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Small business challenges in 2021

Now more than ever, there are more challenges for small business owners. But I promise, it’s not all doom and gloom!

First of all, I want to assure you – no matter what you’re going through, you are absolutely not alone! Being a small business owner can be the most rewarding, but also the most challenging thing you can ever do. You’ve got to have grit and persistence if you want to succeed. But most of all, you’ve got to be ready and willing to adapt and be flexible.

Are you up for the challenge? Here are some of the biggest small business challenges in 2021 (or any time really):


Client Dependence

I think all small business owners have been caught out with this one at some time or another – we depend on our clients for our livelihood and when they can’t (or don’t) pay, we suffer – or worse, our loved ones miss out.

Maybe we’ve put all our eggs in one basket in terms of working with only one client or industry, or maybe we only have one product to sell and a competitor has come into the market. Whatever the situation, it’s always best to diversify and protect ourselves from situations that have the potential to wipe out our business.

Consider ways that your business can pivot or adapt to small business challenges in 2021. What other products or services could you offer? Is there other industries you could branch into? What would it look like if you took your business online? Is there more you could be doing to retain old clients or reach new ones?


Money Management

I have never met another small business owner who didn’t need more money. Whether it be cash flow issues, bookkeeping and invoice reconciliation, or even just a little extra cash to reach their growth ambitions – money always presents some sort of challenge for small business owners.

Having a plan and knowing your budget (and then sticking to it!) is probably your best bet – but let’s face it, this is probably one of the hardest small business challenges in 2021. Small business owners have had to change gears at every turn in the last 18 months, and this latest round of lockdowns has not been easy – but that doesn’t mean we should throw the business plan and budget out the window!

Use this downtime to deep dive into the data, to perfect your processes and reduce costs wherever you can; and when that’s done – set time to review these things often so you are consistently optimising your business for success. As a small business owner, this should probably be your #1 priority – and if it’s not, you definitely need to enlist help.


Founder Dependence & Staffing

Ever wish you had a few clones at your disposal? Unfortunately, we just don’t have the tech for that right now, and until we do, you need to find ways to future-proof your business to be able to run without you.

The good news is that there is no one else out there like you – which means everyone else has different strengths and skills that can push your business to new heights. The challenge for small business owners is finding the *right* staff. Your business is your baby, and you want to make sure it’s in the right hands.

Plus with the pandemic, the calibre of candidates in Australia has shifted since we no longer have the access to the wider international labour force, and a lot more employees are needing to work from home – this is another huge small business challenge in 2021.

Finding the right staff is no longer just about having the right qualifications for the job. Small business owners need to be mindful that it’s not just about the skill set a candidate possesses either – but how they fit into the company culture, how autonomous they can be when working from home, and their loyalty and grit to get through high stress situations.


Fatigue & Mental Health

If being a small business owner wasn’t tough enough, now we’re having to navigate a global epidemic at the same time. This additional challenge for small business owners is sure to put strain on our mental health and wellbeing, so it’s more important than ever to make sure we are looking after ourselves physically, but especially mentally.

Work/life balance is crucial as we face these unprecedented times. It’s so easy to throw ourselves into our business 24/7 – especially if we feel like business is struggling; but it’s also necessary to connect with our families and allow ourselves to take a break (and don’t get me started on prioritising fresh air and exercise when we’re stuck at home during lockdown!).

Even in normal times though, we need to do everything we can to not tie our livelihoods (or our self-worth) to our business’ success. We need to ask ourselves – who would we be if we weren’t a small business owner? What’s important to us outside of our careers or jobs? What would we do if money was no issue?

And on that note then, we also need to make sure that we are compensating ourselves for all our hard work in our own businesses! This includes making sure that you aren’t under-charging or under-quoting – I see too many sole traders and small business owners do this. Oh – and you *definitely* need to make sure you are paying yourself a fair wage to support your lifestyle and your loved ones! Otherwise, what’s the point?!


Hitting a Ceiling

There will always come a point for any small business owner when you need to invest in order to scale or grow the business. Maybe that looks like hiring staff, or buying more capable equipment to improve efficiency – whatever it is, having goals and plans in place from early on will help you to know when that time has come and help you to get the most out of your investment.

This is one of the more fun small business challenges 2021. There is so much technology available to us that can make it so easy to scale, so easy to diversify. Even the fact that remote work is more prominent in more industries allows us to find the best staff despite geography! It’s pretty wonderful when you think about what we can achieve now, versus what was possible 5, 10 or even 20 years ago!

A lot of small business owners turn to short term loans to close the gap between what they have, and what they need in order to reach their goals. Capify understands the challenges for small business owners and offers fast and flexible funding to give small business owners peace of mind and help them achieve their ambitions.

If you’d like to know more about our products, simply click here or call 1300 760 930 to talk to a lending specialist who can personalise a solution to meet your needs.


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