Things to Look out for: Pitfalls for the Small Business Owner

Are you a small business owner? Have you had the time to look ahead and see upcoming challenges? We did. Here’s what we learned that can help you.

For every nine-to-five employee, there’s a strong temptation to long for the life of the business owner. That life, it seems, is filled with perks like client lunches, late arrivals, and early exits. It’s the freedom to define one’s own schedule.

But for anyone who is a business owner, the joys are not as easy and abundant as they may first seem. Whatever title you choose as a business owner, whether it’s founder, CEO, president, or something else, you’re left with the same difficult questions, day in day out, for which you must uncover the answers. These aren’t glamorous either: How do I reignite stagnated growth? Where can I find more or better personnel to help run my business? How will my tax liability change this year?

Of course, business owners should realize that they’re not alone. Plenty of forums, local and national, exist to help you wade through these subjects and find solutions that work for your business. Because so many business owners are completely inundated with accomplishing the immediate tasks, we’ve taken a moment to show you what to look for on the horizon, and how it may help you work through pitfalls present for every small business.

Hire the Right People

Most business owners will tell you that the secret to their success is hiring the right people. When you’re just starting out, the thought of letting anyone else take some control of your business can be frightening, and if the hire doesn’t work out, actually realize some of your fears.

One of the ways to balance this risk is to take on new hires on a three-month trial basis. After this three-month period, you’ll have the opportunity to review performance and assess the fit for your company. You can take account of strengths and weaknesses and how they’ll affect your company long term. Additionally, you’ll be able to discover whether your new hire is the type of employee willing to go beyond the simple requisites of his job description. If not, is this the right person to take your business to the next level?

As always, flexibility in your payroll goes a long way to determining the type of hire you can find. Being able to pay more usually results in a higher quality return from your employee.

Cultivate Your Image

Social media is a near-infinite opportunity to promote your business without traditional marketing costs. But being able to do so demands that you maintain a certain image for your business. If you have the right people on your team, you may be able to encourage them to help you with marketing the image of your built-environment business.

This assistance can be especially important in a small company that simply doesn’t have the resources to hire outside marketing firms. While you may remain the best person to craft and lead the image development of your company, a willing pool of employees can help you execute your vision.

Build Your Brand

A strong, consistent image is key to developing a meaningful brand for your business. But developing that brand won’t happen overnight. Having a quality brand is about far more than choosing a logo or tagline. A quality brand allows your potential customers to understand your mission and see that reflected in every part of your business.

As we’ve noted for the small business owner, harnessing the power of social media marketing can help you build that brand messaging at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional marketing. When you’re ready to take branding to the next level, that’s when it may be time to hire a professional firm.

Keep Track of Time

We can’t ever promise that you won’t be busy. That’s simply the life of a small business owner and one of the costs of managing a company you love. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make the day-to-day more enjoyable. Next time you have a meeting with a client, vendor, or even marketing firm, why not have that meeting over lunch or out on the golf course?

After all, while running a company may not be as simple as your employees think, you should still take the time to enjoy the advantages of being in charge of your life.

Debbe Daley is the designer of choice for residential and commercial interior design in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and coastal Maine.  Learn more about Debbe in the following, The Huffington PostThe Lowell Sun and WCAP - 980 AM Lowell, MA.