Running a business can be satisfying, energizing, and all-around rewarding, but part of that satisfaction comes from the struggle. No one enters the business arena expecting an easy stroll to success. Alas, sometimes it feels like there are just slightly too many obstacles to overcome. In this day and age, businesses are chasing more challenges than ever before, and they’re seriously impacting their chances of success.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that, in the vast majority of cases, there are ways to overcome those challenges. In this post, we’ll look at some common business challenges and make recommendations on how to move past them.
It’s no secret that things have been getting more expensive over the past year. You only need to visit the supermarket to see that costs are rising. All businesses are facing rising costs, especially those that use raw materials, which have seen a significant increase in price recently. There’s not much you can do about the global situation that has led to those increases, but you can handle your response. Cutting unnecessary expenses and creating a financial pathway that will help to get costs under control should both help to mitigate the impact until things return to normal.
Businesses don’t take the decision to hire new staff lightly, especially small businesses. It’s a significant expense, after all, and the new employee will have an impact on the business in one way or another. Businesses are increasingly finding it difficult to find the right caliber of candidates they’re looking for, especially for skilled roles. If you’re struggling to attract quality candidates, then consider outsourcing the task to a recruitment agency. You’ll pay for it, but you can have confidence that they’ll find someone — and that the person they find is of the quality you need to push your business forward.
Maintaining Employee Motivation
Of course, it’s one thing to bring employees on board. It’s another thing to have them work at their full capacity. You could have the best team of staff in the world, but if they’re not motivated, then it’s unlikely that they’ll work at their highest level for any extended period of time. The best solution to this issue is to not take their motivation or performance for granted. It’s up to the business to put the right framework in place that pushes employees towards being their best. This can involve creating personal development plans for each employee, investing in their training, and ensuring they’re happy in their role (for example: they earn a good salary, have work/life balance, and so on).
Every business needs to market themselves to attract new customers, especially new businesses. But in many cases, it’s only when the business gets down to marketing that they realize that it involves a lot more than simply throwing out some marketing materials and waiting for customers to show up. To market effectively, you have to, first, get your voice heard above the competition, and then ensure that the message communicated to the consumer is something that entices them. Those things are not easy to do in an age when consumers are saturated by marketing. Unless you have specific experience in marketing, it’s nearly always best to hand the job over to a digital marketing agency — they’ll have the tools and know-how you need to get ahead.
Meeting Consumer Expectations
Businesses exist to serve their customers. While that’s a noble approach to take, it can be difficult in an age when consumer expectations change frequently. Technological advancements have raised consumer standards, and businesses that fall short on those fronts will be more likely to be left behind, even if their product is good. It’s a good idea to review your services from time to time and check that they’re in line with industry standards. Ultimately, if you give the standard of service that consumers expect, then they’ll have no reason to look elsewhere.
It’s no secret that severe weather is becoming more commonplace. And that has an impact that stretches beyond increasing the frequency with which you need to take your umbrella with you. In some areas, businesses are having to deal with an increasing number of blackouts that can severely impact their ability to function. In the best-case scenario, blackouts make it difficult to work. In the worst-case scenario, it can bring production to a standstill and result in heavy financial losses. Of course, there’s little you can do about the weather. But you can control how well you can respond to it. If your work premises are located in an area that is increasingly prone to blackouts, then consider adding a couple of industrial generators; they’ll ensure you can keep the lights on — and continue working — should the main grid go offline.
You’ll have known all about your competitors when you got your business underway. Indeed, it’s your understanding of the competition that probably brought some success in the first place, since you were able to make improvements on what they were doing. Now that you’re established, new competitors may be analyzing what you’re doing to give them their own competitive advantage. There’s no way to stop rivals from popping up; it’s just part of existing in the competitive business world. However, you can stop them from causing you too many issues. The way to do that is to continue making improvements to your business even when you don’t have new competition. If you can do that, then you’ll always be ahead of the curve, making it difficult for newcomers to get a slice of your pie.
How to Scale
Sometimes, a business is happy to just get by. At others, they want, or need, to grow. Scaling can be highly beneficial, but it’s no easy matter. Virtually every aspect of your business, including production, marketing, and staffing, will need to step up. When looking to scale, it’s important to focus on one specific aspect, rather than trying to do everything all at scale. You can step up your technological capabilities, or you can scale by being customer-focused, or product-focused. Every business will be different. Find out what’s important to you, and make that the priority.
Supply Chain Issues
Your business can’t thrive without reliable partners and suppliers. Alas, they’re increasingly difficult to find. Supply chain issues will impact your business, so it’s important to come up with contingency plans in case your current arrangements falter.
Most new businesses have the technological resources they need to be competitive, but older businesses can struggle. That’s because, in most cases, those operations try to fit in new tools when they become available, rather than having the IT system built-in from the ground up. The result is often a disjointed system that doesn’t quite do all that it should do. It’s imperative that businesses have modern, well-connected IT systems because those that don’t risk being left behind. If your business’ IT setup is stuck in the past, then it’s recommended to hire an IT consultant to engineer changes. There’ll be a financial investment, but it can help to bring your business into the modern age.
Businesses used to have to worry about criminals stealing their physical assets. But the emergence of CCTV and improved security measures means that, for most businesses, that’s no longer a real threat. However, there is another kind of threat to be aware of, and that’s cybercrime, which has become increasingly common in recent years. Cybercriminals tend to target small to medium-sized businesses rather than large corporations, so it’s important that you invest heavily in your cyber security. A single hack can be catastrophic for a business, resulting in financial losses, reduced customer trust, and even legal issues.
Business owners have a lot on their plate, especially in 2023 when conditions beyond their control have conspired to make running their business a lot more difficult than they’d like it to be. In the quest to improve their operations, many owners work more hours than they realistically should. While working twelve hours a day is fine on occasion, it should become standard. If it does, then the owner will be at risk of burnout — and that can severely impact the business’ success. It’s best to take a proactive approach towards minimizing the risk of burnout; you can do this by setting set working hours, hiring additional employees to take more off your plate, and engaging in relaxing activities (yoga, meditation, exercise) outside of the office.
As we said at the beginning of the article, it’s not easy running a business in this day and age. In fact, it’s never been easy during any day and age. But there are some unique challenges facing businesses these days. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that while sometimes the presence of an issue is beyond your control, there are things you can do that will help to mitigate the impact they can have on your operation.