Small business is defined as being a privately owned enterprise, partnership, or corporation that has less total assets and revenue than an individual or standard-sized business. In other words, the definition of “small business” means a business with fewer employees than most, with limited trading privileges, and where ownership and control are dispersed among fewer owners. Small businesses are most often located in a metropolitan area and have sales outlets that are found in shopping malls, office buildings, strip malls, and bars. They may be home-based or franchised, but the majority are stand-alone. These businesses vary greatly in size, number of employees, and a variety of products or services offered. Some businesses have sales outlets in multiple locations, while others have one shop in a particular location and do not expand their customer base by selling goods offsite or through catalogue sales.
Businesses categorized as small businesses vary greatly in terms of the products and services offered. While many offer a wide range of goods and services, many also provide the same types of service and use one or two of the following business models: Sole proprietor, partnership, franchisee, cooperative, and independent business. There are many variations among these business models. Many small businesses either use one or more of these business models, while some use none. Of those that use any of these business models, most commonly use one of the following business models: sole proprietor, partnership, franchisee, cooperative, and independent business.
There are several reasons why most small businesses often fail to achieve success. Often, the failure of small businesses is related to poor business management, lack of financial investment, and poor business planning. Poor business management is often caused by poor communication between the owners and staff, poor financial management, and poor planning. Poor business planning results in poor product quality and bad advertising, which lead to poor word-of-mouth advertising, less traffic and customers, and less profit.
Some small businesses may experience significant financial strain because of overhead expenses. In many cases, owners and managers fail to recognize the positive results of their business efforts, due to lack of financial means. Owners often borrow money to expand and grow their business; however, most small businesses have limited or no option but to increase prices to cover costs. Other ways that small businesses may experience financial difficulty are because of poor management of resources (i.e. excessive spending), and/or their inability to obtain credit (which leads to the problem of overcharging for products and services).
Another common issue facing many small businesses is labor force attrition. Many employees are laid off when companies go through major expansions or buyouts. When employees leave, they usually move to other positions at the same company, resulting in attrition and employee turnover. Additionally, when employees leave the company, they usually do not find other employment opportunities in the same area or town, further exacerbating the problem of worker turnover. The problems of attrition and employee turnover often impact the decision of companies to hire and fire employees, as well as their overall productivity and effectiveness. For example, some companies with large fleets of trucks and drivers tend to hire new drivers from the outside, often resulting in poor driving habits, less driving experience, and a lower skill level.
Beyond cost, size, and efficiency issues, there are also other issues that affect the decision of small business owners to open or expand their businesses. Often, these issues are rooted in fear of the perceived risk of investing in a small business startup. Small business startup risks are often associated with inadequate capital, limited exposure to initial start-up costs, unreasonable expectations regarding growth potential, inadequate support from existing staff, lack of access to crucial information and resources, inadequate customer service, and a poor understanding of the local and federal regulations that can impact their business operations. Additionally, these reasons can be compounded by the perception of an existing bureaucracy, or perceived risks associated with an unfamiliar local business market.
One way to address many of these perceived risks is to have a strategic plan in place prior to starting a small business. In order for any small firm to successfully compete in today’s business environment, they need a sound business strategy in place before they begin operations. Although many small firms have good ideas, it is not enough to simply launch a website and hope to succeed.
While these small businesses are often the most successful, there are also a great deal of failures, and unfortunately, these are all too common among the small business sector. For this reason, when planning your local business startup strategy, it is important to include a comprehensive plan that addresses both the short-term and the long-term business development goals of the company. Regardless of whether your business will be launched online or off, it is important to ensure that you select a business model that can help your small local businesses succeed in today’s marketplace.