities to connect with your community in an intimate way and ultimately better it as a whole.
Yes, working at a small business is great. Except…when it’s not.
So without further ado, here are 3 small business ailments and some suggested remedies.
1. Growing Pains
If you work at a small business, you probably juggle a million different tasks and hold four different titles (office manager, marketing coordinator, finance guru, etc.).
While you may expect this as a small business, it illustrates a problem we’ve all faced: having too much work and not enough people to do it.
It’s difficult to maintain healthy growth and you may find yourself facing one of the following scenarios:
- You want to increase sales and do more for your clients, but your employees are already stretched thin.
- You have a product that is in high demand, but you STILL don’t have enough revenue to bring on another team member.
- You have a product that is in high demand, but you STILL don’t have enough revenue to increase manufacturing capacity.
All of these scenarios put you in a negative feedback loop, making a problem even more pronounced when you have limited access to investment capital.
This is one of the main reasons so many small businesses fail — they can’t find that happy balance.
They either don’t prepare for their business taking off, leaving them unable to supply an increasingly high demand, or they invest too much money on a product or service that doesn’t find success.
Our CEO, Chris Manley, has some tips for this particularly difficult challenge. “There are two options if you find yourself in this situation: engage in serious strategic planning or consider whether your business model is sustainable. Success should not be limited to ‘if my business stays open.’ Success can also be found when you learn a particular business model does not work. You gain valuable knowledge and skills, and you can apply what you’ve learned to your next venture.
“Identifying and bringing business advisors on board is also a strong next step. Find business leaders you respect — they may be related to your industry or something totally different. However, find people who fit your needs. If you just can’t get your sales off the ground, then seek out a mentor in someone who has successfully grown sales in another company. If your problem is outlining operational procedures and production guidelines, ask around to identify someone who has a corresponding background. If you have no network of existing business leaders to lean on for recommendations, check out SCORE, a group of retired executives devoted to helping entrepreneurs find success.”
2. Finding The Right Employees
One study found that 52% of small business owners identified lack of skilled labor as a major impediment to business growth. Why is it such a struggle to find good help? A potential reason is that these businesses cannot or, worse yet, will not pay skilled workers enough to hire them.
Another reason is that a rapidly growing business may rush the hiring process and not properly train new hires — resulting in inconsistent services. Or, they may take a risk on promising candidates, choosing to provide substantial training in-house, only for the employee to leave after receiving the training.
You can avoid this by implementing systems or tools to measure the engagement of employees.
Spend a significant amount of time during the hiring process! Don’t rush to fill a position just so you can meet demand and lighten the load on your current employees. This decision will ultimately come back to haunt you, costing even more time and money. If you hire an employee that sticks around, even for only a year, investing enough time into making the right decision will have an incredibly positive ROI. You’ll find someone who fits your company culture, has the right skills, or is receptive and skilled at learning.
Also, let employees go if you have to, even if they are hard-working and amiable. If you have an employee that doesn’t meet your standards and isn’t contributing to your profit — including those that mean well and do everything they can — it’s best to let them go. This can also be said of employees that don’t fit in with the company culture or buy in to the values of the business.
3. Your Website is Outdated
People form an opinion of your company and your brand within SECONDS of landing on your website (.05 seconds to be precise). An outdated website can make users second guess their purchase or seek out a competitor when old information leaves them frustrated.
Just check out these stats from Forbes Advisor:
- 47% of users will leave if a website takes longer than 2 seconds to load.
- 88% of users won’t return after a bad site experience.
- 61% of users will leave if they can’t find the information they need within 5 seconds.
An outdated website could be costing you sales.
A quality website is not something you can afford to do business without. People think less of businesses that lack a responsive and up-to-date website, and if you don’t have one you could be missing out on a ton of potential business.
Whether you dedicate in-house resources to tackle essential updates, or work with an agency to create a whole new look online — your clients will thank you.