The marketplace is constantly changing, and small businesses that stay abreast of contemporary trends and can anticipate the future will survive, while those that stubbornly rest on their laurels will be left behind. The ability to surmount small business challenges is critical to success, and it begins with a strategic plan to overcome market obstacles. To help you plan, the following lists the top 10 issues small business will face in 2014. Are you prepared
It’s still uncertain how the Affordable Care Act is going to affect small businesses, but it’s fair to say you’re going to spend a lot of time, money, or both dealing with it in 2014. How will you manage your healthcare program and expenses without jeopardizing your budget and work time?
2. The talent pool
Even though the nation is dealing with an unemployment crisis, the top talent has little trouble finding gainful employment. Most small businesses acknowledge their success is dependent on the quality of their staff, but with rising healthcare and other costs, how will you keep your top employees happy and prevent them from taking other opportunities?
3. Mobile marketing
If your company hasn’t gone mobile yet, 2014 is the time to do so. More and more customers are relying on their mobile devices for research and purchasing; failing to accommodate that could ultimately lead to failure of your business.
4. A return to print
Many small businesses have ignored print marketing based on a perception that digital marketing is cheaper. While it’s true that print marketing often requires a greater up-front investment, it’s no more expensive than a full-fledged digital marketing campaign. Moreover, print marketing – especially direct mail marketing – continues to yield higher returns and generate greater customer trust than digital marketing efforts. In 2014, consider a return to print marketing – especially if your competitors are ignoring it.
WikiLeaks, Anonymous, Adobe and other recent headline-makers have proven that even the most secure organizations can be compromised. How will you keep your private data secure in 2014?
6. Marketing investment dilemmas
Small business can face a budget crunch when it comes to marketing. Not only should you continue to invest in proven marketing strategies such as print marketing, you also have to keep up with online marketing, social media, and emerging marketing opportunities. How will you stay relevant without breaking the bank in 2014?
It’s easier than ever to start a small business, but it’s also easier than ever to fail. One of the best ways to promote your small business is to specialize in a specific niche. Doing so makes it easier and requires less investment to market and win new customers. It also allows you to charge more for your services. In 2014, will you be a jack of all trades or a sought-after specialist?
Just keeping your head above water is tough for many small businesses, but you also need to find the time and budget to innovate new products and services as well as new marketing strategies. How will you balance your current offering with innovation in 2014?
As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats – perhaps too many, as doing all the work, accounting, troubleshooting, and marketing can wear you thin and present problems with productivity. Seek ways to lessen your workload and increase productivity, such as outsourcing, delegating, and partnering with others in order to increase your profits in 2014.
Time is a constant struggle for small business owners. You need time to operate your business, time for friends and family, and time for you. Find your “me” time in 2014 by developing a strategic approach to overcoming the year’s challenges.