All business owners have some tasks they would rather put off. Some tasks are tedious, boring, overly time consuming…and then there are some tasks that are downright terrifying. At BKE we are here to help. That is why we are breaking down ten of the most terrifying tasks business owners are faced with, and some ways to move past them.
Raising capital from investors or borrowing it outright can be frightening, but sometimes it’s necessary. One thing that can help reduce your worry in this area is to make sure you know your financial situation inside and out, and have clean books so that you can try to anticipate your needs rather than looking for money under pressure. Decisions made under stress are not always ideal for your business, and if your business is already showing signs of strain, you may have a tougher time getting approved for financing. For some additional financing insight, check out our funding resources blog article.
COMPLYING WITH REGULATIONS
If you’re a very small business, it may be entirely up to you as the owner to ensure that your company is in compliance with the myriad laws and regulations in place for today’s workplace. You’ll find a new rule every time you turn around in areas like information security, product, and workplace safety, and employee conduct, devised primarily by state governments and federal agencies. Compliance isn’t simply a matter of following suggested guidelines because they’re sound, proven ways to do business. Non-compliance sometimes has legal ramifications, including fines and lawsuits. Besides, it’s terrible publicity for you.
What to do? Learn about compliance regulations. A good place to start is at this section on the SBA website. School yourself in the major federal and state laws, explore resources offered by professional organizations and consider outsourced HR consulting to make sure you’re all buttoned up.
SUFFERING A BIG LOSS
Losing your biggest client or suffering from a breakdown in your supply chain can cause an unexpected strain on your business. One of the best ways to help manage this unexpected pitfall is to set up a contingency plan. Stay aware of your cash flow and funding options, and work to diversify your client base, so that your business doesn’t become or remain dependent on one customer. Also focus on building multiple contacts for larger clients so that if one contact leaves, you can maintain your connection.
DEVELOPING A PLAN
Many new business owners have amazing ideas for products or services, but lose focus or become intimidated when it comes time to develop a plan to put those ideas in motion. A mentor can be a fantastic resource for guidance and best practices. Reaching out to local industry-specific associations can sometimes be a good way to locate a more established business owner bounce ideas off of. SCORE’s find a mentor tool can also be a great help.
BRINGING ON STAFF
“Hiring new employees” was reported to be the top challenge facing U.S. small businesses in 2017 in a survey of 1,100+ companies. And with good reason: The cost of a bad hire can be as much as 30 percent of the individual’s first-year earnings. These costs come as a result of the impact of things like employee morale, supervisory time, and the price of recruiting and onboarding. You can minimize this risk by writing targeted job descriptions and asking the right questions when you interview candidates. Once you’ve hired new employees, give them (and yourself) the best start possible by implementing effective onboarding procedures.
PREPARING FOR TAX TIME
Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of business owners like tax time. It helps a great deal to make sure your books are up to date all year long, so you do not have to scramble come tax season. It can also be a benefit to develop a relationship with a trusted CPA before the crunch.
NOT KNOWING EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR FIELD
It’s a simple fact. No one goes into business knowing everything about their field. Not knowing what you don’t know can be terrifying. It is important to remember no one knows it all. A few things that can help shorten the learning curve are getting involved with trade associations, researching industry-specific publications and websites, taking continuing education classes, and remembering that experience will help you build as time goes on.
FULFILLING A VERY LARGE ORDER
Many business owners dream of receiving that brass ring of an order that can bring your business to the next level. As desirable as a very large order can be, it can also be terrifying to work through the logistics of fulfillment. To help mitigate this often daunting challenge, it is important to focus on cash flow and your supply chain. Staying up to date on bookkeeping helps business owners to proactively manage cash flow during unexpected events, as well as provides up-to-date reporting to well-informed business decisions.
PROTECTING YOUR IDEAS FROM THEFT
One of the most challenging parts of doing business is making sure your ideas, products, and branding are protected from theft. The last thing you want to see is your concept repackaged and sold from another company. Make sure you protect yourself by having the appropriate trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Not sure how to proceed? In this case, some legal advice can go a long way.
This may be the one that really keeps you up at night and haunts too many of your days. A business has a lot of requirements when it comes to fiscal responsibility. You have to file income taxes and payroll taxes. Potential investors, banks, and franchisors will want to see standard financial reports. You need to understand cash flow and finances to evaluate your company’s performance, forecast revenue, collect payments, and try to predict the future of your business.
How do you make sure you have accurate data available when you need it? Spend your time on the parts of your business where you can have the most positive effect and hire professionals to help you with the rest.