November 26, 2012Is your small business growing as fast as you would like? Are you encountering problems in identifying new sources of revenue? Is it becoming more difficult to achieve your business goals? Successful small businesses continually look at the challenges they face and develop plans to address each of them. The key is to understand where to focus your attention.
Planning is at the top of the list in addressing the challenges you face. Plans that were developed years ago and have been successful may not be optimal to the current environment. Market conditions change quickly and your plan needs to be altered to account for these changes. This includes how you are attracting new customers and expanding the products and services you are selling to existing customers.
Cash flow is also a big challenge that small business owners face. For a growing business, it is crucial as cash constraints can be the biggest factor in limiting strategic growth. Every element of working capital should be understood and managed to maximize your free cash flow.
Solving problems that arise consumes management's attention. Having a process in place to identify, prioritize and resolve key issues and challenges will enable a more efficient means of addressing both anticipated and unanticipated problems. Instead of treating each problem as a one-time event, developing a system for managing them will make things easier for you.
Information technology also presents small business owners with a myriad of challenges. The effectiveness and efficiency of human resources, who rely on technology to do their jobs, can be impacted with technology that is old or doesn't work correctly. With the changing landscape of technology tools from simple desktop applications to complex cloud applications, keeping on the leading edge of technology is a challenge all small business owners need to make a priority.
Investing in training and teaching your employees new skills is also a big challenge as "time off" for training means that your employees are away from their day-to-day responsibilities. However, if the training is focused on teaching them new skills, processes and systems, the investment is worth it. It is also important that small business owners learn new things, and continue to take the time to develop themselves.
The economy, marketplace, consumers, and technology are all changing every day. It is not noticeable in the short term, but year after year the changes adds up. Welcoming this change, identifying how it affects your business, and responding to it is necessary for small businesses to remain relevant, compete, and win in the marketplace. This all starts by gaining a thorough understanding of the challenges you face, then doing something about it.
Dick Jones is the Founder & President of Simply Sales in Alpharetta, Ga. As a 4th generation sales professional, he has over 30 years of experience advising, coaching, consulting and working with small business owners. Office: 770-663-4681, web: www.simplysalesllc.com