10 Concerns of Small Business Owners
Posted Friday, Nov 30, 2012 by
Many Americans dream of starting their own business. Having a business gives you chance to take control of your destiny and to call the shots and, we all hope, to make more money.
But no matter how successful your small business may become, you will always have things to worry about. Here are 10 issues every small business owner always needs to keep in mind:
1. Cash Flow. This refers to the speed at which money moves in and out of your company. You could make $100,000 annually, but if all that money arrived in one lump sum at the end of December, it wouldn’t have done you any good during the previous year. As a business owner, you want income flowing steadily and predictably week after week — with more money flowing in than flowing out.
2. Employee Productivity. No matter how many employees you have — one or several dozen — you need to make sure each person is contributing more to your company than he/she is taking out in salary and benefits. An individual’s value can often be difficult to pin down, especially if that person is in a support position that doesn’t contribute directly to your company’s bottom line. And some value, like loyalty and reliability, you can’t put on a spreadsheet.
3. Employee Retention. As a business owner, you want to hire employees who do good work and stay. Hiring and training new people is very expensive. Having a “revolving door” also negatively impacts morale and tends to lower overall productivity. Paying a competitive salary and benefits is just one way to keep good people. Other ways include giving employees more freedom, responsibility and, yes, praise and recognition.
4. Taxes. There are many kinds of taxes small businesses have to pay. You have taxes on income, of course, but also payroll taxes on your employees and, if you run a retail business, sales taxes. (Sales taxes are paid by your customers, but you have to make sure the money actually gets to your state government.) When running a business, you must make sure you have cash on hand to pay these taxes when they are due.
5. Worker’s Compensation. This is insurance that covers employees who get injured on the job. The cost of this insurance varies from state to state. It’s another expense you have to add to your monthly operating budget.
6. Health Insurance. If you’re just starting out in business, the good news is, even under the new Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), you aren’t required to offer your employees health insurance. (The mandate only applies to companies with 50 or more employees.) The bad news is that if you don’t offer health insurance, you probably won’t attract the best people to work for you, and those people you do hire may be more vulnerable to illness, which can hurt your productivity. So even if you don’t have to offer health insurance, you may want to.
7. Regulations. There are dozens — no, hundreds — of local, state and federal laws that control what businesses can and cannot do. And they change all the time. As a business owner, you need to know what these regulations are, what changes are on the horizon, and how to successfully manage your business activities within these limits.
8. Fuel and Utility Costs. The cost of energy is always changing. Depending on the kind of business you run, this can seriously impact your profitability. As a business owner, you need to keep a close eye on fuel and energy costs and find ways to protect yourself against sudden jumps in these critical expenses.
9. The Competition. No matter how big or small your business is, competition is always a concern. You have to know who your competitors are and then keep a close eye on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Your goal is not to always offer the lowest price (that’s often a quick route to bankruptcy), but to offer a product or service that provides superior value to your customers, cost notwithstanding.
10. Balancing Your Life. Owning a business takes focus, commitment and sacrifice. Sometime the hours involved can take a toll on your health, your family, and even your sanity. Don’t let your business run you. Be sure to balance your business with outside interests, including friends, hobbies, recreation and, of course, those you love.
Get Your Accounting Degree from Everest University Online
If you have or hope to have a business of your own, having a degree in accounting will give you the skills and insights you need to manage money and deal with many of the concerns listed above. You can earn that Accounting associate degree or bachelor’s degree from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. Convenient and comprehensive, Everest’s online accounting degree programs are designed for people who have jobs or other obligations that make going to a traditional brick-and-mortar school difficult. You can take your online accounting classes during evenings, on weekends, or whenever else it’s convenient. Proceed at your own pace. Learn by doing through Everest’s “hands-on” educational approach.
After graduation, you can get additional support from Everest’s Career Services professionals. They can help you with everything from resume writing to setting up interviews with local employers.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.