There are challenges every small business faces. My father, a small business owner, said, “If you own your own business, you deserve it.” To this day, I’m uncertain what he meant. How things were going defined his quote. Some days he was a damn fool, and others, he was a small business genius. The business climate in America has changed since my father’s time, but many of the challenges he faced 50 years ago continue to face small businesses today.

10 Challenges Every Small Business Faces

Too many eggs in one basket

It’s great to have a big customer, someone you can rely on and plan ahead with; until they’re no longer your customer. Keep that big customer happy but never stop looking for others. Are all your eggs in one basket?


Keeping track of state and federal laws and regulations can be overwhelming. Hire help. Seek out an attorney. You can’t be an expert in all things. However, for some things, you can save time and money by working with online services.


How many small businesses have failed because they didn’t understand their overhead? And how many have failed because they priced their product or service out of the market? Know your overhead and what the market will bear.

Money, Money, Money, MONEY

If you don’t have cash flow, you’re sunk. Account for every penny, establish a line of credit, plan ahead, and if you’re not an accountant—retain one. How to Understand Cash Flow Statements

Leading a team

Great designers, web developers, or craftspeople don’t necessarily make great leaders. It’s a skill set. Does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program.


Where to start? Do you begin with Social media, broadcast advertising, or print collateral? Should you try to do-it-yourself or outsource? Are you overthinking? For example. “Where do you cause your clients’ pain? Have you been like me and concentrated so much on complicated marketing campaigns that you’ve missed the fruit hanging easily within your reach? — Is Your Business Reaching Past the Low-Hanging Fruit?

Not enough hours in the day

If your business is to grow, they’ll come a time when you cannot do it all. Trying to do it all limits growth, and it ain’t too good for your mental health. You should budget a minimum of 1/4th of your time to work on your business. “A friend and I were recently discussing working invs. working on his business. Working in defined as doing the work, and working on defined as growing the business and shaping its direction. I’ve always thought of it as the difference between an actor and a director. Eventually, leaders that only work in the business stunt the growth of the organization.” — The Path from Working In to Working On the Business

Staying ahead of change

We’ve all seen shops close and read stories of businesses large and small that didn’t keep up with change. “Failure is full of lessons and, over the last decade, the demise of several once extraordinarily successful businesses are providing us with plenty of them.” —  Lessons from three big business failures.

Not asking for help

It’s OK not to know everything, and it’s OK to feel overwhelmed; both mean you’re pushing the limits. Join an association of like-minded business owners, seek out a mentor, and ask for help. Why Your Executive Staff Needs a Coach

And number one of the challenges every small business faces

Drum roll, please… Burnout. On paper, the idea of being your own boss, making your own way, and being your own person, looks honorable. And it is, but it’s more work than most people imagine. It’s not only putting in the hours—it’s the pressure. It’s waking at 2 am, wondering how you’ll meet payroll, finish the order, or find someone to buy your product. That’s why it’s essential to disconnect and get away from your business. Take time to work out, turn off your phone, meditate, and take a vacation. If you don’t think you can, then you’re allowing your business to run you. I once had a crew blow the engine on a truck because they hadn’t taken time for maintenance. When asked why, they said they were too busy. Don’t blow your engine.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash