Starting a business is an exciting opportunity. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of someone paying you for something you are providing to them. Earning a profit allows you to set the goals for your life, create a business you are proud of, and enables you to work towards achieving your dreams.
That does not mean it’s easy. It is difficult to start a business for multiple reasons. You need to understand the financial and legal implications of doing so going into this process. You also need to consider what you’ll do to stand out from the competition, which can otherwise limit your success overall. The bottom line here is that there are a lot of obstacles to overcome as you work towards building your company.
Does the good outweigh the struggle? The secret to success for any new business is looking for innovative solutions to the challenges you are facing. If you are in the process of starting a business and struggling with any of the following common main challenges, you’ll appreciate these strategies for fixing the problem.
Finding employees – the right employees, that is – can be a challenge for most companies. No one will have the same level of passion for your business as you do. It can also be hard to navigate the overall hiring process. Here’s what to do:
- Start with knowing the rules. Read through these documents at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They are the most important resources for ensuring you don’t make any missteps.
- Read the major rules and laws related to hiring in the country at the U.S. Department of Labor website.
- Look to local nonprofit organizations for help finding employees for labor- and skill-based positions.
- You should also be able to get help through your local Business Development organization (at the state or local level).
Developing the Business Idea and Lacking a Plan
The next challenge to overcome revolves around this one – how do you develop a business idea that is unique enough and worthy of launching into a business? If you have an idea but are unsure of how to pull it off, take the time to develop a plan for your business. With a plan, you can organize your thoughts and goals and start working through the challenges.
There are a lot of resources online to help you to flesh out ideas. A good starting point is as simple as Google. Looking at the competition can help you find areas of weakness in the services they offer. It may also give you an opportunity to define your game plan.
Developing a business plan can help you to really define your business. A business plan allows you to create a game plan – what will you offer, how much you will charge, and how you will manage and market your company? One of the best resources for this is the Small Business Administration (SBA). Use their tutorials and guides – free of charge – to help you get your company started.
With a plan in hand, you can begin to formulate your business. That’s when many people find themselves stuck – where will they get the money they need to start their business? This can be a very challenging situation in itself. There are a few things to do here.
- Define how much funding you think you will need to launch your business, purchase inventory, and market. You may also want to cover revenue for some time until you get set up.
- You could use self-funding, like your personal savings, to help you set up your business. This is the least expensive way, but not always an option.
- Consider venture capital from investors. Look for local investors who may be willing to work with you and help you build a strong business.
- Consider crowdfunding, which allows a larger group of people to help you to build the financial foundation for your business without giving away any ownership or control in your company.
- Look for local and state-available funds like grants that may be available to help you build your business.
There are many times when a small business loan is the right decision for you. Explore the options available to you at the U.S. Small Business Administration. This is an excellent resource for finding available lenders that may be able to help you. The SBA has a Lender Match tool that may be exactly what you need to find local companies.
You can always turn to a local credit union or bank you already have a relationship with or consider looking for specialized investors.
One of the key opportunities for many small business owners is to use an SBA-backed loan. There are numerous types available, including 504 Loans, 7(a) loans, and microloans. While these loans are not the only option for you, they tend to have lower rates and fees associated with them because they are guaranteed loans backed by the SBA. That ultimately means that you could borrow money for less. These loans also tend to have lower down payment requirements and more flexible borrowing terms.
Attracting Customers and Customer Retention
The next common challenge for businesses is getting customers. Building your business means developing a product or service that customers want and are willing to pay for and then pricing it so that you are covering your costs and earning a profit. The best first step, then, is to understand who your customers are.
Define your target customer. This is the person most likely to make a purchase from you. Consider factors such as demographics. To help you define who this is. This is the first step in any successful marketing campaign.
Your next step is to create a marketing plan. This plan will help you to research and develop a strategy for reaching those clients. Outline exactly what makes your business unique from the competition. That’s your advantage. You will then want to consider the tools you need to manage this process.
Here are some components of a successful marketing plan:
- Create a website. Be sure it offers great photos and an easy-to-understand layout. Also, ensure it is mobile-friendly.
- Build social media pages for your business and create a strategy to guide you. Ensure people can find you and interact with your company.
- Create a logo – you need to be able to create a way for people to recognize your business over others. A logo is an easy tool for recognition.
- Work to build a digital marketing strategy. This will include using SEO that allows Google to help recognize your business.
- Do community outreach. Attend events, sponsor organizations, and do local marketing through TV, radio, or simply being a part of the community’s activities.
Once you do this, you’ll want to put in place a plan for retaining your customers long-term. An email marketing campaign is a good way to do this. SMS campaigns can work, too. In short, you’ll get permission to send a person messages through email or text about your business. Engage on social media, too.
One of the hardest parts of building a successful business is not putting everything into it. That is, if you do not incorporate some good time management skills and let your startup take over your life, you will become overwhelmed and more likely to give up. Time management isn’t easy for those who are poised and anxious to start building something successful. Consider these tips:
- Take time off. At least once a week, step away from anything startup related and focus on your family, interests, and passions. Give your brain a break.
- Don’t be consumed by your startup plans all day long. Limit yourself to working on your business to a set few hours a day.
- Maintain a good work-life balance by taking care of your physical and emotional health. Create a to-do list the day before, and then don’t stress out beyond this.
Building Your Business Can Be Worthwhile
There’s little doubt that building a business can be a very stressful process. There are a lot of balls to juggle throughout it. Yet, the rewards can be there, and there are solutions to just about any challenge you are facing. Think outside the box. Be creative in finding solutions. Most importantly, spend your time consistently learning. That will give you the tools you need to master your business and manage your life in the process.