You finally realized your dream of owning your own business. And now you realize that it’s not all candy and unicorns. You knew it would be hard work. That you expected. But maybe you didn’t realize all the day to day craziness of running your own business. All the decision making that goes into it. And all of the balancing acts performed on a daily basis.
Every small business faces challenges. Some large. Some not so large. In my humble opinion, as a small business owner, there are no small challenges. Every decision impacts another part of your business. Here are some that I’ve dealt with and think are worth mentioning.
A situation that I often hear of is a business owner getting completely stressed out because their one huge client is unhappy about something. Let’s say that client comprises 50% of their income. As a small business owner, this happens more often than not. We all have that one client that has either been with us since the beginning, so they’ve grown with us, or we have a client that we’ve become so good at catering too, that we begin to rely on their business for our company to exist.
To avoid this dependence, you must always be aware of your client base. How many clients make up the majority of your business or income? If your largest client was to leave you today, how hard would you be hit? Could you still survive? When was the last time you went out and recruited new clients?
While it’s nice to be so needed, you must always have a solid and broad client base. Becoming so dependent on one, or even two clients can be very stressful and unhealthy for both your business and you.
(Big. Heavy. Sigh.) Even thinking about the finances can just wear a person out. And it becomes even more stressful if you have employees depending on you for their livelihood. When we talk about finances for a small business owner, you instinctively think of the finances for your business. But what about your personal finances? Are you taking a salary yet or still working for free?
Many small business owners start their business while they are still working another job. This is stressful and difficult, but so very worth it in the end. Making that leap from having someone else paying you, to paying yourself is scary. Add in the complexity of the tax laws and accounting requirements and you can become quickly overwhelmed.
Don’t be afraid to hire an accountant and maybe a consultant. A good accountant will become a valuable asset to your company. They’ll be able to help you decide when and how to expand, and they’ll be able to make sure you start receiving a paycheck. Yes, it’s one more expense, but a good accountant is well worth it.
A reliable consultant can make sure you are always moving in the right direction to grow your business and grow your clientele.
I’m Worn Out
We, the business owners of America, get it. We’re worn out too. Running a business can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. To be a small business owner, you must have a passion for what you are doing. And yes, you must find a balance. Find a rhythm that works for you, your family, and your business. It’s so easy to spend 24/7 at your business or working on your business.
Turn your phone off after a certain hour in the evening. Charge your phone in another location from where you relax. Leave the laptop at work. Don’t get to the point where you are so worn out that you begin to make rash decisions. At that point, no one is benefitting. I know it’s hard to step away, especially in the beginning, but I promise, this is an important challenge to conquer.
This is a tough one. Your business is your baby. NO ONE will take care of it as well as you can and do. Think about this though. Do you want your business to outlive you? If the answer to this is yes, then you must learn to delegate. If there is no one at your company, that you trust to make decisions and care about your business as much as you do, then you need to hire someone that does. Immediately. And teach them to take over. It doesn’t mean they will take over, but you need to be able to trust someone to do so. Once you have another person that will treat your baby as you do, the freedom is indescribable.
If the answer to that question is no, then keep doing what you’re doing. LOL. If you got hit by a bus tomorrow, what would happen to your baby? Would it still live? Or would it dissolve?
Quantity vs. Quality
The age old question. Growing a business is tough. And, let’s face it, growth can be painful. You’re stretching your resources to their max, both human and financial, and you’re weaning some of your more dependent client base. You want the growth, but at the same time you don’t want to sacrifice any of the quality.
This is where having another person that can take care of your baby really comes in handy. Letting them deal with the day to day, and having them maintain the quality care your clients have come to expect and deserve, allows you to go out and focus on growing your business.
Owning your own business is so rewarding. But yes, there are challenges as well. Being prepared for those challenges is half the battle. I’m hopeful that having read this list, you are now looking at your business a little differently. We’ll always be emotionally attached to our companies. That’s OK. But once you start looking at your company as a business and not your baby, that’s when you’re ready for the big time!!! And in the meantime, don’t be afraid to ask for help.