The Biggest Challenges Facing Small Businesses This Summer

There’s no denying that it has been a tough couple of years for businesses around the world. It’s true regardless of the industry that you work in or the size of your company. But things have been especially tricky for small businesses. There will have been a lot of getting to the end of the month instead of looking ahead to building something more unless you had a vast amount of savings to fall back on. There have been some reasons to be cheerful in spite of the tidal wave of stress. It feels like positive steps are being made even as the cost of living crisis continues to bite in places like the UK.

It’s so important not to lose sight of the challenges that are still out there if you’re thinking of taking steps forward. It might not be the most exciting thing to go through the potential risks when you’re brainstorming the next big leap for your business, but everyone has learned a lot about the importance of having a backup plan.

It’s Tough To Find The Best People

Skills shortages have been in the headlines a lot in the last couple of years Even if these stories aren’t in your industry, it probably won’t have escaped your attention that it’s incredibly difficult to find that perfect job candidate. Is this a new problem? Maybe not, but it’s going to be something that you’ll have to deal with if you’re looking at expanding your business. To start with, make sure that you know exactly what you’re looking for. It’s always great when an interviewee surprises you with a quality that you didn’t know you needed, but if you want to make sure that they can do the job you need then you need to have a clear person specification mapped out.

It’s Tough To Keep The Best People

You’ll probably have seen the stories about the “Great Resignation” last year when huge numbers of people decided that they were no longer happy in their jobs. You’ll probably have seen the stories about “quiet quitting” too, which essentially amounted to the same thing. There are a lot of different factors that contributed to these two movements. It’s also hard to know how widespread they really were. However, the fact is that it can be tough to keep your good employees. You need to think about how you can boost your retention rates. Remember that they may be looking for signs that they can progress in your business, so think about how you can offer extra training. Is it practical to suggest that they shadow people? Or would it make more sense to pay for online courses? You need to look for ways to show them that they are appreciated. Help them to see that their contributions to your business are not going unnoticed.

The Competition Is Ferocious

It’s always going to be the case that small businesses are fighting it out with companies that have a lot more resources than they do. You may not have bottomless pockets to help you spend your way out of any problem. You may not have a team big enough to ensure that someone can give any one problem their undivided attention at any one time. However, the good news is that you have your expertise, and you have your experience. You need to think about ways that you can work smarter, which basically means getting more work done in less time. Think about the tasks that end up eating into your day that could be solved by simple software fixes. For example, say you need to sort out sending a portfolio across to a client, or that you need to send a contract to a contractor who’s working remotely. If you’re not confident with PDFs, these simple tasks can become a major hassle. So, it makes sense to find a company that can help you to convert or manipulate PDFs and take that headache away from you. PDFtools offers industry-leading software and they’re easy to use. Get in touch with their team to talk about your specific business needs.

It’s Tough To Stand Out From The Crowd

Following on from the point above, it’s not always going to be practical to put together a massive advertising campaign. Big companies can throw money at marketing and see what sticks. Smaller businesses need to work a lot smarter to ensure that their time, energy, and budget pay off. You can start by working on your website. Remember that Google cares most about how good your content is. They are less interested in how many keywords you can cram into an article. If you don’t want your content to run into their spam filters, you need to keep an eye on their latest updates. Expertly written, relevant content can give you an organic boost in the search rankings and you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money to get it. You should also think about your approach to your social media channels. If you’ve got a Twitter account that only posts Monday motivation and the occasional sales link, it’s time for a lot more personality. Remember that people want to see that the brands they are dealing with care about them and are invested in the same things that they are.

Burnout Is Not Going Anywhere

Burnout is a word that’s been thrown around so often over the last couple of years that it’s in danger of losing all of its meaning. It’s good that people have become a lot more comfortable talking about their mental health, but it’s all too easy for businesses to make well-meaning noises about the importance of a good work-life balance without actually addressing it. Burnout has certainly been one of the major forces behind the quiet quitting and great resignation movements that were mentioned earlier. Make sure that your employees know that you are there to help if you can and think about adding mental health support benefits to your health program. Encourage your staff to sign in and sign out at the same time every day and make sure that no one is sending work messages after hours.

Sustainability Is Only Getting More Important

It seems a little unfair to cite climate change as something that businesses need to think about given that it is arguably the defining issue of this generation. However, if you run a business then you need to be thinking about sustainability beyond making sure that you are recycling properly at home. Remember that your target audience cares about this issue too. They are going to want to see that you are taking steps towards reducing your carbon footprint. So, if you’re sending out deliveries, use recycled and recyclable packaging. Look at investing in electric vehicles and get in touch with your suppliers to see what kind of efforts they are making towards sustainability. If you make a lot of noise on your social media channels about how important the environment is and someone notices that you’re doing more harm than good, this will have serious consequences. It’s also worth looking to see if your local authority offers any incentives for sustainability.

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