3 Common Growing Pains for Small Business
By Brad Smith
It’s a great to have a goal like starting your own business. The advantages of stepping out on your own include being your own boss, controlling your employment destiny and having access to an unlimited earnings potential.
However, owning a business also comes with plenty of challenges that require big sacrifices. No one hangs up a shingle, opens the door and starts raking in the cash. There are always dues that need to be paid.
It’s certainly possible you will put your heart in soul into starting your business only to watch it struggle and eventually fail. However, it is incumbent on you to become the king of your kingdom and do everything you can to make success the only possible option.
The most important thing any entrepreneur can do for themselves is to make sure they are ready to make the sacrifices necessary to give the business every opportunity to succeed. Among the sacrifices usually required are:
- Financial – It goes without saying there are financial risks and sacrifices required when starting a business. There are very few start-ups that don’t require some type of financial investment from the business owner. You might need to live on beans, bread and water while investing all your available capital into the business. If push comes to shove, you might even have to run up those credit cards in order to infuse much needed cash. Incurring personal debt to start a business is often part of the deal.
- Time – In the beginning and for the foreseeable future, you’re going to find yourself investing long hours pulling the pieces of the business together. It doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. However, there are thousands of little important decisions that need to be made during the planning stage up until the company generates its first sale. During the day, you are shaking hands and establishing business contacts with people and companies that maintain normal business hours. During the evenings, it planning, budgeting, marketing, accounting, hiring and product development issues demanding your attention. If you have a family, you would be advised to enlist their cooperation while you are MIA. The sacrifice is theirs as well.
- Physical, Emotional, Mental – Because of the time investment and escalating stress levels, there is going to be a physical, emotional and mental toll on your mind and body. The long hours might affect your sleeping and/or eating habits. The constant stress and drive towards success will keep your emotions heightened while the details keep you mind racing. There will be no part of you being left unaffected.
If you make these sacrifices, endure the growing pains and succeed, the potential rewards are unlimited and are more than just about the money. Financial security is certainly one of the most important rewards. However, there are some personal rewards that are just as important. The amazing sense of accomplishment you get from succeeding will light up your life. The knowledge your family has a secure future gives you peace of mind. Also, your status within the community will give you a strong sense of belonging. It’s these kinds of rewards that make the sacrifices seem so small in the end.
Common Growing Pains for Small Business
As alluded to above, there will be growing pain you have to endure. If you can accept the fact that growing pains are part of the business building process, you will give yourself the necessary perspective to avoid getting frustrated. Here are three common growing pains small business can anticipate.
Lack of Adequate Funding – Adequate capital resources are a crucial factor when starting a business and keeping it going, especially in the early years. Most businesses fail because they simply run out of money. Cash flow issues can become a major business distraction, causing you to lose focus on the businesses’ primary goals, generating sales and creating profits. The best way to keep this from happening is through the use of management tools such as a business plan, a budget and a cash flow projection. The objective of these reports is to identify when cash is going to be needed. If you are able to anticipate cash needs in advance, you have a higher probability of finding the necessary resources and being able to prevent business shutdowns or early issues with creditors. Most lenders will require these types of financial reports prior to approving loans.
Difficulty Establishing Company Roles – New business owners have a tendency to micro-manage and try to handle everything by themselves. If the business is small enough that you can’t afford to hire employees, it is understandable you will be handling every aspect of the business. However, over-worked business owners miss important details or get so mired down in running the business, they miss developing the business. It is highly recommended you consider hiring employees as soon as the business is able to absorb the costs, even if it is done on a temporary basis. Employees should be used to handle the mundane day to day tasks, freeing you up as the owner to deal with financial, marketing and business development issues.
Misuse of Technology – Many technological advancements were made to make your life easier as a business owner. It takes time to identify the right software/hardware combination for your business. You might want to start with smaller online software packages and allow your business to grow into the larger, more sophisticated packages down the road. The secret is to identify the right balance between the technology and the related costs. If you’re not a sophisticated technology user, this is one area you should consider tapping into outside resources is order to save time and make sure you find the technology that best meets your companies needs both short-tern and long-term.
In the final analysis, there will be many days that you question whether the sacrifice is worth it; only you can make that determination. However, if you start with a solid business idea and model, believe in the end game and persevere through the tough times there are few other experiences as rewarding as starting your own business.