10 Biggest Challenges Every Small Business Struggles With (And How to Overcome Them)

Over time, the mode of entrepreneurship has dramatically changed. During the colonial rule of Great Britain in Nigeria, the colonial masters brought their goods and made Nigerians their middlemen. Later on, formal education was introduced and companies were established by the colonial masters. A lot of Nigerian citizens who embraced formal education were trained to join the labor force and employed by these companies, and as a result, the entrepreneurial mindset was killed and buried among Nigerians. Nowadays, Nigerians have seen the need for, and advantages of entrepreneurship in Nigeria, and a lot of people are trying to pave a path for themselves in the entrepreneurial world.

Starting a business takes a lot of hard work and courage. It is even more tasking in a developing country like Nigeria where so much infrastructure that enhances entrepreneurship is lacking. Despite the challenges, being an entrepreneur is worth it. The wealthiest people on planet earth are entrepreneurs. They saw a problem and decided to put their innovative reasoning to use and take the risk to create a solution for the benefit of mankind. Entrepreneurship in simple terms means setting up a structure, venture, or strategy with the aim of providing valuable solutions for the benefit of mankind, and making profits as a result.

A large percentage of Nigerians are very interested in entrepreneurship. It’s easy to see why. As an entrepreneur, you have full power over the nature of your work and life, including your working hours, your income, and your business goals. Numerous people think that they can’t handle being entrepreneurs. The truth is that being an entrepreneur is better than being an employee in many ways. Studies compare the happiness levels of entrepreneurs with those in the “9 to 5” world. Statistics show that entrepreneurs are usually more fulfilled and healthier than their corporate counterparts.

As beautiful as the idea of entrepreneurship sounds, it is not for everyone. Being an entrepreneur is hard. It takes a lot of courage, grit, and hard work. It often takes years of labor, long hours, with no recognition to become successful. The greatest entrepreneurs are resilient and thick-skinned. A lot of entrepreneurs give up and quit along the line. Statistics show that over 50% of small businesses fail after five years in the United States. The advancement of entrepreneurship has been hampered in the past years. Every Nigerian entrepreneur encounters a lot of challenges. Here, we highlight 10 challenges every small business struggles with, and how to overcome them.

Finding Customers

Customers are the life of any business. Without customers, your business is as good as inexistent because your business is obviously meant to serve people, not trees. Finding the right market for your products and services is one challenge every small business encounters at one point or another. It can be a lot frustrating when efforts are put into manufacturing products and organizing services, without getting customers. It amounts to a waste of time, effort, and resources. With the internet and technology at our disposal, the online space can be maximized and the problem of finding customers can be eradicated.

Solution:

1. Ask for referrals: Ask for referrals from your friends and family. Everybody you know knows someone that needs your business. Talk about your business every time, if possible. You never can tell, the person standing right beside you might need your products and services.

2. Network. Network with other business owners and professionals and build healthy and sustainable business relationships. If they’re not competition, they could have clients who need your products and services. Attend events that are relevant to your business and industry. Develop the habit of asking, “How can I help others?” rather than “What’s in it for me?”

3. You need an online presence. An online presence helps your business to reach a wide range of audiences. Develop a website for your business. Create accounts and profiles on social media platforms to give your business visibility by applying the necessary skills needed in social media management.

4. Use online reviews to your advantage. Ask for feedback and reviews from your clients. It not only helps you to serve your customers better, but it also serves as social proof to your potential customers. Set up Google reviews for your business and link them to your business website.

Retaining Customers

Now, getting customers is not enough in itself. Retaining customers and building sustainable relationships with them produces more results for any business. You want your customers to trust you with providing that particular product or service you’re offering. You want them to keep coming back, and choose your business over every other. “How can I get my customers to keep patronizing my business?” Read on.

Solution:

1. Pay attention to excellent delivery and quality customer service. Nobody ignores excellence. Everyone loves exceptional and excellent things. Excellence simply means, putting in your best-doing it as well as you can. Delivering excellent services does not have to cost a lot. All you need is to pay attention to the important details. Ensure also to take note of your customers’ complaints and make corrections and amendments where necessary.

