Building a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, dedication, and persistence to push past barriers. Even when arranging financing to get a business to open doors, that is only the beginning. Part of the research phase of building a business requires investigating common roadblocks you might run across in those first few years to prevent them from becoming huge boulders that keep you from growing. The most common challenges a small business owner faces include raising capital, navigating regulations, and other similar issues. The more you can understand about what you are facing, the better prepared you will become.


Getting a few good people into those seats everyday is one of the biggest challenges of building a business. The prospect may interview well but not produce the results necessary for growth. If the employee quits early, then you are left to fill their position and go through the process all over again. Employee recruitment and retention is sticky and creates a big struggle for business owners. There are some ways to control the narrative and try to hire better prospects:

  • Provide a comprehensive package including salary and benefits
  • Provide recognition and reward systems for people to incentivize progress
  • Foster teamwork and mentorship programs to create a positive work experience
  • Promote positive work-life balance
  • Cultivate open communication between yourself and employees

Managing Time

The clock will feel like it is on fast forward and there are not enough hours in the day. Welcome to the world of small business ownership. Time management will be key to getting things up and running without too many hitches. Interruptions like emails, phone calls, instant message, and busy meeting schedules can keep you from feeling productive. Some key strategies to keep in mind to support better time management include:

  • Track the time spent on accomplishing tasks versus wasted time on unproductive thoughts or conversations
  • Manage priority projects and do not let disruptions deter progress
  • Take some time management or skills classes to support better efficiency
  • Create workflow and time management plans to keep on track

Cash Flow

No business grows without cash flow.  It seems there is never enough to do what is necessary up front. Lack of capital can keep a business from growing but it may also take it under before it ever gets off the ground. To avoid this pitfall, be sure to seek out solutions that work for your sector and market. Some options can include:

  • A traditional business loan from the Small Business Association with low interest rates
  • Protect cash flow throughout the year, quarter, and even week
  • Improve receivables by incentivizing clients who pay on time
  • Get deposits from clients
  • Require credit checks for non-cash customers

Admin Work

Payroll and bookkeeping are not a favorite for most small business owners. It is time consuming and difficult to keep up with all the necessary elements. Keeping top talent means paying them on time and getting their checks right. Administrative work in this way can be a big challenge to stay on top of it and get it done well. It can help to consider:

  • Outsourcing to a company that specializes in payroll and bookkeeping duties
  • What you need to focus on strengths not weaknesses, meaning hiring in house for help if outsourcing is not an option
  • Legalities of payroll and bookkeeping that can bite you hard if you don’t track it properly, costing more time and money in the long run

Marketing and Advertising

The world of marketing can seem overwhelming when there is so much to be done. With marketing being more than print media these days, it takes a specialist with the know-how to create effective campaigns and pathways to success for your business. While you can certainly tackle this yourself, it may help to consider the following:

  • Social media can make or break a business. Hiring someone to deal with this specifically can support a better growth strategy long term
  • Stay focused on building and running a business, not all the daily tasks. Don’t be afraid to outsource or hand over jobs you cannot manage to people who can get the job done well
  • Know best practices if you bring marketing and advertising in-house.

Managing Benefits

Everyone needs benefits, but the details are so sticky. Medical insurance, paid time off (PTO), and all the fine print can be enough to make your eyes go cross. Benefits are critical to hiring and retaining top talent, so it is a necessary evil to get this one right. Make sure you:

  • Know the rules and laws or find someone who specializes in it
  • Understand the legal ramifications of getting it wrong before you end up on the bad side of the law
  • Know what benefits your employees can receive
  • Don’t be afraid to hire benefit specialists or legal counsel to help you deal with the ins and outs

These challenges are not so difficult to overcome if you know what to look out for up front. When you focus on meeting these challenges early on, you can avoid headaches later. As an entrepreneur, the less headaches you have now, the easier it is to focus on getting the business up and running and grow it successfully in the future.

Read more relevant blog post: Why Diversity Skills Are an Essential Part of Any Small Business Model