Part 1 – The Good (can you guess who it is from the picture!?)
You can jump to Part 2 – The Bad – over here.
When running a small business, you have to expect the unexpected and prepare for the unforeseeable.
It can be both gratifying and exasperating at the same time!
This article will cover off the quirks of running a small business from best to worst, then move on to explain how business owners can deal with surprises alongside the rapidly evolving business landscape.
Let’s start with the good news.
It’s true, the landscape has evolved and new technologies and globalisation have hit small businesses harder than others.
Small businesses lack the resources that larger companies have to help them remain significant and competitive.
But something else is changing. There is increasing support for small business owners who are trying to grow their company.
Clusters are groups of large and small businesses, research labs, universities and other organisations that work in the same sector and generally in the same area.
Policies promoting their creation and improvement have been around since the late 1990s.
The idea is that a ‘Cluster’ creates a network of business owners who share industry-related knowledge and who, thanks to their proximity, create an innovation hub that attracts the right talent.
Soon-to-be business owners can figure out where to start their business based on business cluster locations.
With this map of UK business clusters, for example, you can choose your sector and filter the results to decide the best location for your business.
Of course, you don’t need to be conveniently based next to a cluster to take advantage of the wealth of information that united entrepreneurs can generate.
Especially not in the age of information.
Online, someone’s always there to give you a word of advice.
In fact, online communities also exist that work a bit like clusters, albeit they’re virtual and can often be unofficial.
You’ll usually find them in the form of forums or blogs, where you can find a community that resonates with your business and join to share ideas, ask questions and pick up information that like-minded professionals have to offer.
Some of the notable online communities include:
This community is an active message board with insights on opening and managing a small business, taking care of accounting and taxes, payroll and human resources, financing, and much more.
The forums on the StartupNation website encourage active group discussions with other business owners and entrepreneurs sharing tips and valuable advice. Simply enter a keyword and find what you’re looking for.
This business social network is useful for more than just finding skilled workers and promoting your business. LinkedIn groups can also be effective forms of support.
Every day, there are professionals in these groups asking and answering questions that deal with the tribulations of their professions and how to avoid them.
Join a group and have a look at what other business owners face, or ask a question yourself.
There are groups for every industry and sector, but if you don’t find one that suits your needs, consider building a group of your own.
Despite not being specifically for business owners, Quora is a treasure trove of information and knowledgeable individuals dying to answer your questions.
But use Quora with caution – self-promoting answers aren’t rare.