You may find that being your own boss is extremely rewarding. Starting a business from the ground up takes a lot of hard work, and you’ve been seeing the fruits of your labor. But your success doesn’t come without challenges. Business owners are facing some tough challenges these days, and you yourself may be experiencing some of these growing pains. Here’s a list of the top 5 challenges I’m seeing business owners like yourself facing in today’s economy. Do any of these resonate with you?
Top 5 Challenges Ohio Business Owners Face
1. Hiring and retaining employees
As the economy continues to improve you may be finding it more and more difficult to recruit and hire qualified individuals. This has been a common issue among even the most successful of business owners. They receive employment applications, but many of the applicants are either not qualified for the position or they cannot pass the drug and alcohol tests. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing the light at the end of the proverbially “hiring tunnel” when it comes to finding qualified employees.
Which brings me to the issue of employee retention. This must be a priority for all business owners, as it’s critical to retain your current employee base. In order to retain your employees, you must offer competitive compensation, provide on-going training and make your employees feel appreciated and a part of the business. Remember, there are always other businesses trying to recruit your best employees. So put some time and effort into developing ways to retain your current employee base. You’ll be glad you did. As the economy continues to improve you may be finding it more and more difficult to recruit and hire qualified individuals. This has been a common issue among even the most successful of business owners. They receive employment applications, but many of the applicants are either not qualified for the position or they cannot pass the drug and alcohol tests. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing the light at the end of the proverbially “hiring tunnel” when it comes to finding qualified employees.
2. Understanding Obamacare
At this point, you may be cringing. Obamacare – a term that many business owners would like to ignore, but can’t. This is an area of great complexity that frankly has many unanswered questions or “TBDs.” But it’s important that you stay up-to-date on the ebbs and flows of this ever-changing healthcare reform. There are various provisions under this reform that you should pay attention to and understand how it will affect your business. It’ll be worth your while to work with an expert and someone who is closely following the healthcare reform implementation. My colleague, Joe Popp, JD, LLM, is our firm expert in this area and has written numerous articles on this subject you may want to check out. Don’t wait to get a grasp on Obamacare… learn more about it today.
3. Identifying and evaluating multi-state taxation exposure
As states struggle for revenue, they are becoming more and more aggressive in pursuing businesses that have any connection to their state. You would be surprised at what creates nexus and therefore makes your business subject to tax in that state. We have been doing many nexus studies for our clients to determine where they should be filing state returns. It is important to carefully evaluate your exposure to multi-state taxation since taxes, interest and penalties can be significant.
4. Developing future leaders
Whether you realize it or not, the future of your business depends on how you develop your company’s next generation of leaders. You may often feel that you’re too busy running your business’s day-to-day operations that you fail to recognize that the right people are not in the right places. You may even find that your business’s leadership talent is sorely lacking. That’s why it’s so critical that you take the time to identify and develop your company’s future leaders.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to work “on your business” and not just “in your business.” This notion of working on your business is something that my colleague, Tim McDaniel, CPA/ABV, ASA, CBA, preaches when he meets with clients to discuss their business’s value. Retirement may not be on your radar, or maybe you’re planning to retire in the next couple of years. Whatever the case may be, it’s important for you to consider what your succession plan will look like and who in your company could carry on your business’s legacy.
5. Building lasting relationships with customers and vendors
On the surface this may seem clear, but in reality many businesses don’t take time to build and invest in relationships with their customers and vendors. You may find it easier to focus on your customers because of your extensive sales force, but it’s likely even your customer’s needs and wants often go overlooked. Relationships with your vendors may not be a priority either. It’s critical—especially for the longevity of your company—to put a priority on building customer relationships. It’s also important to keep in contact with and maintain relationships with your vendors. Don’t ever take them for granted. If you find you or your business in a pinch, you might be surprised at how having solid vendor relationships can help you.
Get Help As You Face Business Challenges
On any given day you face many challenges. Some are certainly more important than others are. Think about your business, decide what’s important to you, and then begin a formal process to address your business issues. It takes commitment from you, as the owner, and your management team to address issues and make decisions. If you need someone to bounce ideas off, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Ohio accountants and business consultants stand ready to help you strengthen your business and weather the business storms you will face.