2. Stay in touch with your customers and build sustainable business relationships. You can stay in touch with your customers by sending periodic messages, celebrating them on their birthdays, creating valuable content for them via social media, making use of emails, and so on.

3. Offer special discounts for new customers and there’s a high chance that they’ll patronize your business again. Everyone loves discounts! It shows new customers that you value and appreciate their patronage. Your attitude matters too. How you treat them, regardless of how excellent your services are, also contributed to their continued patronage.

Legal Challenges

Legal challenges are issues that may arise from breaching the law. A lot of entrepreneurs do not consider this aspect of their business sometimes, because of ignorance or a nonchalant attitude. Legal challenges can have irredeemable negative impacts on a business.

Solution

1. Do what is expected of you; register your business, create a standard contract, understand your tax obligations, craft and understand your terms of use and privacy policies, etc.

2. Employ the services of a legal practitioner to offer professional services.

Handling Competition

Competition is healthy for your business. It keeps you on your toes and forces you to think creatively. That’s exciting! Handling competition however requires a lot of strategies. If not properly handled, stronger competitors can completely wipe out your business. Nobody wants that. Here are some tips we suggest to effectively handle the competition.

Solution:

1. Study your major competitors. Know their strengths and weaknesses. You can also tweak and implement some of their strategies to suit your business.

2. Explore partnership opportunities. Partnership with stronger businesses can help small businesses weather competition.

3. Highlight, clarify and amplify what makes you stand out from every other competing business. In this way, you attract customers who appreciate your core value.

Burnout

There are a ton of things that must be put in place for a business venture to run smoothly and efficiently. There are also a lot of repetitive tasks that cannot be neglected. From social media management, attending to emails, making deliveries, etc. Trying to do it all will result in burnout. It may have serious consequences on the business, your health, and your relationships.

Solution:

Employ a virtual assistant and employ the right talent to handle specific tasks professionally so that you can focus on more important administrative tasks.

Scaling or Expanding the Business

Expansion is a sign of growth. Expanding a business is the dream of every business owner. However, it can be very challenging because expansion means more workload. You’ll need to make financial commitments, put in more work, and maybe hire more people. Expanding your business is not something you should rush into. It can be harmful to expand at the wrong time when you’re not ready. Take your time.

Solutions:

1. Make detailed and effective plans

2. Seek help and advice where necessary. Gather as much information as you can.

Money management

Financial illiteracy and mismanagement of funds are common reasons for small business fold-ups.

Solution:

1. Get enough knowledge about managing your business finances. You might need to employ the services of a financial counselor.

2. Be disciplined.

Finding and Building the Right Team

As important as it is to employ others to do the work, it is more important to find the right people. When you have the right people on your team, with the right attitude to work, good word ethic, and skills, the work is less stressful, more fulfilling, and enjoyable.

Solution:

1. Understand and clarify the kind of people you need on your team.

2. Be patient and keep searching. The right people will come.

Quality Leadership

Without quality leadership, even the best team may not function as expected. To build a strong, loyal, and formidable team, quality leadership is necessary.

Solutions:

Hone your leadership skills by attending seminars, reading books, listening to audio tapes, etc. Personal development is key.

Lack of Skills and Experience

A man who does not know, does not know that he does not know what he does not know. Read that again. You have to keep learning. The difference between a successful man and his opposite is what they know. The more you learn, the more you see that there’s a lot you don’t know. Learn important skills like communication skills, emotional intelligence, etc. Having mentors who have gone ahead is an added advantage as an entrepreneur. They guide and help you to make informed decisions as well as evade the mistakes they have already made in your stead.

Solution:

1. Stay hungry for knowledge. Read books and attend valuable seminars. Invest your time and money into your personal development and skillset.

2. Carefully choose a mentor in your industry.

3. Connect with like-minded people to stay updated on new trends, discoveries, and innovations.

Also, don’t forget to take it one step at a time. Good luck!


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