A guest post by Gloria Martinez pf Womenled.org (gloriamartinez@womenled.org)

No business is perfect, but it’s important to identify and resolve any financial and operational weaknesses before they cause irreparable damage. By taking a proactive approach to problem-solving, small business owners can keep their businesses afloat — and even thrive — for years to come.

Old Fashioned Marketing Strategies 

One of the most common small business weaknesses is outdated marketing. In today’s fast-paced, digital world, customers expect businesses to be visible and active online. If your website is outdated or your social media presence is limited, it’s time to make some changes. Hire a digital marketing agency or invest in some DIY marketing courses to get up to speed on the latest trends and implement them into your marketing ASAP.

Unsuccessful Products

Another common issue facing small businesses is products that sell poorly. If you’ve noticed that certain products in your inventory aren’t moving, it’s time to take action. Conduct market research to see if there’s still a demand for the product or if it needs to be updated. You may also want to consider running a promotion or sale on the item to boost sales.

Failures in Customer Service

Another weakness that can sink a small business is inadequate customer service. In today’s competitive landscape, customers have high expectations for service and they’re not afraid to take their business elsewhere if they’re not satisfied. According to SuperOffice, to avoid losing customers, make sure your team is properly trained on how to handle customer inquiries and complaints. You should also consider investing in customer relationship management (CRM) software to help you keep track of your customer interactions.

Having the Wrong Business Designation

Another issue that can cause problems for small businesses is an incorrect business designation. For example, if you’re operating as a sole proprietorship but should be an LLC or corporation, you could be putting yourself at risk for personal liability. LLCs are a favorite for many small businesses because they are easy to establish and they offer both liability protection and important tax benefits. It’s important to consult with an attorney or accountant to ensure you’re operating under the correct business designation.

Problems With Operations

Another common small business weakness is operational inefficiencies. If your team isn’t working together as efficiently as possible, it could be costing you time and money. Frevvo suggests that you take some time to assess your current processes and look for ways to streamline them. You may also want to invest in project management software or hire a consultant to help you identify and resolve any operational issues.

Internal Communications Issues

Poor internal communication can also be a major weakness for small businesses. If employees aren’t communicating effectively, it can lead to misunderstandings, missed deadlines, and even conflicts between team members. To avoid these problems, invest in communication training for your employees or hire a consultant to help improve communication within your organization.

Disorganized Financial Recordkeeping 

You must keep on top of your finances at all times. This can be a lot to manage, but it’s important to stay organized and keep good financial records. Doing so will help you keep track of your expenses, monitor your cash flow, and make it easier to prepare your taxes. 

If you need to organize financial records at your business, using PDFs is an easy and efficient way to do so. A PDF provides an accessible file format for you and other members of the team to be able to quickly find, store, and share data. It also allows important documents to be digitally signed with a quick click for added security. Additionally, if multiple documents need to be merged into one PDF or separated into different files, a PDF splitter can help manage this process quickly and easily — you can accomplish this by using this tool. Utilizing PDFs for your business’ organization needs is a great way to save both time and energy.

Engage in Honest and Proactive Evaluation

As you can see, there are many potential weaknesses that can affect small businesses. It is important that you take an honest look at aspects of your business like your customer service, business designation, and financial software to see if it is truly meeting your needs. By taking a proactive approach to problem-solving, you can overcome these challenges and keep your business afloat — and even thriving — for years to come!

By John Mecke

John is a 25 year veteran of the enterprise technology market. He has led six global product management organizations for three public companies and three private equity-backed firms. He played a key role in delivering a $115 million dividend for his private equity backers – a 2.8x return in less than three years. He has led five acquisitions for a total consideration of over $175 million. He has led eight divestitures for a total consideration of $24.5 million in cash. John regularly blogs about product management and mergers/acquisitions.