Top 5 small business roadblocks and how to overcome them
If you’re dreaming of starting your own business and being your own boss, but feel you lack something to turn that dream into reality, this post is for you. We’ve put together some of the top roadblocks individuals face when setting out on their entrepreneurial journeys, and how to best overcome them.
1. I can’t afford to be my own boss
It’s no secret, starting a business can seem daunting. If you have a family that is relying on you for financial support, it compounds the anxiety of leaving a job with a steady paycheck, health insurance, and all the other benefits you may be getting, to start your own business.
Let the risk and benefit analysis begin! Of course you don’t want to jump into your own business blindly or irrationally. You need to weigh all the options and see when the best time for you to make your move is.
Grant money is available to many small businesses, so do your research and be sure to take advantage of grant opportunities that are applicable to you and your business. Grants, unlike loans, don’t need to be paid back, so having this money can alleviate some of the anxiety of funding your business endeavors.
Aside from grants, you can apply for small business loans or even crowdfunding – think Kickstarter and other similar sources of funding entrepreneurial ideas.
Before you can look for funding opportunities, you need to create your business plan. You will need a plan to show to potential lenders and investors. Take your time and really put the effort into this plan that it deserves. You’re writing this plan for future – for your dream business. Your plan should show that level of enthusiasm, belief in your ideas, and the commitment you have to follow through and make it happen.
Depending on how fast your business takes off, it could be several months – or longer - before you begin to see a bit of profit. Be sure you plan for this time without steady income. Figuring out your personal finances should be step one – seeing how much you need to get by each month is essential, after all, you still need a roof over your head and food on the table.
Once your business is profitable, be sure you’re paying yourself. By doing so, you show lenders and future lenders how confident your are in your business and the longevity of your business dream.
2. I have no experience in running a business
This is a big reason why so many back away from pursuing their dreams. You have a great idea, a spectacular product, or perhaps just an immense amount of knowledge in a particular area that other people may pay for. Whatever the goal of your business, you are confident in it and its success. However, you’ve never run your own business and have no idea what you’re doing.
Don’t let this notion hold you back. There are so many ways to become educated in this area and learn the ropes of owning a small business. Try these ideas:
- Take an online course in business management
- Visit a local community college to see what courses they may offer in managing a small business
- Filter out areas of the business that are very unfamiliar to you and research consultants you can partner with for those areas.
The internet is a vast repository of information. Begin with a simple search of ‘how to manage a small business’ and take it from there.
It’s important to know what you know, and identify what you don’t know. You may find as you go through this sort of exercise that you know more than you think. For those things you don’t know, start researching, get some insights and incorporate your plan for these areas in your business plan.
3. I have no idea where to get customers
You’ve built your business empire, now you await the customers. Seems a bit backward, right? Rather than building and then waiting, make a stir in the building process. If you’re opening a retail location, start advertising now. Include the prospective open date with a website where they can learn more about your business.
- Register with the local chamber of commerce and see what opportunities there may be for your business to sponsor community events – think sports teams, festivals, parades, etc.
- As you get closer to launch day, start posting about it on social media. Include QR codes on storefront ads allowing users to quickly access your website.
- Create a Google Business Profile where users searching for specific local businesses will be able to find you.
Customers are out there, and your marketing efforts will bring them to you. The more creative you are in your marketing, the better your results will be (in most cases). Advertising and marketing your small business are not areas where you want to cut corners. If marketing is not quite your thing, look for help -- there are plenty of marketing consultants ready to assist you!
4. I have issues with commitment
Running your own business is a full-time commitment. You make your own hours, of course, but your business will be on your mind 24/7. Before you set out on this undertaking, you need to consider what your goals for the business are and what it will take to reach those goals.
Creating your business plan will really help you identify the amount of time you’ll need to focus on the success of your small business. Aside from the actual business part, you’ll need time for accounting, human resources, marketing, supply ordering, etc. These things will typically fall outside the normal business hours. But again, this depends on what kind of business you have. If you’re a sole proprietor or consultant, you may find you’re spending the bulk of your time on the projects you’ve taken on. If you have employees to help you run your business smoothly – well, that opens up more areas of business management for you.
None of these things are impossible, however. There are tools and apps available for nearly every aspect of business management. Using these tools you can create processes that make it easier for you to focus on other things.
All that being said, you know you, so if you’re not the type of person who can see a project through, opening a small business may not be the best move for you. You can start out as a side hustle, while working and collecting a steady paycheck, and if your side hustle gets to a point where it’s bringing in more than your 9-5 job, or making it that you simply cannot handle the side hustle and another job,the time might be right to turn your side hustle into a small business.
Tune in to our podcast, Side Hustle to Small Business, to gain valuable advice and perspective from individuals just like you!
5. I don’t even know where to begin
Opening your own small business is not a ‘fake it till you make it’ type of venture. You don’t want to pretend you know what you’re doing as this will quickly spiral out of control and you’ll find yourself out of business.
There are resources available at your fingertips to help you be a success. The U.S. Small Business Administration has plenty to offer aspiring small business owners. Check out an SBDC (Small Business Development Center) in your area to get started.
Start with a business plan. Get that fleshed out and then review it and pencil in the things you can handle, the things you need help with. This will get you moving on your business and step-by-step you cross things off the to-do list and before you know it, you’ll be posting your ‘open for business’ sign!
Once you’ve got your business all set and ready to open, be sure you’ve picked a plan to safeguard your dreams. After all the time, effort, money, and work you’ve put into building your business – protect it with America’s leading small business insurer. Get a quote today and be prepared for the unexpected.