It certainly feels like businesses and entrepreneurs have all faced more than enough challenges over the last couple of years to last us a lifetime. Since March 2020 business owners have weathered an unprecedented storm, and now entrepreneurs are finally looking ahead with cautious optimism at the spring and the rest of 2022 to come.
For anyone who has been waiting patiently for things to return to something approaching normal to launch their own business, this feels like the time when we can move forward decisively and with confidence. Meanwhile, every entrepreneur who has been doing their best to keep their heads above water and just make it to the end of the month can finally think about taking some of those bigger steps towards growth.
However, we have all been thrown enough curveballs in recent months to know that only a fool would assume that we are in for nothing but smooth sailing for the rest of the year, or even a smooth 2023. Businesses have been through an incredibly rocky season thanks to recent events. But there are far more challenges out there which go beyond the pandemic. What’s more, there are many challenges out there that go beyond our professional lives.
Every entrepreneur knows that the line between personal and professional can get a little blurry sometimes. It is only natural given that your work is your passion project, but what that means is that we must look at a bigger picture when it comes to anticipating challenges. With that in mind, we have put together a detailed guide to the biggest professional and personal challenges that you could be facing this spring and the rest of the year, and how you can keep your business moving forward.
The Office Vs Remote Work Question Needs A Definitive Answer
When office buildings closed their doors back in March 2020, a lot of us assumed that this was a very temporary situation and that we would all be back at our desks in a matter of weeks. Now, the discussion about whether or not businesses should bring their employees back into the office is ongoing around the world, and the issue is continuing to cause workers to make some big decisions about whether they want to stay with their current companies. The question of whether the so-called Great Resignation has been exaggerated may well be asked, but as a business owner the office question is one that you are going to have to answer sooner rather than later.
There are obviously several benefits to having a centralised office, ranging from collaboration to having somewhere to bring potential clients. However, we are increasingly seeing that the benefits of remote working may outweigh them. As the technology to facilitate this way of doing business continues to improve and workers become more comfortable with this new normal, we can start to take advantage of the flexibility that comes with flexible working hours and the ability to hire team members from around the country and beyond. If you are unwilling to give up the brick-and-mortar office entirely, then you could always consider committing to a hybrid working strategy which could be the best choice for worker satisfaction in the long run. A few years ago the debate was centralized offices vs coworking spaces and now the question is hybrid working or remote work vs centralized workplaces.
Cybersecurity Challenges Are Going Nowhere
One of the biggest stories to come out of the last couple of years has been the shocking rise in cybercrime statistics. Given that businesses and customers had to suddenly pivot to doing all of their business online, it is perhaps not surprising that there were a lot of people out there who saw an opportunity, but the sheer scale of the issue is staggering. Now, over the last few months we have seen governments around the world commit to new measures to crack down on cybercrime, but the experts have warned that we should not expect this rising tide to die down any time soon.
As a business owner, you are in a particularly vulnerable position. You have your own financial data and information to worry about as well as those of your customers and clients. You also need to consider that your employees may not be as aware of these issues as you are, and if they are working from home then they may not have the proper security set-up on their own computers. Hiring an IT specialist to talk you through the necessary cybersecurity steps is necessary for any business operating in 2022, and you also need to educate your employees.
You Need To Watch Your Finances
When you run your own business, it can be all too easy to get swept up in your work commitments and take your eye off the ball when it comes to your personal responsibilities. But with things as uncertain and chaotic as they continue to be, you cannot afford to lose track of your own finances and your personal budget and responsibilities. If you feel like your own money management is starting to slip away from you, then it is time to take a step back and bring yourself back up to speed.
Some of these steps may sound a little basic, especially when you are running your own company, but the best way to get a handle on your finances is start over from scratch. Sit down with your bank statements and go through the last few months of spending. Make sure that you understand where every dollar and cent is going, from the big payments such as mortgages and energy bills all the way down to those drinks after work and online impulse purchases.
If you are an entrepreneur currently working off any outstanding debts, find out where you are with your repayments and see if you could save some money by paying any of them off early. You also need to make sure that you are taking care of your taxes properly. With so much going on right now, you do not want to find yourself in a protracted discussion with the authorities about how much you may or may not owe. With this Ontario tax calculator, you can find out what you should be paying. Wealthsimple has a range of fantastic options to help you to invest, trade, send money and grow your wealth earned from entrepreneurship.
Climate Change Is At The Top Of The Agenda
If there was one issue that pushed the pandemic off the front pages over the last couple of years, it was climate change. It has been impossible to ignore the extreme weather events, the rise in record-breaking temperatures and the dire warnings from experts. While the world’s governments have announced that they will be taking measures to help avoid disaster, it is up to all of us to think about how we can creative positive change. We all want to make sure that our businesses are still around for years to come, and we want to make sure that we can be a part of the solution. As business owners, we have a responsibility to look at everything from our individual carbon footprint to the materials that you use in your packaging. Talk to your suppliers and business partners to find out what steps they are taking to be more environmentally friendly.
Talk to your customers and clients about what steps they would like to see you taking to be greener. Encourage your employees to bring ideas to you and think about what kind of office-based initiatives you could employ, such as offering incentives for people taking public transport to work instead of their cars. Something as simple as making sure that you recycle your electronic waste by donating it to a charity or a school will make a big difference, especially given the massive e-waste problem. It may start with little changes, but they will add up to something more significant for problem-solving entrepreneurs.
Facing Shortages And Rising Prices
When it comes to challenges facing businesses, this is one of the most pressing and urgent that we are all facing. There have been stories from around the world about shortages on everything from supplies to supermarket shelves to the workforce. Energy shortages have caused major problems for businesses, and prices are rising drastically. Inflation is running rampant so cash on hand is losing value fast. As a business owner, you are going to find that these issues are going to start to cut into your profit margins. Prices will be going up, so entrepreneurs need to think about how you can best mitigate this by providing both quality assurance and excellent customer service.
If delivery is a component of your business, then look for a courier service that can guarantee prompt and careful deliveries that customers can track themselves. Think about bringing in a customer service manager to ensure that any complaints or queries are handled quickly and politely. You also need to maintain open lines of communication with your suppliers and any business partners so that you will be alerted to any delays or other issues ahead of time.
Overcome Obstacles For Entrepreneurial Excellence
It’s never ever an easy time to be an entrepreneur, but spring 2022 will be a tougher time than most eras for businesses. Keep these top entrepreneurial tips in mind so you can survive and thrive in the new economy.