5 Biggest Challenges for Houston Small Businesses

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The most successful businesses don’t wait for growth to happen. Instead, they take well-planned steps to improve their products or services, operations and delivery systems. This type of forward thinking requires a combination of research, accurate business records and entrepreneurial instincts. Putting it all together requires thoughtful planning and continued effort. There is constant flow of challenges and test points especially for small businesses. Some call them challenge and few blend them as problems. All in all, Houston Small Businesses and small businesses in most other parts of our great country, pack a serious punch.

Here are five major challenges for small businesses that call for focused attention:

Planning

All mega projects are well planned after careful analysis and feasibility reports. Inflow and flow out of capital is conceived and focused in all times to come owing to a fact that stakes are always very high. Loosening any string may turn out to be a big pendulum swing resulting in an unstable situation. For that reason, all aspects are viewed in extreme depth. Small businesses are often started without sufficient reconnaissance and inputs vs outputs feasibility in particular and requirement of resources in general. This unawareness, leads to nothing short of disaster. Every problem breeds its own solution and in most of the cases the solution is found very much built in. Similarly, if a business is not planned well, the solution lies in its good planning. To define good planning, is not very difficult. We can conveniently say that, a well planned business always encompasses a feasibility of pushing in the resources and evaluating expected output. This can be made possible with small level market surveys instead of reinventing the wheel.

Putting Plans Into Action

Having planned the business to best of ethics may still not yield the envisaged output. One probability is constraints of resources for small business since it revolves around less inflow of capital yet expecting big results. The magnetic property of investment must be well understood. The bigger the capital volume, the more it will attract the profit. Either invest more or wait for invested capital to grow. Loosing heart or declaration of business as failure is not the answer. Small businesses are termed successful if even they take off with as low yield as minus 10-25% in its launching phase. Beyond this, indicates a serious flaw in either conceiving the business plan or lack of resources to start with.

Communication

It is back bone of any business irrespective of size. In most cases, small businesses do better with inter-company communication vs. a large corporation due to lack of corporate red tape and layers of management. However, not all small businesses do nearly as much as they should when it comes to communication with entities outside the company such as, clients, prospects, vendors buyers, sellers, etc. Communication plays a heavy-duty role in all departments of every business. From Sales, Marketing, Administration, Accounting, Fulfillment, etc.

Door to Door Publicity

Generally, door to door introducing business is adapted as strategy for small businesses and not too much relying on massive publicity. This again roots backs to scarcity of resources. In this modern era publicity on massive scale is taken as yard stick. For example a pizza shop adopts multi channel publicity like flyers, menu cards, discount offers, home delivery, personalized baking etc. And these small counter sale shops have turnover thousands of dollars daily. Advertisement is one way communication that forms basis of relationship. All businesses grow more on ethical relationship instead of square dealing which contributes too less.

Accessibility

This links communication itself as explained above but in a broader spectrum. Here communication refers to infrastructure. Although, this is beyond a small business entities and falls under government jurisdictions, however no business can start at a place that is physically either inaccessible, difficult area or in the area that has no or less facilities for investors or buyers. It is generally observed that many businesses of small scale trade disregard this aspect for a reason at their peril.

External Research

Apart from initial survey that includes external research; having jumped into business arena discontinuing external research again puts a business in an extremely risky environment. Even if you’ve got all the internal history, data, reports and operational information that would be needed to help make strategic plans; you’ll need to know what’s going on in your marketplace that might affect your decisions. Visit your competitors or the places where they’re selling to see how they compare to your products or services. Visit the websites of trade associations, industry magazines or professional blogs to find marketplace research and learn about trends. Conduct customer satisfaction reviews, surveys of potential customers and focus groups to help you float ideas that you are planning. Subscribe to business magazines to stay abreast of potential legislation or economic conditions that might affect your business plans.

Record-Keeping

One of the challenges of planning business strategy is having access to accurate, up-to-date business data, including detailed sales figures, financial reports, departmental budgets and customer service records. For example, it’s not enough to have sales volumes numbers, even by year or quarter. To plan for the future, you must know which of your products or services have delivered the highest profit margins and gross profits. You must analyze your distribution channels by sales volumes, selling costs, margins and gross profits. Take steps to institute expansive and timely reporting procedures for all of your departments.

Conclusion

Business nowadays is more than just earning wishful revenue. Small, medium or large scale business are only attributed towards capital involved, rest of paraphernalia remains unchanged. If you, as a Houstonian, overlooks traffic conditions on Highway I-45 (which for some reason is always under construction), how sure can you be regarding your estimated time of arrival starting from Galveston and destined for The Woodlands? Not very difficult to guess, I’m assuming. Or imagine if the businesses around the Houston’s Astrodome pay no concern to their surroundings; How do you think they’ll fare in a year, in 5 years, or 10 years? All summed up, deliberate planning after careful survey, methodical execution, continuous eye on market, accurate records, unmatched communication skills backed up with good accessibility, in principle, and should lead to calculated future.

One last thing that I was telling a colleague the other day who just started his own business. All these concepts stated above is a lot to take in, but remember, it’s nothing more than selling your eraser when you were in elementary school. Well, at least I sold my eraser one time to the highest of the 4 bidders in my 2nd grade class. The only major change is the amount of money you’re dealing with. And what we have going for us is that we ended up in the Best City in USA. It’s got warm weather, tops in so many industries like medical and energy to name a few, and there are tons of jobs and tons of business with tons of money. You can’t ask for a better place than Houston to start a small business. However, you’ve still got to work smart. Be patient, be consistent, it will work!

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