Market musings

The Top Obstacles to Small Business Growth & Solutions to Get Past Them

by Sasha Viasasha
September 15, 2017

What held you back last year?  Which of the biggest obstacles to growth are still standing in your way? Despite the wide variety of businesses and business models out there, small businesses all across the country are facing many of the same problems. 

In a study of more than a thousand small businesses, Wasp Barcode Technology compiled data on what small business owners see as their biggest roadblocks to sustained growth. 

As you might suspect, bringing in money and hanging onto it as profits were major concerns but they weren’t the top problem for businesses in the 11-50 employee range.

Here are the most common roadblocks to small business growth and suggestions for steering around them.

49% said hiring the best talent

Building the right team was the biggest concern when businesses grew to the size of a dozen, or a few dozen, employees. They were concerned about how to attract talent to a relatively unknown brand, how to select which talent to hire, and how to keep them satisfied without the salary/perks of a major enterprise. Using open talent markets can help you get skills even when you can't afford to add to the payroll, with just a little extra thought and care. 

Engagement strategies

Regardless of whether you outsource, in-source or hire, keeping your players engaged is key to a happy team and better outcomes. Engagement strategies are important for freelancers and temporary workers, too, as it is easier to build on established relationships than continually seek new talent and train them on your brand.  

Gallup Polls found that the what attracts talent and keeps employees engaged at work is an atmosphere of trust, communication and recognition. They can’t find that at most large enterprises, which is why two out of three workers hate their jobs. In fact, the talent crisis is more about culture than a true shortage in skilled workers.

Small businesses are in a unique position to build a focused and transformative culture. 

Good communication is key to culture and efficiency. Spoke has created a simple app that you can download and use to unify your mobile network into a smart business phone system. 

At the same time, you can offer cool new tech as a perk. Spoke gives you a business line, masks your private phone numbers, and gives your team an AI assistant to answer calls. It has a smart directory that mantains itself and has a built-in presence detection to eliminate the frustration of phone tag and missed connections. More cool features are coming, too--designed just for growing small businesses.  

47% percent said profitability

In a stagnant economy, the best way to increase profits is lower your expenses. Revenue depends on what your customers decide to do, while expenses are fully under your control. After payroll, two of the biggest expenses for a small business are Technology and Overhead. Tackle those two by re-evaluating the value of your office lease and your phone system. A coworking space can easily cut overhead in half while Spoke can reduce your business phone expense by up to 88%. Then more of the your revenue will flow into profits that you can use for whatever the business needs to grow. 

33% said cash flow issues

One in four businesses fail simply because they ran out of cash, even if they had a full slate of paying customers and an excellent value proposition. Collecting early and paying late can only get you so far. Eventually you are going to have to find more ways to turn capital expenditures into operating expenditures, so that your expenses are more flexible and tied to your income. Spoke eliminates the need to invest in telecom hardware, VoIP servers, desk phones, wiring and an IT team to manage it all. Your fully-featured business phone package is compacted into an app that you can download in minutes. That’s it. If only everything about running your business were that simple.

Better talent and lower costs of doing business

That’s an unbeatable combination. You can put the best people on the job with a high tech solution that helps them bring in more revenue. Meanwhile your costs go down so more cash flows into business growth or your personal savings account.

Try Spoke for free for 21 days – no credit card required. We are that certain that it can help your small business blow past obstacles and grow like you were meant to do. 

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