Owning and operating a small business can be stressful.
The 2017/18 SME Research Report by Bstar highlights the three top concerns for business owners.
As a small business owner, do you share these concerns - or are other things keeping you awake at night?
The top concerns for small business owners
1. Business planning
The need for more and better business planning continues to be the main unmet need for SMEs.
The challenge faced by small business owners is where to start, as most do not have any formal training in business strategy.
Consequently, only one in three small business owners do any form of planning, leaving two-thirds unable to prioritise what is strategically important. Instead, many end up stuck in the day-to-day, fire-to-fire, loop.
And, once the challenge of developing a business plan has been addressed, the next challenge is implementing it. Implementation requires appropriate resources (time and money), skills (either internal or external) and accountability (to each other and/or to your business adviser).
2. Protecting the business & family assets
SME owners are increasingly concerned with protecting their business and family assets.
The first step to achieving this is to review current business and personal structures, the assets you hold, and the risks associated with each entity and asset.
Do these structures effectively segment risk and can the risks be mitigated through a restructure or insurance products?
The following outlines other areas of protection available to small business owners and the percentage of SMEs that have implemented these protections:
- Wills (54%)
- Estate Plans (30%)
- Enduring power of attorney (30%)
- Business ownership agreements (18%)
3. Stress and lifestyle
It’s comforting to see that over 86 percent of business owners enjoy the work they do. What’s less comforting is that only 47 percent feel that they spend enough time with their family.
Long working hours and an inability to take holidays is indicative that the business cannot operate efficiently without the owner. In fact, 73 percent feel this way, according to the Bstar report.
In order for small business owners to reduce stress and improve their lifestyles, they must realise the need to work smarter and more efficiently.
Streamlining systems and processes, delegating to staff, and greater use of technology are ways to achieve this. However, most small business owners aren’t dedicating the necessary time to business strategy, with only 31 percent allocating time to regular strategic and business planning.
This is an unfortunate “chicken and egg” situation: business owners need to spend time on the business but are already time-poor from working in the business.
How to overcome the top concerns for small business owners
The common thread between the top three concerns for small business owners is the need for more time.
You need time to think about what you want your business to look like in the future, be it more profitable, more cash-rich, or providing more family time. Maybe it’s a combination of them all.
In order to make this future a reality, you need to make some strategic decisions and take some action to implement the changes.
Bear in mind that failure to create the time for the future invariably results in a future that is time-poor.
If you want to plan out your business future, we run workshops for SME owners to help you build your business plan; we then provide ongoing support, accountability and advice through a monthly or quarter advisory board service.
If you’d like to learn more about how your business can get the support it needs, please contact me.