What are the most common business issues and what should you know about them?
While all businesses have different issues, depending upon a variety of factors, there are also frequent issues they have in common.
Before I share what I believe are the most common business issues with you, let me tell you a little bit about my own business, just to put things in perspective.
First off, my business is far from perfect. I have ups and downs, successes and failures. Three things go right and then four things go wrong! I’m constantly putting out fires.
Heck, sometimes I even question my own sanity. I love owning my own business, but it’s a lot of work. I feel like my real title should be PROBLEM SOLVER. Can you relate?
My business is internet based. It has several components to include a large eBay store, two large websites, a network marketing business, and a coaching business.
Needless to say, there is always something to do! This often includes writing content, buying inventory, posting things on eBay, doing coaching sessions on the phone or SKYPE, creating marketing campaigns, training my team, keeping the books accurate, etc.
Of the hundreds of different tasks I do in my small business each week, there are four most common business issues I deal with every day. I believe these issues are not exclusive to my business. If anything, I believe they are common business issues that most entrepreneurs deal with on a consistent basis.
# 1 Cash Flow
My business produces good cash flow, most days. I consider myself lucky in that respect, because this is something most entrepreneurs struggle with daily. My business has cycles, and some days are better than others when it comes to cash flow. There are months when I eat lobster and months when I eat pasta! I realize this is part of being an entrepreneur and I am okay with it.
However, just like any other business, I always have expenses going out. One of my biggest struggles is managing my cash flow, so I can pay my business expenses on time and still have enough money left to support my standard of living.
I’m getting better at managing my cash flow by keeping more money in my PayPal account and business checking account and only drawing out money twice a month for my personal expenses. I also have to watch how much inventory I purchase (and when I purchase it) so I don’t spend all my working capital.
My advice to you is to manage your cash flow wisely. Always keep an eagle’s eye on the books and monitor how much money is coming in and going out. If necessary, get a line of credit or business credit card to help when your cash flow isn’t what it should be.
In addition, make sure you have a separate checking account for your business, so you can keep your personal finances and business finances separate.
Another simple tip that is often overlooked is to focus your time and effort on SELLING. Selling and marketing are the two most important activities in every business, and they are often overlooked by the home business owner because they don’t enjoy doing those two things.
You must make the cash register ring if you want to stay in business. You must sell. That is your real objective, whether you realize it or not. Without sales, there is no money to pay your expenses. Without sales, there is no cash flow.
Finally, keep an updated monthly profit and loss statement, so you can track your monthly progress, and so you know where your business stands financially.
Cash flow is king!
# 2 Delegating
I must admit I am a “do it yourself” kind of guy. That has several advantages that come with it, but it also means I am one-man circus trying to get everything done myself. I guess my biggest issue with delegating is trusting others.
When it comes to my business, the only person I really trust is my wife. I’m worried someone will cheat me or ruin my reputation. During the past year, I’ve done a better job of delegating by having virtual assistants and hiring independent contractors to help with marketing campaigns, content creation, and small projects.
I’ve realized there are certain tasks that produce a high dollar return and other menial tasks that take up a lot of my time, but don’t make me money. I try to focus on the big tasks and delegate everything else. I try to spend a huge majority of my business hours exclusively on money producing activities. That might just be the most important piece of advice in this blog post.
Keep the main thing the main thing and delegate everything else. Don’t confuse busy work with productive work!
I’m not where I want to be yet, but I am making significant improvements. My advice to you is to make a list of tasks that you and only you can do and make a list of everything else that needs to be done. When the two lists are done, hire someone to do the tasks that can and should be delegated. Don’t spend your $100 per hour time doing $10 per hour work.
Let me say that again so it sinks in. Don’t spend your $100 per hour time doing $10 per hour work. I did this myself for many years. Looking back, I was a fool. I should have spent all my time marketing and selling, and paid other people to do everything else that was busywork.
You can find plenty of affordable help on websites such as upwork.com and fiverr.com. That’s who I use. Here’s the funny thing. Even though it costs money to do this, you will quickly discover that it saves you TONS of time and you can make even more money by focusing on selling.
# 3 Doing Too Many Projects
I am a focused and determined guy, but I’m also a doer. One of my shortcomings is that I try to do too many things at once. Maybe it’s the dreamer in me. Maybe it’s the creative person in me.
I take on lots of projects because I get excited about them. I like the challenge. While this isn’t always a bad thing, I’ve also learned that when you try to do too many things at once you often spread yourself way too thin.
Limit how many projects you take on. Limit how many businesses you start, manage, or own. Focus on one thing until successful. Keep the main thing the main thing. It’s much better to do one thing very well than do ten things half ass!
I’ve finally given my wife 100% reigns of our eBay® business. That one decision alone has freed up much of my time, so I can focus on what I do best: network marketing, blogging and coaching.
I encourage you to take a couple of hours and evaluate everything that you do. What projects excite you and offer the most potential? What projects take up the most amount of your time, but give you the least amount of return? Try to “weed out” the projects that are time wasters or don’t offer much of a return on investment.
Seriously. Take the time to do this. You will quickly discover that you are chasing five or ten rabbits, rather than going after one with a vengeance.
# 4 Time Management
There is a saying that entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours per week because they don’t want to work 40 hours per week in a job. I’m not sure who said this, but I believe it to be true.
I’m not saying employees are lazy. Most aren’t. But, I’ve never met a lazy entrepreneur. It’s next too impossible to succeed in your own business if you just sit on your ass all day. You have to hustle day in and day out.
Entrepreneurs must be a slave to their calendars! They must be extremely disciplined with their time if they want to be productive and make money. If you can’t manage your time effectively, you will not make it in business!
You could argue that the previous two tips go hand-in-hand with this one. Early on, my business was an obsession. I would work 16 hour days, normally seven days a week. After about 18 months I got tired and burnt out and wanted to have a life!
What did I do? I learned to manage my time better by delegating, taking on less projects and outsourcing whenever possible. Most people who own an online business or network marketing business also have a day job! In addition, they typically have a family, hobbies, and interests outside the home.
Let’s face it, when you come home from a long day at work, eat dinner with your family, help your kids with their homework, and then watch your favorite television show, there isn’t much time left over to grow a home based business! And that’s the number one excuse people give for not doing a home business. It’s also the number one reason people fail, as I see it: poor time management.
The truth is, you will always be busy! The key to success is to be productive. Until you learn how to work smart and manage your time better, you will always be time challenged.
What I’ve found that helps me the most when it comes to managing my time is to plan out my day. I use a day planner and I schedule what I am going to do each day and at what time. I schedule in personal time, family time, and work time. This keeps me focused and on point.
I manage my day in 15-minute increments. Try it sometime.
Another secret I learned from a millionaire is to ask myself a simple question before I start a new task. Here’s the question. “Is what I am doing right now the single best use of my time?” If you answer yes, do the task. If no, switch your focus and pick the task that is the best use of your time.
You don’t have to use the same time management rituals that I do, but if you don’t learn how to manage your time, you will be busy getting nowhere fast.
I have lots of other business issues, too, but these are the four most common business issues I deal with in my business on a day-to-day basis. To summarize, they are:
- Managing my cash-flow
- Taking on too many projects
- Managing my time effectively
If I was to write about every issue that comes with running a business, this post would be a book!
At the end of day, every entrepreneur has issues to overcome. The key to success is to identify the issue, come up with a game plan to fix it, and have the discipline to follow through until successful. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
What are the most common business issues you deal with in your small business? What do you do to remedy those problems? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day.