With Halloween around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year to talk about scary small business scenarios. Let’s face it, running a small business can be terrifying. As a small business owner, you’re faced with scream-worthy challenges every day that can send you running for the nearest exit. These silent killers can be hiding in the shadows, putting everything you've worked for at risk. In celebration of the spookiest time of the year, we’ve compiled a frightful list of small business pitfalls and some tips on how to avoid them.
Fatal Error #1: Not investing in equipment and technology
Equipment repairs and software updates are unavoidable when you run a business; they can be expensive and yes, a bit of a pain to stay on top of. But if that equipment or technology is the cornerstone of your business, letting things slide can lead to trouble. It could be that state-of-the-art espresso machine you’ve been eyeing for your restaurant, or a fix to your website that will drastically improve client experience. Realize that if you’re aware of the issue, chances are your customers have noticed as well, and failure to invest can result in losing hard-earned clients, stunted growth, or worse.
Fatal Error #2: Not asking for help or taking advice
As a small business owner, you’re a jack-of-all-trades. You’re used to having to rely on yourself to do everything from accounting to operational management to marketing. But if we’ve learned anything from classic horror flicks, it’s that you never go it alone – stick to the group! In the case of your business, don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand. Leverage the countless resources available to you in your industry and community. Seek out financial resources such as grants and loans specifically tailored to small business needs. And finally, look for true mentors – and when they give you advice, listen to what they have to say.
Fatal Error #3: Lack of human capital
Human capital can be your greatest asset. Growing your team can increase your capacity and potential. We get it - hiring staff is a big commitment, and we’ve all heard HR horror stories over the years. But in today’s competitive landscape, stagnation can be even scarier. Hiring talent is a worthy gamble and a smart investment when you’re looking to grow or sustain your business.
Fatal Error #4: Lack of cash flow
Protect yourself and your business by ensuring there are sufficient resources available in the foreseeable future. Think of those zombie apocalypse flicks – stocking up on goods equates to survival when times get tough! Whether your business is facing a period of slowed growth or has a big order in the pipeline, make sure there is sufficient cash flow on hand to ride out the hard times and answer when opportunity knocks.
Fatal Error #5: Not enough competitive intelligence
There is nothing scarier than being in the dark and not knowing what’s lurking around the corner; this is true for both your favourite classic horror flicks as well as for running a business. Invest in competitive intelligence either by conducting your own market research or by acquiring existing data. Intelligence can better position you to serve your customers and face off against your top competitors. Operating without insights means you're betting it all on assumptions that may very well turn out to be dead wrong.