Can your small business face the worst and come out the other side?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

In any business, you have to get used to adversity from time to time. There is no business owner, and no individual business, that has not experienced a spell where things are going wrong more often than they’re going right. It’s frustrating when it happens, but the truth is that obstacles simply have to be overcome.

That is, of course, the absolute epitome of “easier said than done”, but it applies no matter the size of the problem. In your time running a business, you’ll likely have to face the following at least once: a temporary cash flow crisis; the loss of a valued staff member; arguments between colleagues; angry customers wanting recourse. Sometimes, these will all happen at once.

Sometimes, problems will come along that make all of the above seem like the smallest molehill. And while the standard problems can be the making of a good entrepreneur, there are some problems which will need you to become an excellent entrepreneur to overcome them.

Natural disasters

Depending on where your business is located, you may find yourself at the mercy of occasional freak weather events or earthquakes. Sometimes, they’ll be more than occasional. It is essential to have drilled the best practices for disaster recovery with your staff, as disasters can leave you with limited access to your office, vital equipment and records.

Data breaches

Part of being a selling business is retaining records for customers who have bought from you in the past. This means that those customers are trusting you to keep their data – which may include address and financial details – safe from people with ill intent. Falling victim to a data breach may be awful news to you, but your customers will be even more horrified, and they will blame you. You will need to pacify them and take remedial action; and do both promptly.

Large “predator” competitors

We’ve all seen a movie or two which feature a small independent business whose livelihood is placed under threat by a chain store that comes to town. In Hollywood, the payoff tends to be positive, but for real businesses this can be a nightmare, with both customers and staff at risk of being poached by the competitor.

There is no way of guaranteeing a happy ending here, but it’s a good idea to lay the groundwork by paying a competitive wage and offering personalized service. On top of this, be an enthusiastic participant in community events; make people want to come to you and not the predator company.

A pandemic

This one, at least, is a situation that we’ve gained direct recent experience of! Smaller businesses have been made very vulnerable by the pandemic, but those who have fared the best are the companies who have adjusted quickly, offering home delivery and takeout service. Get involved in “Shop Local” initiatives as Christmas approaches, too, as more and more people seek to keep their money in the community after a harrowing year for us all.

Nothing can ever be guaranteed in business, but finding ways to keep your business afloat in the worst of times can be the making of you as an entrepreneur, so always be ready to make bold decisions and you can really boost your business.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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