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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.