Running a business is no easy thing, especially not in the present circumstances. Difficulties with international trade borne out by the Brexit vote, coupled with a national cost-of-living crisis putting downward pressure on economic growth, have served to create a hostile environment for business growth. But this is not news.
Indeed, countless headlines have been taken up with news of impending – and narrowly avoided – recession, and the many economic challenges facing both start-ups and established businesses. Business owners are acutely aware of these challenges already; but what of the challenges that aren’t as often talked about? Here we will engage with some of the major business challenges that can sneak up on the new entrepreneur, from the logistics of business to impacts on mental health.
The fundamental struggle of the working entrepreneur is against time. Time poverty is a very real thing, and extremely difficult for business leaders to manage in the early days of a growing business. Everything is important, and everything demands your attention; without the luxury of a liberally-staffed business, newer businesses are more susceptible to missing opportunities for this reason.
Adopting personal time management plans can help you be a more effective leader, particularly if you find yourself struggling to focus and self-motivate at certain times of the day. The structure is important, but so is understanding your limitations as a leader – and knowing when not to push yourself too far.
Finances are naturally a concern for business leaders; our introduction has already acknowledged the mainstream challenges of stagnating the national economy. But financial issues stretch beyond that, to decision-making concerning equitable growth and the sourcing of capital to maintain the course.
A business that invests heavily opens itself up to cashflow issues and increases the risk of insolvency. Expert counsel is highly recommended in instances where this is a risk, as an outside perspective on the state of your finances can help you see more effective and safe routes forward.
A major challenge that many businesses face is the ‘under-skilling’ of the business as a whole. New start-ups are often skeleton crews covering as many bases as possible, which can work to the detriment of the business model at times. Hiring is an obvious solution here, but not all businesses have the immediate bandwidth for employee expansion. A short-term solution is outsourcing, which can lighten workloads and allow more effective operations until recruitment is feasible.
Finally, it is important to acknowledge the mental health impacts that running a business can create. High levels of stress, brought about by long days and longer working weeks, can affect mood severely – as too can the pressure of keeping up with the competition. One in three professionals suffers severe anxiety as a direct result of comparing themselves to others. As such, it is vital to stay in touch with yourself and know exactly when to stop.