Small Business Owners Face Unique Challenges

Every new business owner face challenges, but those who choose to found and operate smaller enterprises tend to face not only a greater number of problems but some which are relatively unique. At the center of the small company conundrum, there are two common dilemmas: the availability of capital and the need to build a brand name or reputation. For the vast majority of entrepreneurs, those two barriers consume most of their time, money, and effort. 

But every industry segment comes with its own set of operating hurdles. Whether you choose to start an e-commerce store, small transport fleet, tax service, salon, brokerage, IT firm, employment agency, film production company, lead generation business, or fitness training enterprise, expect to face one or more core challenges. The following are prime examples of what to expect in a number of different commercial niches. 

E-Commerce Store

E-commerce entrepreneurs face intense competition across the board because working adults choose to run stores on a part-time or full-time basis from their homes. But for founders who can come up with a unique product or service idea and promote it accordingly, the profit potential is unlimited. The workable solution for hard-working owners is to specialize, spend time building a brand image, and be patient in waiting up to a year before turning a profit. 

Transport Fleet

The main challenges for new transport companies include logistics, fuel management, and vehicle tracking. Fortunately, there are various systems and retail digital programs that can deal with most or all of those issues. There are numerous GPS benefits for small businesses that are concerned about keeping tabs on every vehicle they own 24/7. For new entrepreneurs who operate very small fleets, having fewer trucks does not mean fewer problems. 

Overseeing even a few trucks can be a time-consuming, complex task. Keep in mind that the standard definition of a small transport firm is one that uses fewer than 100 trucks at any given time. It’s imperative for owners and managers of smaller firms to learn the ins and outs of GPS tracking and find out how it can make daily operations less complicated and more profitable. 

Tax Accountancy Firms

challenges

For independent tax accountants, or those looking to start an accounting firm consisting of a dozen or so professionals, the three major obstacles to long-term success are advertising expenses, finding the right combination of software products, and building a solid reputation among retail and commercial clients. After an initial burst of spending and data setup, most taxation accountants devote about 50% of their time and effort to marketing. Other than that, the actual work of filing tax returns for customers can seem like a break in the non-stop promotional action. 

Personal Services

The personal services sector has grown significantly in the past decade. More consumers are discovering the long-term health and wellness benefits of things like regular massages, facials, hypnotherapy, whirlpool baths, and more. The general public acceptance of various alternative forms of wellness accounts for the majority of industry growth. Most metro areas are witnessing more service providers who do hair styling, manicures, therapeutic massage, tattoo services, esthetics, and hair removal. 

For owners, the pursuit of profits is focused on marketing, which means getting traffic into the store. It’s also a legal necessity for owners and employees to have the right kinds of licenses and certifications to do the work. Massage therapists must attend in-person classes for at least 1,000 hours before they can legally practice. The same is true for estheticians, hair stylists, tattoo artists, and others. 

Website Creation

Having the right set of skills and an impressive portfolio are the two barriers to entry in the website development and creation industry. Fortunately, most owners can bootstrap a small operation by selling their skills on various online platforms to bring in some initial revenue. From there, the focus should be on landing one or two ongoing commercial clients. There’s always a need for advertising, but word-of-mouth in the website creation niche can serve new owners well and help to bring in additional corporate customers year after year. 

Employment Services

Owners of employment firms and job hunting services help find and train great employees and they need not be licensed, but there are several industry certifications that have the potential to bring in more customers. The required hours of classroom time come with a high price tag in some cases, and entrepreneurs need to stay up-to-date on market trends. Again, promotion and advertising account for the majority of initial expenses and there’s a unique challenge in the fact that few customers ever come back. Once they find good paying jobs, they seldom need your help in the future. 

Sales Lead Generation

In the digital age, companies that sell goods and services can outsource their advertising and marketing chores. That’s where lead generators come into the picture. These firms earn their profits by bringing potential customers, called leads, to businesses of all kinds. To succeed as a lead-gen entrepreneur, you’ll need solid sales skills but also the ability to advertise and promote in all online channels, including search engines, blogs, podcasts, and social media platforms. 

Film Production 

Indie film production has been one of the fastest-growing segments of the entertainment industry in the past two decades. With the advent of high-tech cameral and sound equipment, just about anyone with the requisite skills can bootstrap a company and market their own documentaries, investigative videos, dramas, and more. But the niche comes with a few of its own barriers to entry, some of which are money-related. Staff salaries, marketing expenses, and rental fees for studios or specialty equipment can create stiff financial barriers. 

The initial investment to start a company is not so high, but to actually create the first filmed product can be quite costly. That’s because there’s a huge difference between owning a production business and operating one. Even a 60-minute documentary calls for investments in equipment, people, rental space, permits, and other routine costs of creation. Founders also need to have the skills to develop final products that can compete against other companies’ output. 

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Struggling With Customer Acquisition? Follow These 4 Tips!

customer-acquisition

To build a successful business, you need customers. You need lots of them if you are going to achieve the growth you desire. Unfortunately, many companies struggle with customer acquisition. That is why you need a strategy that will bring in a steady stream of clients and offer a better customer experience but won’t bankrupt you.

There are many ways to acquire customers for your business and the most common way is through marketing and advertising. Follow these four tips to attract customers and grow your business in the long run.

Run Google ads

Google ads can be great for customer acquisition. By targeting potential customers with relevant ads, you can reach a larger audience and increase your chances of making a sale.

Also, Google ads can help target specific demographics and locations. By doing so, you can ensure that your ads reach the right people and that you’re not wasting your time and money on ads that no one will see.

