98% of small businesses have less than 20 employees (Stimulating Small Business Growth), and no matter what industry that business is in, the challenges are inevitably going to be the same. Albert Einstein once said that “if we were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.” While this sounds extreme, it highlights the problems that many small businesses face today, without properly assessing the challenge we can never properly apply a correct solution.
Defining the problem is perhaps the overarching challenge, primarily because difficulty arises because it requires patience, repetition and thorough examination, and it is the most important element of critical thinking. My experience dealing with customers who own small businesses encounter this problem time and time again, before they approached me, their challenge was obvious, “whose agenda is it anyway?” Recognition of these challenges came down to cost, performance and customer satisfaction; I always ask clients where is your business now and where do you want it to be in 3, 6 and 12 months from now?
The purpose of this paper is not to teach you how to identify problems, however, it will explain to you the most common challenges for small businesses today.