Any small business owner will tell you that challenges are part and parcel of running a company. You will start every day with a list of problems that you need to solve, and you will be expecting plenty more to pop up over the course of that nine to five. However, there is a major difference between realizing that you have a bug with your website that you should probably fix and the major, game-changing issues that are sweeping the world now.
As we look ahead to the second half of 2024 and the months to come, it is clear that we are in for plenty of tricky challenges ahead. It seems unfair given everything that we have been through in the last couple of years, but it is important to recognize what is coming and plan for how to address it. Here are some of the major challenges that every small business will have to deal with in the months ahead, and some tips for you on how to steer your company through them.
Costs Are Going Up
Let’s start with the one that everyone is focused on right now. Costs are going up everywhere that we look, for businesses and consumers. There are news reports about how the costs of groceries are soaring, how the price of gas at the pump has been skyrocketing before taking a recent nosedive, and people all over the world have been worrying about how much they’re paying for energy. As a result, consumers are going to get a lot more careful about where they are spending their money, and how much of it they are spending. Of course, businesses are having to face these costs too (and more besides), and there is going to be the temptation to increase costs to the customer. Some brands have been outspoken about resisting the urge to put their prices up. It’s really down to you, but you should definitely think about ways around it.
Think about how you can demonstrate the quality of your service to the customer. What can you do to stand out from the competition and remind your customers what it is that makes you worth paying for. You can also think about other ways that you can trim unnecessary costs. For example, credit card processing fees are a constant issue for businesses as they lose out a little on a lot of transactions. But they do not have to be a fact of life. If you want to learn more about how you can get the lowest credit card processing fees, check out this article from NadaPayments. They can help you to take home 100% of your credit card transactions.
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Climate Change Is Starting To Bite
If there has been one issue that has dominated the headlines as much as anything else over the last few years, it has been climate change. We have seen extreme weather events here in the United States and around the world, and it is simply impossible to ignore at this point. But how does that affect small businesses? Firstly, it is important to note that these changes are going to affect the way we do business, so any way that you can adapt now will help. You should also keep an eye out for any support from the government for green transition given that they are currently taking flack for the lack of it. It is also very important to note that climate change is something that more and more consumers are taking into account when they are deciding where to spend their money.
People have got a lot smarter about checking to see what different businesses’ environmental policies are, and they will be looking for reassurance and a commitment that they are using a company that takes this issue seriously. It can be as simple as making sure that you are using recycled or recyclable material in your packaging, but you can go further than that. Think about partnering with green charities in your area. Talk to your business partners and suppliers about the measures that they are taking to cut down their emissions and carbon footprint. If they do not have an answer, then it may well be worth looking for a different company to work with.
Mental Health And Employee Support Is Still A Crucial Issue
A lot of the stories about mental health in the workplace and burnout (and there certainly have been a lot of those stories) have focused on the big companies. The type of businesses that employ tens, if not hundreds of people. But there are two things to note for small business owners. The first is that this is something that applies to everyone and every business, that everyone is at risk of burnout. The second is that this issue is ongoing. The looming challenges of the next several months are going to have a huge impact on everyone, and you need to be aware of this even if you only manage a small team.
If you are wondering how you can do more to support the mental health of your team, then you should consider how your office is currently set up. Do you feel like your staff feel like they can raise issues about personal health or other health issues with you or with your HR manager? You should encourage your staff to leave their work at the office and avoid sending any work messages outside of those hours. You could also think about adding mental health benefits to their benefits package. One of the best things that you can do is to talk to your team about how they are doing and ask if there is anything more that you could be doing as an employer to help them more. Remember that remote working has provided businesses with a lot more flexibility, so encourage working from home if that is going well and consider offering flexible working hours to make it easier for them to look after their other commitments.