Are you currently battling with a setback in your business? I think I can speak for a lot of business owners when I say that Covid-19, is a setback for many small business owners. Right now non-essential business has halted and you may have lost many customers due to no fault of your own. Maybe things are not moving at your desired pace, the economy has not opened fast enough and you are considering giving up. Hear me when I say, it is too early to throw in the towel. Setbacks and obstacles are normal experiences that every business owner or entrepreneur faces at certain times in their business, regardless of their niche or industry they are operating.
Becoming an authority in your industry won’t come easy, you should be ready to battle with setbacks or stumbling blocks. There are lessons to be learned from every situation, don’t fret or lose your head over challenges, rather you should see setbacks as stepping stones to attaining your desired height in your business. Trust me, better days are ahead.
Here is a list of a few common setbacks (outside of a pandemic) you can come up against in your business and how you can overcome them.
Setback 1: Hiring the Wrong People
Hiring the right people for your business is critical. As a small business owner, you cannot afford to waste your most precious resource- time, on hiring the wrong talent. When it is time for your business to expand, put the focus on building a smaller team that is willing to grow with the business. Also, look at hiring someone with a variety of skills so they can play different roles. It is also beneficial to allow your current employees to meet a potential new employee. Hearing their view from the outside could prevent hiring someone who does not vibe with the office.
Once you have realized that you have made a mistake in your hiring choices, admit your mistake, and take action right away. Telling someone that they do not fit within the company is a hard decision to make. It’s easy to wait around and see how things play out and it is always advisable to give employees a second chance. Use your discernment and business acumen and not your emotions when making these decisions. If you keep a bad hire for too long you are doing your company and your current employees a disservice.
Setback 2: Losing Clients
Losing clients is inevitable. At some point during your time as CEO, you will lose a client. You can respond in one of two ways. You can sulk and have a “woe is me” attitude or you can roll up your sleeves and get to work. At the onset of a lost client, double down on your sales strategies and put in a few extra hours at the office until you secure your next client to fill in the gap. You should already have a process in place for when you lose a client. It is important that you demonstrate to your employees that you have everything under control. If they get a whiff of uncertainty from you, they will assume they are on a sinking ship and may cut their losses. If this happens, you will not only be looking for a new client, you will be seeking a new employee as well. Which leads us to setback #3…
Setback 3: Losing Key Employees
So you’ve hired a great employee. Odds are if you found them good enough to hire, someone else will too. When an employee puts in their 2 weeks’ notice, stay calm, and seek to find out the reason why. While they do not owe you an in-depth explanation, what they say can help your business move forward and in some cases, you may be able to address their concerns in a way that retains them.
If you are unable to retain the employee, don’t fret. Start seeking a new employee as soon as you are ready. You can even offer bonuses to your employees for making introductions to qualified applicants.
At the onset of an employee quitting, assure your staff that everything is under control. It is your job as CEO to ensure the stability of your company and assure your staff that the company will continue the thrive regardless of the temporary setback.
Setback 4: Marketing Woes
New businesses with limited capital often ignore the importance o marketing or cannot afford to hire an adequate marketing associate. Your business isn’t going to sell itself, it can’t. Your business will only be as successful as your ability to market, add leads, and convert those leads into paying customers.
Before you jump into hiring a marketing director that you cannot afford. Start with social media marketing. With the creation of social media, it has opened avenues for small to medium-sized businesses to market on a budget to virtually anyone. Before jumping into social media marketing, educate yourself. See what people in your field are doing and what is effective for them and follow their example. Even if you are not a social media pro, start with building consistency in your posts and nailing down your brand. A simple posting and engagement strategy over time can build customer loyalty.
Setback 5: Insufficient Cash Flow
Cash flow is money flowing in and out of a business over a set period of time. The problem of cash flow is the reason why many businesses do not make it past the first year and find themselves stagnating in growth. Cash flow problems are extremely inconvenient. The fact is, money owed is not money in hand. This problem is classified as a major setback because it can keep you from keeping up with your payroll or from being able to jump on to growth opportunities.
You can overcome insufficient cash flow in your business through a number of ways. You can start by creating a budget for your business. If your cash flow is pretty straight forward and you have recurring bills every year with little to no variations, your problem could be solved by following a strict budget. Another way to solve cash flow problems is to get a line of credit. This option can get money in your account in as little as one business day. Be sure to pay this kind of a loan back when you have cash coming in. Finally, you can negotiate with your vendors. If you have established a good relationship with your vendors or clients, it might be a good idea to renegotiate the payment structure to ensure adequate cash flow in the future.
The bottom line: Expect setbacks. Successful people experience setbacks all the time. What matters is how you deal with them mentally and the steps you take to overcome them. Soon enough you will see setbacks as a badge of honor. When you come against setbacks, smile, and own them!
Janneh K. Wright