Small Business

What Challenges Keep Small Business Owners up at Night?

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What are small-to-midsized business owners worried about? And what are the things they should be worried about but may not be? Here are three common SMB owner concerns and how to resolve them.

Running a small business (and being your own boss) is a dream for many people, but it is not an undertaking for the faint of heart. While there are limitless opportunities that come with operating your own small business, there are just as many challenges and issues that must be considered to become successful.

In this economy, owning a business requires much more than just providing fantastic products and services. So what are some of the main worries that keep small business owners up at night?

Striking a balance

Key among any owner’s challenges is having the right foundation in place to launch and run a company from the ground up. This foundation requires meticulous management, from upkeep of operations and expenses to making sure your business is complying with industry-specific regulations.

Eventually, if your business plan is sound enough to see substantial growth, scaling it proportionally to keep up with demand is another consideration – there will be more advanced needs in all areas, such as administration systems, payroll and accounting software, marketing spend, and sales tools.

Overseeing all aspects of a business while leading a team is another delicate balancing act. Larger organizations have leadership in place to oversee areas like finance, operations and human resources. However, in the case of a small business, the owner is often the sole person in charge of all these decisions. Keeping track of priorities and finding the sweet spot of managing operations while staying on top of small logistical details is critical to keeping a business afloat.

The customer experience

Attracting and retaining customers is becoming increasingly difficult in this era in which consumers often have the option to select a better, faster or cheaper product. An online presence is a necessity at this point, meaning a mobile-first website that’s easy to navigate and intuitive to use is essential to being competitive.

In addition, having a social media presence will help customers find information on your company and provide feedback on what is working and what may need improvement. Providing customers with excellent, consistent service is a must, and extra care is necessary to retain them as consumer preferences are continuously changing.

Consumers are also more likely to positively associate with a company if they have a great experience, regardless of the product. To provide that experience, you need a clear strategy that focuses on who your customers are and recognizes what they are looking for.

A good way to do so is through simple communication: sending them an email newsletter or survey asking about their experience. Small businesses that anticipate the needs of their customers will earn high marks in satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately leading to increased revenue.

Building a strong team

Competition among small businesses is fierce, especially as new, innovative entrepreneurs enter the market daily. Differentiating your business is important not only when trying to gain more customers but also in finding and retaining the best talent for your company. Recruiting high-quality, hard-working employees is critical as turnover is costly to your business.

To attract the right team, it is essential to take their needs into account and give them the proper tools to feel engaged, productive, safe and supported. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and it should be a priority to stay up-to-date so that there are no unforeseen snags in your operations.

Small business owners are also tasked with keeping their employees safe and healthy through adequate health insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. Talented individuals are in high demand, especially with such high confidence in the current labor market, and they will seek out better working conditions and benefits if you don’t offer it to them.

Providing the best environment for employees will also give you a reputation as a sought after employer and help attract the best talent due to word of mouth. And though benefits are an aspect of your business that your customers will never see, they are crucial for employee morale, leading to better overall results.

These are a few of the issues small business owners must tackle to be successful. Navigating them will help you run your companies more effectively and, hopefully, sleep more soundly.

John Swigart

John Swigart is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Pie Insurance, a digitally native full-stack insurer serving small businesses. Currently, John is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Pie since its establishment in 2017, and he brings with him more than 20 years of experience in tech-enabled insurance and financial services businesses. John started his career in the Financial Institutions Group at A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm and worked at Swiss Re in their U.S. Reinsurance business and global Capital Partners divisions. Prior to founding Pie, John served on the Esurance executive team for 13 years where he initially led all the financial functions and then became the company’s first chief marketing officer. From there, John served as the chief marketing officer for RapidAdvance, a non-bank small business lender part of the Quicken Loans family. John is a member of the Sixup PBC’s board of directors and holds a B.A. in Economics from Haverford College.

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