By working with a Google advertising agency, you can create targeted ad campaigns that reach your ideal customers. With a well-planned and executed campaign, you will see a significant increase in website traffic and sales.

Here are some other benefits of Google ads for your business:

  • You can target ads to people based on what they’ve searched for on Google, where they are located, and what type of device they are using.
  • With Google Ads, you only pay when somebody clicks on your ad, which means you are paying for results.
  • You can track the performance of your Google Ads campaigns using detailed analytics, so you can see what is and isn’t working and make necessary changes to improve your campaigns.
  • Google Ads campaigns can be quickly set up and are relatively easy to use.

Work on customer experience

customer-acquisition

Acquiring new customers is essential for businesses to grow, but it’s only part of the equation. Once you gain a new customer, it’s crucial to work on retaining them and providing a positive experience that will keep them coming back. Retaining customers is where customer experience comes in.

Creating a great customer experience should be a top priority for any business, as it can help to increase customer loyalty and repeat business. 

Here are some of the benefits of working on customer experience:

  • Happy customers
  • Repeat business
  • Referrals
  • Increased sales
  • Improved brand reputation
  • Positive social media feedback
  • Lower support costs

You should consider using a proven customer experience platform that helps organizations design and deliver great customer experiences. With such a platform, businesses can collect customer feedback, understand customer needs and pain points, and design and implement customer experience improvements.

A reliable platform of this kind also provides tools to measure and track customer experience progress over time. Moreover, organizations can use it to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

Use creative marketing

Businesses need to get creative with marketing to attract more customers. Creative marketing involves using more modern and interactive marketing techniques, such as social media marketing, video marketing, and content marketing. Additionally, businesses should focus on creating a brand that customers can connect with and trust.

With creative marketing, businesses can reach a wider audience and ultimately increase their customer base. One of the most effective ways to market your brand to customers is through social media content. By creating engaging and intriguing content, you can reach many people and get them interested in your product or service. 

When creating your content remember to keep it short and sweet, avoid overusing industry-specific jargon, and come up with headlines that pack a punch. Moreover, make sure to use strong visuals and customer testimonials.

However, it’s important to remember that not all social media platforms are the same. You should tailor your content to each platform to get the most out of it. For example, images and videos tend to do well on Instagram, while lengthier pieces of content perform better on Facebook.

Give discounts

Businesses often offer discounts for customer acquisition. Discounts are a great way to entice new customers to try a product or service. By presenting a discount, companies can show new customers that they are interested in their business. Additionally, discounts can help to build brand loyalty, as customers are more likely to return to a company that offers them a discount.

Here are some of the ways you can offer a discount to your customers: Offer a flat discount on all products; give a percentage off select items; bundle products together and offer a discounted price; offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount; give a discount to customers who refer a friend.

By offering a discount, businesses can entice customers who may not have considered purchasing. Additionally, they can help companies move inventory sitting on shelves and generate buzz and excitement around a product or service.

Final words on Customer Acquisition

In conclusion, the best way to acquire new customers is to focus on providing them with value. Value can be in the form of helpful content, a great product, or outstanding customer service. 

Whatever it is that you do, make sure that you’re doing it with the customer in mind. By providing value, you’ll be more likely to attract new customers who will stay with you for the long haul.

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How to Preserve Employee Safety in Your Business

employee safety

Employee health and safety is a serious concern, from both a legal and ethical standpoint. Health and safety legislation has come a long way since its first real introduction to UK law in the 1970s – but for many starting out their own new business venture, the essential routes to ensuring staff safety are ill-defined. How can you ensure your staff remains safe in the workplace?

Risk Assessments

Employee safety and health measures are underpinned by the risk assessment, which seeks to comprehensively identify and engage with the various risks and hazards presented by a given workplace or site. A risk assessment not only recognizes a given risk, but identifies manners in which it can be reduced and grants responsibility for these measures to an individual – establishing accountability.

PPE

employee safety

Hand-in-hand with recognising the various risks present in your workplace is the provision of equipment to protect against them. Where a safety officer has recognised the serious risk of hearing damage from loud or sustained volume of tools or industrial equipment, hearing protection in the form of ear defenders or plugs must be supplied. Likewise, crush risks from heavy or falling objects should be met with hard hats and steel toe-capped boots.

This is not just an ethical or morale-based standpoint. Health and safety legislation is unequivocal on a business’ health and safety responsibilities to its staff, with the provision of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) a legal requirement.

Signage and Procedure

But PPE is regarded as a ‘last resort’ in terms of workplace health and safety. It is often the last barrier between a potential hazard and a member of staff; more effective forms of health and safety intervention occur earlier in the chain, mitigating exposure to risk or even eliminating risk altogether.

These kinds of interventions can be achieved in a number of ways. Signage is the most obvious way in which hazards are outlined and risks mitigated; with proper signage, workers and visitors can understand any present dangers, and take steps to avoid them. The robust procedure, enshrined by company policy, is key to aligning staff on the importance of safety.

Training

The above provisions are absolutely crucial to promoting a safe working environment for your employees. However, their impact can be negligible if not shored up with arguably the most important piece of the puzzle: training.

Without a comprehensive approach to staff training, not all employees will have the same understanding of your business’ safety expectations. On a simple level, if an employee has not been trained in the proper use of certain apparatus, the likelihood that they will injure themselves with it is heightened. This extends to the wearing of PPE, and the following of strict health and safety procedures.

By regularly and repeatedly training staff members in the correct conduct and practice from a health and safety standpoint, you can ensure all employees are upskilled to the same level. Employees will be on the same page, and no one weak link can inadvertently cause a preventable incident.