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July 17, 2017

Issues Facing Small Businesses

I decided to make a list of the challenges and issues that small business owners tell me about. Here it is:

Issue Category
I can’t get my staff to work the way I want This is a problem of people management and leadership
I can’t keep good staff This is a problem of people management and leadership
I have a “difficult” member of staff. What should I do? This is a problem of people management and leadership
I can’t get my customers to pay on time This is a problem of customer relationships
I don’t know how to deal with “difficult” customers This is a problem of customer relationships
I keep getting chased for payment by suppliers This is a problem of cashflow and supplier relationships
I can’t manage my cashflow This is a problem of cashflow
I don’t know how my business is doing This is a problem of management reporting
I want to get more business, but I don’t know how This is a problem of sales
I want to expand but I don’t know how to organise it all This is a problem of management
I want to take on staff but don’t know how This is a problem of management and employment
I can’t respond to customers as quickly as I would like, and it’s losing me business This is a problem of management
I can’t manage all the demands on me This is a problem of management
I have too much to do. I’m constantly chasing my tail This is a problem of management
I can’t manage my time effectively This is a problem of management
My work-life balance is a mess This is a problem of management
I don’t really know where I am going with the business This is a problem of leadership and management

It seems, then, that these 17 challenges and issues can be boiled down to eight areas of focus:
• People Management
• Leadership
• Management
• Customer relationships
• Supplier relationships
• Cashflow
• Management Reporting
• Sales

You could argue that “people management” and “management” are actually one category but I’ll leave them separate – people management is very important in its own right.

Small business success, therefore, hinges on getting eight areas of activity right!