Start-up and small businesses come upon a lot of pitfalls in their early stages. This is a normal part of development, and business owners have to make difficult decisions just to keep their businesses growing.
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Some of the hardest decisions revolve around finances – finding enough capital and operational funding – while others involve recruiting and retaining talented employees who are willing to work for a company that’s going through some teething at the outset of its growth.
However, you could ask any small business owner what’s holding them back and they might quote a variety of things from problems with government regulations to a lack of consumer confidence. While different hazards may affect businesses differently, there are some that can damage all equally:
- Going forward without a plan: Many business owners get caught up in the day-to-day running of their businesses and neglect to devote their time to strategy and process planning. Lacking farsightedness, a business’s cash flow problems and other economic uncertainties can intensify.
- Making the wrong impression: Start-up companies may be able to host client meetings in Starbucks at the outset, but there comes a time when they’ll need to sign a lease or take out a virtual office package. This is so that they can portray the right kind of image to customers and be in a central and accessible location to keep their operations ticking over.
- Lacking leadership: There is a difference between a manager and a leader, but that doesn’t mean a company can survive without competent people on board to take on roles in reception, administration, IT support and freelance. Whether these positions are outsourced or filled by recruitment, they’re essential to the company’s success and need to be managed properly.
- Sending too many error messages: Office equipment is expensive, but it costs more to have employees sitting on their hands without access to company servers or the internet. Virtual offices are one way to circumvent this cost as they provide office equipment and IT support including data recovery, keeping up-to-date with communications technologies without the need for permanent residence</a>. The opportunity to have a video conference with a client in a smart meeting room may provide worthwhile dividends.
- Running out of cash: You’d think this would be at the top of the list, and yet, according to a study by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), about 76 per cent of small businesses surveyed earlier this year said that they had plenty of funding through a mixture of credit card and commercial bank loans and “angel investors”. Even so, keeping overheads low and maintaining a clear stream of operational funding is essential for expansion.
Formulating a plan and getting the right people on board are two key ingredients in the development of a new business. There are, however, a number of other perils that small business owners need to watch out for on their path to success.