5 Common Challenges Small Business Owners Face

When we think of CEOs and business owners, we often think of the successful and accomplished leaders who were able to beat out the competition and transform their industry. However, most small businesses are not successful overnight and in every case, business owners and their companies will need to overcome a multitude of hurdles to reach their goals. A majority of businesses will face the same challenges. Here are five of the most common challenges small business owners will face when running their company.

Getting Started

Whether it’s due to a fear of failure, inadequate planning, or wrong timing, one of the biggest challenges small business owners face is getting started on business ownership. Cold feet is rarely attributed to an external circumstance. Rather, internal fears such as imposter syndrome, are usually at the heart of the issue. Potential owners will need to conquer these fears and take a step of courage to get started on their business.

Credit and Financing

Business financing is another challenge for many owners. There are plenty of banks and lenders to choose from, but because each institution will have its own qualifications, owners will have to deal with several rejected applications, especially if their credit is poor. Personal and business credit plays a large role in eligibility. Therefore, it is important to have stellar credit and if needed, business owners will need to work on building their credit.

If owners have a hard time finding a bank to approve of their application, they'll deal with a demand on their time and resources. However, small business owners can look to alternative online lenders to see if there are more opportunities to qualify for their loan.

Hiring and Retaining Talent

A common problem every business faces is hiring and retaining talent. According to, the average employee turnover rate is 15% a year, with the highest level of turnover in regions where unemployment is the lowest. Why is this? Many times voluntary turnover is attributed to domestic circumstances beyond the employer’s control. High performance employees tend to contribute to the turnover rate, and employers will need to dedicate their resources to retaining these employees.


Strappy business owners who multi-task several roles will need to have impeccable time management to keep burnout at bay. In a survey of 326 business owners, 25% of business owners felt moderately burned out, while 3% felt strongly burned out. Chronic stress and high demand can contribute to the onset of burnout symptoms. Symptoms can include frequent headaches and pains, changes in eating or sleeping habits, frequent illness, mental and physical exhaustion, as well as a number of behavioral symptoms.

Lack of innovation

Finally, company owners also struggle with the lack of innovation. Even when a company is doing fairly well for a season, the challenge to level-up or maintain a level of success can result in frustration. This is especially true if a company loses the drive for continual creativity and innovation. Even after one success, a company will need to find ways to win and reach their goals. Sophomore successes can be difficult to create without negative feedback from loyal customers. In order to win, business owners will need a strong creative team that understands their market. One way to inspire new strategies is to examine business case studies from companies in other industries. Blogs such as Alabrava feature articles focusing on case studies on companies such as Jetblue, Subway, and other emerging brands.

Young companies and business owners need to be conscious of the various challenges that will come their way. Whatever the hurdle may be, business owners will benefit from the various solutions and resources that are available out there.