The 4 Major Small-Business Challenges – and How to Overcome Them

business Jun 27, 2019

Regardless of size, strategy or market, finding the right marketing formula for your business can be a lot of work. And, when the company has a limited budget and resources, like many small businesses, it can quickly become an overwhelming task. 

I’ve meet hundreds of SME owners over my career as a business coach and consultant and the more I’ve spoken to, the more I’ve noticed a few common traits that they all share. 

These are the core problems that the majority of small business owners face when trying to market their products/services.

In this article, I’m going to outline the 4 most common that I’ve witnessed and suggest some hot fixes you can use to get back on the right track. Read on to find out more.


4 Common Challenges Faced by Small Businesses 

1. The Challenge of Customer Loyalty 

It doesn’t matter whether you sell a product or a service, the stakes are the same - you must retain your existing audience, otherwise they will turn to your competitors. 

How? By building a relationship of trust through presenting continuous value and excellent service, without being too pushy with sales. 

For the vast majority of businesses, weeks and months can pass between face-to-face meetings. Having that client loyalty and trust in place is essential to prevent them from leaving for a competitor service. 


Read more: The 4 Levels of Customer Satisfaction Every Entrepreneur Should Know


How? By sending reminder shots, small "hello" shots, using non-aggressive tools, and without directly promoting your services but relying on expert content, targeted news etc. In short, by bringing them ADDED VALUE. The objective is that they do not forget you, while not being disgusted with your presence to the point of turning away from you. Subtle balance! 

Here are some examples of strategies you can apply: 

  • Events where you invite your customers to give their opinion on your services
  • Social media with engaging content that’s likely to be of interest to your target audience
  • Articles addressing your customers’ pain points
  • News targeted to your premium customers


My advice: The relationship with a customer should not end once the sale is complete. Invest your time into staying in touch and building that all-important loyalty.


2. The Challenge of Visibility (and Related ROI) 

Many of the SME owners I meet have no visibility and communication strategy in place, either because of lack of interest, lack of time, lack of confidence (“I'm not big enough”), or fear of not seeing a financial return. And for those with something in place, the ROI is often less than impressive. 

However, the problem today isn’t finding a communication option – there are hundreds to choose from. The biggest issue is finding one at the right price that isn’t going to lead to a negative return on investment. Digital marketing has brought us into a new era of communication, helping us to move from cold calling to warm calling. You need to harness this if you want to get the most out of your communication strategy, and the way to do it is by creating a link with customers and adding meaning to your messages. 

How do companies ensure that they will have a solid return on investment? By focusing on two main things: strategy and content. 

As an entrepreneur, you need to develop a solid marketing strategy and plan ahead. To do this, you need to have a clear idea of the tactics that will reach your target audience, and that will give you the expected results. 

There is no point in having 10,000 likes on your Facebook page if you don't get a single deal. Once you know who you are addressing, it is easier to develop interesting material that will reach this audience and have an impact. This is where content comes in - content must be written for the consumer in a way that promises value.


My advice: The first step is to know exactly who is part of this target audience. To do this, you must develop a profile or avatar of the people your products and services are intended to help, according to precise criteria including: 

  • Sectors of activity
  • Size of the company
  • Turnover, Number of Employees
  • Values
  • Age
  • Location
  • Education
  • Employment 

The better you can define your ideal customer, the more accurately you’ll be able to target them. 


3. The Challenge of Size – and Knowing What You Want 

As a business owner, gaining visibility, becoming stronger and having a larger impact are all likely to be goals for you. To achieve these, you need to grow. 

Most people follow the “two are stronger than one” approach and opt for partnerships to quickly scale their business, thinking it’s the best option. 

Whilst this might work sometimes, it’s not always the case. Many companies establish relationships that promise to be mutually beneficial, but in the end do not hold water. There may be little or no results from the time and money spent on these partnerships.


My advice: The question to ask yourself is why do we want to grow? For more market share? For oneself/one's ego? There are as many benefits as there are risks in wanting to be greater, and if you think bigger means better, you might be unpleasantly surprised.


4. The Challenge of Growth and Longevity 

How can we ensure that we grow and continue to grow? How can we find the growth tactics necessary for the longevity of our businesses? 

Many entrepreneurs believe that the growth objective is achieved once the magic formula “cost reduction + economy of scale” is in place. But implementing such measures without returning to the DNA of your business is a pure waste of energy. 


Also read: Want to be Competitive? Increase Your Prices!


Before looking at your goal (profit), look at your core business. Do you need to adapt your model, build on what you already have, or perhaps completely change it? Once you have your answer, you’ll have a clear direction from which you can implement actions that promote sustainable growth.



Take the necessary steps you need to grow your business this year and set a personal target to achieve at least 2 of your short-term goals by the end of the year.


Did you find this content useful? Know other people who would benefit from it, too? Share it!


I’m looking out for you - here’s how: 

Us service providers face our own set of challenges and I want to help. I’ve opened up my calendar for free 30-minute consultation calls 90 min a day, available to any of you who are struggling or facing uncertainty right in their own businesses right now. 

This is an opportunity for you to speak openly about your business and receive objective but compassionate advice from a leading business sparring partner.

I’ve spent the past 10 years of my career helping service providers like you overcome adversity and tackle their challenges head-on. So, if you’re facing difficulties right now and want to speak, I’m here for you - book a call and we’ll get through this together!

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