10 challenges and tips to help overcome them for SMEs and their advisers
DEEP DIVE TOPIC – 10 Biggest Challenges facing small business in 2016. How you can overcome some as a small business and how you can help your clients as an adviser. Also if you are an entrepreneur, how you can develop something to solve these problems
The topic for today focuses on the challenges facing small business in 2016. This is relevant not only to my small business viewers and accountants viewers but also for those entrepreneurs looking to develop a product or service designed to help a small business overcome these challenges.
10 key areas have been identified by the Chamber for Commerce & Industry of Queensland via a survey they conducted.
The ten key areas are:
Ten, research & development
In reality there are no real surprises there. For small business owners this is quite daunting as this pretty much can affect every part of their business, so what should you do.
First, you need to understand of these areas which parts are impacting you the most. For many of them they are related to financial items so ensure your accounts are in order. If not, you need to make this a priority and improve your financial management system. There is no doubt that real time figures, managed via a cloud accounting system like Xero are the way forward so if you are not operating on a cloud platform, this is a starting point. Using a cloud system can also save you time. So get in touch with your advisers to help you get onto this platform
If your major problem area tends to be in the marketing and branding space, I can’t stress enough the importance of engaging a professional. What the untrained thinks looks great can actually be damaging to your brand and products. Working with a specialist to manage your website, your marketing material, your SEO and your advertising will always give you greater results. There is no point having a great product if nobody knows about it.
If you are an accountant or adviser to small business you should be focusing on helping your clients in these areas. Whether they are telling you that these are problems or not, the truth is they are always going to be problem areas and lets face it, which client does not want to invoice more, look great, get paid faster, pay less tax and have more money in their back pocket. There is so much talk at the moment about the push for us as accountants to offer advisory services to our clients due to the pressures we face as our industry goes through a period of change, but in reality the opportunity to help our clients in these areas has always existed
Think about as an adviser which of these areas you are comfortable in advising on and build some materials and services dedicated to just this area. And then go to your clients and start helping them with this part of their business. And then get in other professionals to help your clients in the other areas. For me, improving processes through the use of smart technology is my speciality area and I love helping clients with this and so i do a lot of work with my clients in these areas but I will always bring in a marketing and branding expert to build a clients website because even though I can use wordpress to build a pretty cool site, that is only part of the process. As you can see, ‘business advisory’ can take many forms, it is not just related to helping clients with forecasts and Key Performance Indicators.
By helping your clients in one or two areas and then getting in other experts to help with the rest you will be making a real impact on their business.
And finally for my entrepreneur viewers if you can develop a product or service which helps to solve these problems then chances are you are going to be onto a winner. When thinking about solving a problem for small business, do your research and understand the specific challenges they face and start with the user experience. More often than not, solutions exist for many of the challenges but they are either solutions that are too hard to use, to costly to use or to costly to maintain. If you can develop an offering that also addresses these issues as well as solve the underlying problem you will see a massive uptake. If the solution lives in a technology environment, remember mobile technology and apps is the place to be !
So that is all for this topic and as you can see it is more of a helicopter view rather than specific solutions. So I am going to use this first post as a springboard for further posts and dive deeper into each of these areas and provide solutions to problems in each of these areas. If you would like me to cover off on some specific problems please connect with me and let me know.