Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What do small business owners worry about?

Goldman Sachs has a program for entrepreneurs called 10,000 Small Businesses.  Babson College recently published a report on the program and the following were the top four challenges reported by participants:

  1. Finding and keeping customers (30%)
  2. Financing the business (21%)
  3. Developing and updating business strategy (16%)
  4. Finding and keeping good employees (15%)
The National Small Business Association did a survey of business owners in 2013 and found similar results.  What does this mean?  Today, we will tackle #1.

To succeed, entrepreneurs need to really understand who their customers are and they need to be able to communicate the true value of their product/service to these customers.  This means knowing customers be their exact demographics and as much as possible, by name.  This means being able to tell them what your business offers that others do not. 

How does a small business do this?  By planning!  Putting together a comprehensive business plan including a detailed marketing plan is something many burgeoning entrepreneurs resist.  They resist because they lack the skills and/or patience to complete the plan themselves.  They resist because they don't want to pay someone who does have the skills and patience to do it for them.  Owners who skip the planning will ultimately fail.

Next week, we will discuss how to finance a new business.

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