The Biggest Challenges Small Business Owners Face

While setting up a business from scratch is a significant accomplishment, keeping it going requires even more effort, resources, and a bit of luck. Studies indicate that 20 percent of small businesses close down by the end of the first year. The chances become bleaker each year, as 70 percent are known to fail by the tenth year.

Issues can vary depending on the industry, niche, and other factors. Although this may be the case, some problems are common for most, if not all, small business owners. A business coach offering career training and workshops shares some of the most significant issues plaguing entrepreneurs and startups and what to do about them.

Relying on only a few clients

If more than half of your income relies on a single client, entrepreneurs run the risk of becoming client-dependent. In such situations, your function is not of a business owner but a freelancer or an independent contractor. This can happen with entrepreneurs who work as sub-contractors for a more prominent company.

They may not see an issue in this type of arrangement as long as the client has a constant need for the business owner’s products or services. However, the problem with this setup is when the main client ends their contract with the business. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

Number and quality of employees

There may be plenty of people looking for work, but only a handful of them have the qualifications, skills, or personality the entrepreneur wants in his staff. Small businesses tend to offer smaller compensation packages compared to larger corporations, so talented and well-qualified individuals sometimes move on to companies with better offers.

Entrepreneurs also often need flexible people who can perform several tasks instead of hiring several candidates for one specific job. This is why some end up with less experienced candidates or freshers looking for their first job.

Availing of recruitment services simplifies the process, but it will also cost more. The entrepreneur needs to gauge which would be better for the business in the long run. Is it better to hire several employees or a few?

The latter option may cost less, but growth may be limited. Having more employees, on the other hand, allows the entrepreneur to complete more work. Entrepreneurs undeniably have more to consider, not just in terms of their salaries but also when it comes to taxes, benefits, equipment, incentives, and so on.

Limited cash flow

Adequate capital and cash flow are issues that plague almost all startups and small businesses. There doesn’t seem to be enough money to keep the business running. Thus, it is essential to track the money well, from obtaining payment to expenses.

What to do

Every day, people set up shop, but many of them have difficulty running their businesses. This is where a small business coach comes in handy. Small business coaches help business owners grow their entrepreneurial skills.

Contrary to popular belief, leaders don’t have everything figured out. Each person has skills. However, the skills required to lead and run a business are only learned through experience and with a little guidance.

Here are a few of the most significant indications for seeking out a business coach today.

1. Feeling overwhelmed

Most people know that there are 24 hours to each day, but for entrepreneurs, the day is not long enough to complete tasks. For business owners constantly feeling pressured on finding capital or looking for clients, having a coach is a timesaver.

A business coach is not an employee but an equal. By looking at the company’s processes and workflow, they can offer suggestions on where to make changes or point out potential time-wasters. Having an experienced individual look into the business can shake things up and help streamline how it is being run.

2. Implementation issues

Some entrepreneurs have a general idea of what they need to do but not the specific steps to accomplish a goal. There may also be times where the individual lacks motivation, or is looking for a person to hold them accountable. Hiring a business coach may be the way to get out of this rut.

Whether it is implementing a new policy for hiring and training employees or a process for finding new clients, a business coach can help in setting more actionable steps. Business coaches can help entrepreneurs work through these issues and hold the coachee accountable for following through with the plan.

3. Not getting the desired results

Perhaps the entrepreneur has tried several ideas, but nothing seems to work. The most effective business coaches provide practical advice and guidance, which are based on their years of experience in running a business. By tapping into their knowledge and expertise, entrepreneurs can increase their ROI or reach their business goals.

An entrepreneur may have brilliant ideas but is hesitant about pursuing them. By running those ideas with a business coach first, entrepreneurs get to know which parts to modify or what issues may arise from pursuing those ideas.

A coach is not there to solve all of the small business owner’s problems. But through working with one, entrepreneurs have a better idea of what to do, especially when it comes to solving the most prominent issues stated here. Contact a business coach today and see how they can change the way you handle and run your business.


Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.