Owning your own business has been an important part of the American dream for decades. Many people dream of pursuing their passions and seeing the pride of a business they’ve built themselves.
That being said, owning your own business is far from all sunshine and roses.
Being a small business owner is hard, and 2022 is bringing with it a whole new set of challenges. Read on to learn about some of the small business challenges entrepreneurs can expect to face this year.
Supply Chain Delays
Of course, it should come as no surprise that one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners this year is supply chain shortages. There has been all manner of shortages for the last two years as the pandemic has thrown our world into chaos.
Resources have been redirected to fight the pandemic. Manufacturers have been unable to hit production targets due to COVID absences. And new trade regulations have slowed down imports.
Because certain materials and products have become harder to get hands on, their prices have gone up. Business owners may not be able to meet their own production goals or may be forced to raise prices on their products. It may also be impossible to get products that would normally be in high demand with your customer base.
Remote Work Setups
The pandemic has also left many small business owners trying to figure out how to manage remote work setups. These arrangements initially came as the result of nationwide lockdowns at the beginning of 2020. But demand for work-from-home setups has stayed high, especially with the onset of the Omicron variant.
Managing remote work setups may mean providing your employees with computer equipment, cameras, and so on. This can get expensive, especially for small business owners who are working on a tight budget. You may also need to set up team organization tools to keep up with the progress everyone in your group is making.
Less Foot Traffic
We’ve seen customer foot traffic decline drastically in the last few years, and that trend isn’t likely to stop in 2022. Although some people are returning to life as normal, many others are still choosing to stay home. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, you may not be able to rely as much on foot traffic to get new customers in the door.
Less foot traffic has often meant a downturn in revenue for small business owners. But some entrepreneurs have gotten creative with how they keep business growth going.
Many restaurants have begun offering local delivery or curbside pickup. Some retail owners have added curbside pickup options, too. Other entrepreneurs have moved to online storefronts or have added digital offerings.
When you do get people into your brick-and-mortar store, there are a lot more factors to worry about these days. In addition to making a good impression, you have to decide on what level of safety measures you want to enforce. And in between each customer interaction, you may need to sanitize common areas.
The CDC still recommends everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, wear masks indoors to limit the spread of COVID-19. You may also decide to run fever checks at the door or ask customers to sanitize their hands upon entering. And it’s a good practice to wipe down checkout counters, door handles, display tables, and other high-touch areas about once an hour.
Labor shortages are one of the most persistent problems plaguing small business owners today. We’ve lost nearly 850,000 people to COVID in the last two years, which has taken a huge toll on the workforce. And oftentimes, employers find themselves shorthanded when their employees catch even mild forms of COVID-19 and have to be quarantined.
Other less scrupulous companies have also found that people aren’t willing to risk their lives for jobs that don’t even cover their basic expenses. If you’re having trouble attracting talented employees, it may be a good idea to take a look at your workplace policies and compensation. Many companies that have raised their starting pay have found themselves flooded with applicants.
More Technological Needs
Many small business owners have found that their technological needs are greater than ever before. In order to keep sales active, many entrepreneurs have had to launch e-commerce platforms. Others have upgraded their video setups in an attempt to create more engaging content for their followers.
Depending on what industry you work in, staying competitive may be a matter of having the latest and greatest in technology. New devices are faster, offer more features, and grab customer attention. It’s a good idea to look at the cost of upgrading to these devices and estimate how much extra business they’ll bring you before you decide to purchase.
As the demand for newer technology increases, budget allowances are decreasing. Many of the factors we’ve already discussed have cut small business revenues significantly. Increased compensation costs for employees can cut revenues even more, and it can be hard to stay competitive and still make ends meet.
When managing a tighter budget, many small business owners find it helpful to think outside of the box. Expanding how you connect with customers and meet their needs can help you tap into new industry segments. And adjusting how you run your business can help you to trim some unnecessary expenses and free up space in your budget.
More Demand for Content Marketing
Social media marketing has completely transformed the face of small business marketing in the modern age. Not only is advertising much more affordable and accessible, but it can happen through more organic channels. And in recent years, customers have started to look for more content marketing from their favorite brands.
Consumers these days don’t want to hear a sales pitch; they want to get information that provides value to them. Starting a blog, a video channel, or a podcast is a great way to connect with your customers and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Once you’ve built a solid trust with your customers, you’ll be in a better position to convince them to buy your products.
More Calls for Sustainability
As the climate crisis has become more serious, consumers have started paying closer attention to the impact their purchases have on the environment. They want to make sure they’re buying from companies that make sustainability and ethical production a priority. For many small business owners, this had added another level of complexity to their operations.
Many entrepreneurs have started offering products made using sustainable and ethical practices.
They may focus on finding suppliers who harvest materials from sustainable sources. They might also consider changing manufacturing practices. Some are working to offset the climate impact of the shipping process.
As you work to make these changes, listen for feedback from your customer base about the issues they care most about.
Greater Focus on Work-Life Balance
In the midst of all these new challenges for 2022, one of the big struggles entrepreneurs face is establishing a good work-life balance. In the last few years, we’ve all become more aware of burnout and how much it impacts our lives. We’ve discovered that working 24/7 simply is not sustainable in the long run, and we need to find a better balance.
Creating positive work-life balance can mean delegating tasks to trusted employees. You may also need to set stricter business hours for yourself. It may mean turning off email notifications on your phone, prioritizing where you need to spend your time, and making self-care a priority.
Although this can seem like a challenge at first glance, over time, this balance will become one of your strongest assets as a business owner.
Learn to Handle Small Business Challenges
Being a small business owner has never been easy, but 2022 is bringing with it a whole new set of challenges. Entrepreneurs are carrying a heavier workload than ever before. Maintaining a strong work-life balance is key for any small business owner who wants to succeed this year.
If you’d like to learn more about small business challenges, check out the rest of our site at Hummel Group. We provide the benefits entrepreneurs need, including commercial insurance, financial services, and more. Get a quote from us now and discover how we can save you money with the insurance solutions you need.