The same challenges of this year’s pandemic unfortunately still exist with the added pressure now of the rising costs of goods. Inflation has taken hold in many parts of the world especially in Northern America, and Europe and the shortage of goods are still felt in many areas.
There are new challenges now for the small business owner and new and existing entrepreneurs which arise it seems weekly. Here is a list of challenges that seem recent, and resolutions are difficult:
1. Finding employees or keeping them.
Most small businesses and entrepreneurs may have a small workforce that they now find they cannot keep in place. Many employees cannot find daycare and are forced to stay home, or they look for higher-paying jobs elsewhere as the costs of everything are rising. The small business owners and entrepreneurs though see their own costs rising and therefore cannot offer a better salary or more benefits, so employees are “jumping ship” on them and leaving. Small business owners then run the business single-handedly many times with no time off. Burnout is occurring rapidly among small business owners now. New entrepreneurs who were just starting are folding up rapidly and giving up.
2. Acquiring business loans and credit is becoming even more difficult.
Throughout the Pandemic, many small businesses and entrepreneurs experienced a drop in their revenue. Loans and credit, as well as mortgages, were always difficult for smaller businesses to acquire as they did not have assets enough for banks and lenders to take a chance on extending loans and credit to them. This problem now is exacerbated. Pre-Pandemic some small businesses were doing quite well, however, lenders base their decisions on the last two years of revenue, which as stated did drop for many.
3. Regulations on all small businesses and every entrepreneur have increased.
This is due to safety guidelines that must be followed in many countries and many areas that still include social distancing, masks, and sanitation procedures. It is quite a strain on the business owners and their employees who feel hampered and overwhelmed with added chores each day.
4. Lack of good communication is also now a factor for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Although remote work remains a source of meetings with employees and vendors, the remote aspect does not allow a business owner to “read” body language and it is hard to tell without body language if a presentation or sale is going well.
5. The sheer volume of competition now when advertising.
Especially advertising online, the number of individual businesses who have turned to the online world has made it a jungle of advertising. Small businesses and new entrepreneurs can find it difficult to get their emails opened, or their ads read, as the bigger established companies have more capital to invest in advertising.
6. If a small business or entrepreneur provides a service rather than a product, payments have become more difficult to collect.
With their own clients’ budgets stretched thin, it can be days, weeks, or even months before full payment is made on a service that is already provided. This has led many into the avenues of having to engage in “collection notices” and other practices to get the payments that are due them. Of course, collecting on any client is a no-win as generally then the client is lost to them, so monies are lost either way.
There are some solutions to all the above, but none are easy or appealing to small businesses or entrepreneurs. Many have reluctantly closed their doors until circumstances change but that means starting all over again when reopened. They have taken jobs as they do need an income that meets their bills and must provide a decent living.
Others have not closed their doors entirely but are engaging in side-hustles and gig work after business hours. This is a difficult balancing act, as over time this is very tiring to maintain. The truth is that these business owners are so overworked that their business suffers as does their personal lives.
There is opportunity however in this economic climate.
Like many big businesses, the best way to keep afloat now is to enter joint ventures with other businesses and entrepreneurs. Large companies have gone this route, and this does lead to not only more capital but new adventures and services to offer their clients. This opens doors that some business owners would not contemplate before and has increased their chances of success in the business landscape of today.