Owning and running a business is not for the fainthearted. It comes with ups and downs that can quickly dissuade you from venturing into business again. However, for those who stick it out and strive to find solutions to the challenges they face, business turns out to be a profitable endeavor. The advantages of a business greatly outweigh its challenges but to beat those challenges; you need to understand them.
We have prepared a detailed post with the most common challenges facing business owners in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario.
Small business owners experienced the largest decline in business activity when Covid-19 broke out. One of the reasons why most of them halted their business operations is the fact that the preventative measures put in place by WHO were too expensive to implement. Sanitizers and equipment for hand-washing are not cheap for a business owner who is barely making ends meet or just starting.
Some businesses have had to shut down because of the restrictions put in place by the government, and there is not much one can do in that regard. However, it is essential to be prepared in case of such unpredictable situations. Set aside some money for emergencies every time you make your budget. In case of a future pandemic or a situation that demands you be away from work for a certain period, you will have some funds to finance your needs.
Choosing What to Sell
Choosing the wrong products or services to offer might be the worst mistake you can make as a small business. Stocking up your place of business only to be stuck with your products is bound to frustrate you and your pockets. As such, you must do some research about your area and the market for your goods and services. Is there a ready market? How is the competition?
Gather all information you can find about your potential market and the businesses that offer similar commodities if any before you decide to go all in. You can even hire a freelancer to do some market research for you if you feel you are not up to the task. Once you have all the necessary information, analyze it thoroughly, and use it to make an informed decision.
No individual client should make up half of your income or more. That would mean that you are an independent contractor and not a business owner. You have to diversify your clientele for your business to grow. It is good to have a client who orders for your goods and services often and pays well, but it would be even better if you had more similar customers to boost your business.
Advertising on social media while targeting locals might help you reach a more significant market. You can also offer reasonable discounts and bonuses. Customers love these and will undoubtedly flock to your place of business to purchase.
Besides making a profit, a business needs to be able to pay its bills. That may seem like a lot of pressure, especially when you are just starting and have used all the capital to stock up. The thing is, you need to pay your bills to keep using the space you have rented for your business. If you don’t make your payments as you should, you’ll probably lose your business; thus, you need to find a solution.
While some business owners may choose to get a part-time job for extra income, the split focus is bound to take its toll on a growing business. However, if it is the only available option, you can stick it out and hope that the long-term reward will make it worthwhile.
When the business starts bringing in money, you must manage your money even better than before. You will need to handle business accounts and file taxes. Although one can easily do it by themselves, it is advisable to seek professional help if you don’t know how to go about it.
If your business isn’t giving you sleepless nights, then are you even trying? We know that businesses tend to be stressful. Running a business requires many hours of constant work and pressure, and although it is exciting, it will begin to drain your energy if you do not take caution. Fatigue will have you making decisions in the spur of the moment and can even cloud your judgement.
Whenever you feel like you are overworking yourself, slow down. Take time to breathe and unwind else you will not do any good for your business or yourself. Your business needs you sharp and focused despite the challenges you might be facing. If you have a business partner or employee, take a day off once in a while, your business will thank you for it.
Business management is a job that may very well demand more than 24 hours from your day. There are countless things you need to do and such little time to get it done. However, with proper planning, you may find yourself completing all your tasks and with time to spare. Here are a few tips to help you organize your time:
1) Create lists of long-term, monthly, weekly and daily goals. You can break them down into specific duties: this way, you can complete and check them off your list. That will give order to your tasks and help you accomplish more.
2) Eliminate tasks that are not directly or indirectly related to your goals.
3) Delegate those duties that can be completed by someone else.
4) Prioritize the most important tasks and schedule those that aren’t time-sensitive for later.
5) Avoid procrastination because your duties will pile up and end up overwhelming you.
Reviewing the resumes of job applicants, doing interviews, and determining who is a good fit and who isn’t is a daunting task. The secret is to create exclusive job vacancy advertisements instead of the regular vague posters that drag in anyone who wants a paying job. These exclusive posters are specific about the qualifications one needs to satisfy to apply and the job description. Your advertisement will target precisely the kind of applicants you need showing up for an interview,
Conduct your interviews like a professional by asking about their prior experience, expectations, and goals regarding the job. Do not take a bossy attitude with your prospective employees; instead, conduct yourself in a manner that communicates that you are looking for a partner to help you run your business and not a subordinate. This way, once you hire them, they will conduct their duties diligently because they feel that they are part of the business too.
Do not overlook the references provided by your applicants. Follow up on those contacts and enquire about their work ethic, willingness to learn, and overall demeanor. If they have been fired from a similar establishment before, find out why so you can avoid going down the same path.
Most business enterprises are tied to their owners, joined at the hip even. Starting as a sole proprietor is understandable and sometimes inevitable, but once your business is on its feet, you need to rethink your stance. You may fall sick, get involved in an accident or be held up by a family emergency and if your business relies wholly on you, it will have to be closed for the period that you will be away. Your business is your source of income, and if it is not making money, you will soon find yourself broke. Wouldn’t it be nice for you to continue making money even when you cannot be at your place of business?
Consider employing an assistant or two to help you keep the business running at all times. You can train and instruct them to meet your standards of leadership and decision making. However, you will need to be patient and kind if you want to train someone who will be reliable and beneficial to the business.
When things get tough, most people think of quitting instead of looking for a solution. Though it might be normal to feel that way, you started your business for a reason and backing out is hardly ever a solution. You might consider closing down entirely or even advertising your business for sale but are you sure you won’t regret it later?
Take your time to think your options through sometimes seeking another venture or even taking a break from things might be the best option for you. It would be wise to consider the pros and cons and even do some thorough soul searching. It is essential to take your time when making such an important decision so that you can be sure about it.
It is easy for one to give up or even consider putting up their business for sale, but we assure you that that is not the way to go. Opening and running a business in the Greater Toronto Area; Ontario can be advantageous when strategic decisions are implemented. All you need is proper planning and a focused mind to stay on top of things even when the situation is less than ideal. We sincerely hope that you find this information resourceful and helpful for your business.
Sarnail Singh, CCIM, MBA
Real Estate Broker