Running a business is never going to be easy, yet thousands of people decide that it’s exactly the right path for them every year. Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to set up and launch a business – of course, that doesn’t mean running it will be simple. The truth is that more businesses fail than succeed, and if you want to be a success, you need to think very carefully about every single aspect of what you’re doing and ensure you have measures in place.
This means considering the threats that your business might face as well as the things you need to do to grow your enterprise. This former idea is something that a lot of businesspeople shy away from; they would rather not think about the potential problems and focus on the positive side of things instead. However, ignoring the threats your business could face won’t stop them from happening and might even make them more likely to happen as you won’t have put any measures in place to prevent them. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest threats your business could have to deal with so you understand more about the issues and can do something about them before it’s too late.
The entire reason for starting your business in the first place, and the reason that businesses exist, is to make money. Even if you don’t like to think about your startup in these terms, the fact is that if you’re not making a profit, you’re failing, and if you’re failing because you’re not making any money, you will eventually have to close up your business for good. The issue then becomes any debts you have incurred; it might be that you will still owe the money (this will depend on what type of business you had and what its legal formation was).
At worst, this could financially ruin you personally, making it hard to get credit or to service your current responsibilities. Even at its best, it means you’ll have to find a job or start all over again.
This is why it’s so important to ensure you have a good budget in place for your business. This can’t be something you put together in a few minutes with guesswork; your business budget has to be precise, and it has to be detailed. You need to know how much you can spend on marketing, outsourcing, staffing, premises, stock, and so much more. If you can create a good budget and stick to it, this is half the issue dealt with.
You may also need to borrow money for your business, and a business plan will help you here. You’ll be able to determine how much you need to borrow, what you have to use it for, and how you’ll pay it back.
Finally, you’ll need to consider your cash flow. Putting systems in place to ensure you invoice correctly is a good start, but this won’t make people pay you; sometimes, payments will be late. What is your contingency for when this happens so you can still pay the bills?
Laws And Regulations
When you first set up your business, you might not realize just how many laws and regulations there are regarding business in general and your sector in particular. However, the fact is that there are lots of regulations that you need to keep on top of and ensure you are following if you want your business to survive. Any issues in this regard could result in a large fine – which can be hugely detrimental to a small business, especially one just starting out – or the closure of the business. In some cases, it could even mean prison for the business owner, depending on what law was broken.
This is why it’s a good idea to read up on business law before you start. You want to make sure you are doing all you can to protect yourself, your business, and the people working from you and buying from you. The last thing you’ll want is for all your hard work, time, and money to be wasted because of a simple error that results in a big problem with the law.
Attracting And Retaining Talent
Perhaps you don’t intend to hire any staff; you are going to do everything yourself and that way, you can keep control of your business. If that’s what you want to do, that’s not a problem – it’s your choice. However, it’s worth noting that if you stick with this plan, your business won’t grow as much as it could. Again, if this is not an issue for you and you simply want to do the work you have time for, you certainly don’t have to hire anyone.
Other business owners, however, might not look at things in this way. They might plan to grow their business to become a much bigger entity, and therefore they decide that hiring people is the best way to do that. Yet this can be a threat to your business, and you need to do it in the right way.
As soon as you make your first hire, you are making your business a little more vulnerable. This is because you will be delegating some of your tasks to someone else, and if they don’t do the work in the way you need them to, this could cause customer dissatisfaction, for example. Or perhaps it’s a financial issue; once you hire someone, you need to keep paying them, and you need to consider additional benefits and taxes. This could be a threat if you take someone on too soon.
Another issue is finding the right people in the first place, and then, when you do, it’s keeping them with you and ensuring they stay loyal. A lot of this will have to do with your company culture, but it will also depend on the work you are asking them to do and the money you’re paying them for that work.
If you feel it’s time to hire someone, make sure you have weighed up all the pros and cons before you make such a big commitment. It could be that outsourcing some processes is the best step to take first – you’ll still free up time, you’ll still be paying money, but it won’t be such a big step right from the off.
In the past, cybersecurity would not have been an issue at all – a few decades ago, it simply did not exist. Today, however, it’s potentially one of the biggest threats to businesses in existence. This is because we rely so much on technology to run and grow our businesses that everything is digitized (in many cases, at least). Therefore, if a cybercriminal were to breach your defenses, they could steal customer data (leading to ID theft and bank fraud, for example), banking details for the business, and much more. Hackers could also plant viruses that would be sent out – without anyone’s knowledge – to customers and suppliers, causing damage in that way too. It might even be that these viruses shut down your systems so you can’t work and can’t make any money.
The very fact that we rely so heavily on computing and technology to run businesses these days is a vulnerability in itself.
This is something you must take seriously as a business owner, and it’s worth putting measures in place right from the start to ensure your data is kept as safe as possible. This can feel daunting, but there is information available to help you. You can even take an online cybersecurity master’s degree to give you a solid understanding of the issues and what you can do to prevent them from causing problems in your business – click here to find out more. In this way, you’ll not only be able to put specific – workable – measures in place, but you can also easily train any staff you might take on to do the same.
Cybersecurity is a big issue in the modern age, and if you don’t get your defenses right, it could lead to the downfall of your business, so it’s definitely something that can be a big threat, and it’s definitely something you need to pay attention to.
The Speed Of Change
It might sound strange to say it, but the reality is that the world changes quickly, and this can be a big threat to any business, big or small. You might think you have an excellent idea that people will love, and with market research, that proves to be the case. However, how long will that need last? Could changes in technology, law, or just the way people think mean that your once brilliant business idea becomes obsolete?
This is a problem that business owners often have to contend with. One way to deal with it is to do nothing at all and just hope that your concepts and products don’t suffer when change comes about. However, this is not a good idea – it could mean you lose sales without really understanding what is happening, and by the time you do know, it will be too late.
Another option is to stay as up to date with technology as possible. Sign up for newsletters, read articles, and attend conferences. This will help you stay ahead when it comes to what you might need for your business.
It’s not just technology, of course; attitudes change too. This is why it’s worth asking for feedback on a continuous basis and making changes when necessary to keep up with societal views.