I believe that the main challenge facing small businesses, contrary to popular belief is not cash flow. Cash flow is one of the key contributing factors to insolvency and deserves it notoriety, however, I think that most businesses fail due to lack of knowledge in key business processes and systems i.e. financial planning, book-keeping and accounting, sales and marketing, manufacturing, website design and search engine optimisation etc The list is endless. I say this because you will eventually run out of cash if you keep flogging a dead horse i.e business without investing in the right know how. 95% of small business fail within the first five years due to this reason.
As a mum, wife and budding entrepreneur, I find myself continuously challenged and sometimes overwhelmed by the list of tasks to be completed each day. I can complete some of these tasks with my eyes closed whereas others really test my resilience; search engine optimization is one such area.
Like me, most small business owners will naturally gravitate towards those activities that they enjoy. This leaves other areas of the business to suffer and ultimately sabotages the success of the whole venture.The broadbase of skills needed to run a small business results in a lack of focus, reduced productivity and potentially failure.
How do you overcome this challenge? Knowing your strengths and weakness is a good place to start.Actually knowing your strengths and weaknesses is vital to overcoming this challenge because it enables you to engage with people who complement your strengths. These can be business partners, employees or other professionals.
Consulting with professionals with expertise in the various business processes can have a significant impact on the success or failure of any venture. For this reason, I believe every small business owner should commit to getting as much support as possible from the onset. This will minimise the need for expensive corrective “surgery” further down the line. The practice of researching and consulting with experts on key business activities or projects is common in large companies with deep pockets and it pays them great dividend.
Small businesses may not have the resources but it still pays to go through the motions and not cut any corners. Endeavor to keep things ticking along until you find someone who can build on your foundations. Don’t wait forever until you get all the experts on board before developing your business ideas. Invest in yourself by reading and attending seminars. I know not everybody likes to read (even if you like reading there isn’t time to do so regularly), so get a mentor and they will share their wealth of experience with you. Your business is a reflection of you so go all out and push your boundaries. After all, today’s small businesses are the foundations of tomorrow’s multi-national companies.
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