What’s Your Biggest Struggle as a Business Owner?

old-fashioned-soda-shop-counterIf you subscribe to my email list, you'll notice that I ask this question in the first email I send to every subscriber.  I ask them to hit the “reply” button and let me know what's keeping them up at night, what are they really struggling with.

Over the past 12 months I've had just over 1500 people subscribe to my email list.  Just under 150 people took the time to respond to my questions.  For those of you that did, thank you so much for taking the time to do so.

As a small business blog, understanding what small business owners are struggling with in their business helps me to help you…..and for you to help yourself.  Understand and defining your struggles is the first step to overcoming them.

Below are a sampling of some of the replies I received from small business owners.  They represent some of the most often cited struggles I received over the course of the year.  Names have been left out of respect to privacy.


My biggest struggle is being overwhelmed.  I didn't realize I would have to take on so many roles and responsibilities and I feel like it's becoming too much for me to handle, but I can't afford to hire anyone right now.


I can't find any good places to advertise my business.  I don't know how to reach my customers as I feel everything I spend money on is a total waste.


I feel like I'm losing my mind.  I feel like I have a hundred things to do and no time to do any of them.  My biggest struggle is that I have so many things that need to be done and I'm not doing most of them.


I can't find good employees.  Every resume I get, every interview I do, makes me realize that it's very hard to find good people.  I feel like I have too much on my plate but no one to help me.  It's very frustrating.


My biggest struggle is finding financing for my soon to be business. I got turned down by three banks and I'm not sure what to do next.


 My biggest struggle is finding work-life balance.  I feel like my business has taken over my life and that's all I do now.  Even on my days off (if you call it that), I can't stop stressing out over my business and all of the challenges I am facing.


I'm struggling with my cash flow.  Over the past three years, my revenues have slowly declined, but my expenses keep going up.  Without more financing or an upturn in business, I won't be able to stay open for another year.


I'm struggling to find customers.  I'm advertising, networking and trying everything else I can think of, but there aren't enough people coming through the door.  I've been open for 6 months and am getting worried.


Home and work balance.  I have none right now.  I'm working 80+ hours a week just to keep the business above water and it's taking a toll on my family.  I need to figure out a way to spend more time at home.


I'm doing everything myself but have no money to hire anyone.  What do I do?


I don't enough money for marketing.  I've spent so much money advertising over the past year and it's done nothing to bring new business.  I'm at a loss right now as to what to do next.


My biggest struggle is trying to find a manager who will care about my business as much as I do.  I know that's impossible, but I'd love to find someone at least close!


Due to the downturn over the past few years, my revenues have been hurting.  I'm running out of money but the banks won't lend me any.


 My biggest struggle is trying to run this business!


What's the biggest struggle you're facing as a business owner?  How do you plan to tackle this challenge in the coming year?  Feel free to leave it in the comments below, send it to me directly, or reach out to me on Twitter.

Wishing you and your business great success!


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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
6 replies
  1. Sian Phillips
    Sian Phillips says:

    Really interesting to see people’s responses to that question. As a one woman band myself it would be not having enough time. But that’s my 2013 goal – use my time better. Thanks for sharing on Bizsugar.com

  2. Noreen Hughes
    Noreen Hughes says:

    I see a lot of similarities to my struggles on that list, looks like us biz owners have similar struggles. Mine is always how to reach my target market. I’m still trying to find platforms that work for me and my business.

  3. Gary Shouldis
    Gary Shouldis says:

    Time is always a big one for business owners, never enough of it. Prioritizing your time is such an important skill, that and being able to delegate. I hope you hit your goal Sian and thanks for the comments. Cheers to a great 2013!

  4. Gary Shouldis
    Gary Shouldis says:

    Thanks for the comments Noreen. There’s alot of trial and error when you’re trying to find out what marketing works and what doesn’t. It helps when you’re able to speak to business owners with the same audience and find out what works for them. Good luck!

  5. Siedah Mitchum
    Siedah Mitchum says:

    I find this to be a eye opener. We all battle with the same things when it comes to our businesses, no matter what industry. A points were money, reliable help, advertising, and marketing. Following web designers and social media specialist blogs can provide plenty of tips and advice when it comes to marketing online and advertising online. Also, obtaining a mentor can help with the business side of things and there are plenty mentors willing to work with you for FREE! Also, think about joining a group on or offline for support and help.

    It takes time, but there are plenty of resources online to help everyone!

  6. Gary Shouldis
    Gary Shouldis says:

    Your right about finding a good mentor Siedah, they can be invaluable when your starting out in your own business. I think the most important thing to be successful is to always be willing to learn. If you don’t grow personally, your business will never grow. Thanks for participating!

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