What are the main struggles and issues most entrepreneurs face? In my experience, there are several:
1. Death by ducks: the tyranny of the immediate. Too many things to do, no one to do them ( or the inability to delegate ) and the resultant constant pressure to be productive in the face of an onslaught of “immediates.”
2. Marketing and sales: the over-riding obsession that most business owners must have to succeed. Nothing happens until something is sold.
3. Back office operations: paperwork, regulatory filings, accounting and the like are constant drains on productivity, but are necessary for survival.
4. Personnel: hiring the right people is incredibly difficult. It’s even harder to keep them, and there is a constant drive to find people that can and want to work. Far too many employees are just marginal.
5. Quality control: things go straight downhill if you don’t watch each element of quality. Pre-sale, production, delivery, and post-sale are all prone to quality control breakdowns, either through benign inattention or indifference. This is especially true in service organizations, where quality may be difficult to accurately measure.
6. Cash flow issues: most small businesses struggle with some form of seasonal cash flow issue; some are perennially short of cash, due to underfunding. Others confuse cash flow for profits.
Business planning can be helpful in each of these areas. We’ve got some material that covers that, entrepreneurial life issues, and accounting/reporting system issues at CEAnow.org — these resources may be helpful.