Being a business owner today is anything but a walk in the park. A host of forces – local, national and global – challenge business owners to be resourceful or close up shop. But here are the top ten small business problems that entrepreneurs are up against today – and how you can overcome them.
Cybersecurity threats are major small business problems today. The small-scale security systems of small businesses make them more vulnerable to viruses, hacks and consumer data theft. Be sure to work with a reputable IT company that can precisely put in place the security settings you need to protect your business and customers.
Tax Law Changes
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduced a new pass-through deduction and changes to corporate tax rates that may affect your business. Educate yourself about how the new tax law affects small business owners now so that you can avoid headaches come tax time.
Evolving Health Insurance Market
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repealed the individual mandate for health insurance. But the new rule doesn’t take effect until 2019, which has created uncertainty among some business owners about 2019 health insurance plan availability and premium costs. Read up on how to get insurance when you’re self-employed before plans are announced in the fall so that you can make a more informed decision.
Events like Hurricane Irma and the recent water main break in downtown Philadelphia proved that no business is immune from disaster. Put in place a continuity plan while your company is safe and sound. Contingency plans will ensure that it recovers quickly and with minimal damage after unexpected events.
The U.S. economy could be poised for growth or headed for a recession depending on who you ask. But careful budgeting year-round can ensure that the surpluses you enjoy during a boom cycle of business will tide you over during a potential bust cycle.
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Sixty-one percent of businesses have already put in place AI, says TechRepublic. Critics cite its potential to eliminate manual labor. Advocates believe systems that mimic human thinking can prove useful in areas like predictive analytics and machine learning.
Only you can decide whether AI is right for your business. If you adopt it, start small. For example, you could add a chat-bot to your website to supplement a human-led customer service department.
Changing Social Media Landscape
The flight of young users to Instagram and Snapchat plus Facebook News Feed changes that de-emphasize business posts can limit your social media reach and lower your conversion rate if you’re too dependent on the platform.
You should create and maintain a presence on multiple major social platforms. Increase your social media reach by starting an influencer marketing program in which ordinary individuals promote your products and services on their social media channels.
Increased Need for Mobile-Friendly Websites
Fifty-seven percent of users claim they will only recommend businesses with well-designed mobile sites, according to socPub. The challenge lies in adapting e-commerce websites designed for large-screen users to satisfy the needs of smartphone users.
One way to meet the needs of mobile users is to use a “responsive” website design that adapts to various screen sizes. Or, you can use an “adaptive” design wherein separate mobile design loads for users with a small-screen device.
Demand for Video Content
Sixty-four percent of users are more likely to make an online purchase after watching a branded video, says Animoto. But small business problems can arise if you don’t have the skills, the staff or the audience size to produce the videos. Or the reach of a broad audience.
So why not get top video creators with large online audiences to advocate your products or services? They can film and post the video to their social channels. You can also promote the video on your social media channels and website.
Growing Millennial Workforce
Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. And old-school workplace approaches can scare them away. You need to put in place business core values, processes, and perks that take into account their desire for work-life balance and flexibility.
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.