There has been a huge influx of new startups during the pandemic. Many people were forced out of their traditional jobs and given pandemic relief funds that were just pulling at their creative strings. This small capital allowed many entrepreneurs to have the courage to take the plunge and start their own business. According to Venture Forward, Americans created 2.8 million MORE online “microbusinesses” in 2020 than in 2019. The term microbusiness refers to small businesses that employ a small number of people. Microbusinesses usually have fewer than 10 employees and started their enterprise with a very small amount of capital.
With the increase of so many small online enterprises, our government leaders are taking note and finding ways to add this workforce to their employment numbers. Once the industry is recognized as a vital piece to American employment, government access to additional grants and support will be more readily available to support and train them. Until then, what are these businesses needing most in a post pandemic economy? How is inflation and unemployment impacting their day-to-day operations? Where are these business owners accessing the training they need, now?
Focus Your Training Needs
These entrepreneurs are no different than most seasoned entrepreneurs. They began their business out of a personal passion. Their small business isn’t just a passing of time. Their needs evolve and change as their businesses grow. The biggest needs facing these small business entrepreneurs is access to training, capital and a broadband system that is accessible and affordable. Like most small business owners, when most of your hours in the day are given to survival of the business, where and how do you fit additional training and capital gains into your business? Knowing where to get access to training that is affordable and focusing that training in the areas that will impact your business the most is key. So, before you go looking for a broad “training for small businesses,” let’s discuss some areas to focus your search.
No longer just a large corporate issue. Compliance training will cover taxation and licensing for your state. You’ll learn about environmental laws that may impact your business as well. Start with your local government in your town and your Chamber of Commerce for access to local programs and training for startups. The Small Business Administration is always a great resource as well. Small Business Administration (sba.gov)
At Localmize, as Digital Marketers, we’ve spoken at length of the importance of continued marketing during a recession in our blogs. Running a Business During an Economic Downturn – Week One | Localmize The importance of marketing and a marketing understanding cannot be overstated. You can pay a marketing company to handle your marketing, but you still should invest in yourself through Marketing Training so that you can help focus those efforts. You can ask the questions and determine where your marketing budget is best served so that you understand your target audiences.
3. Customer Service
While many may say Customer Service is a dying art form, it doesn’t have to be, and consumers will always remember a great customer service experience. You may even think that your customer service skills are on point because of your beaming personality. That may be true, but training in customer service will give you the tools necessary to handle “that” customer. You know the one, the one you will never make happy, the one that just wants to have conflict with anyone, and you were in the right place at the right time. Customer service training will teach you to also resolve conflict. This is one of the toughest areas for someone that believes everyone likes them, because you just want to make this person like you too. Resolving conflict effectively is key to your customer service and management skills.
As your microbusiness grows, your leadership skills are tested. One of the biggest crutches that can hurt a budding entrepreneur is to think you don’t need help. Admitting there’s a problem or admitting you don’t know everything is sometimes the biggest battle. The best leaders are humble enough to know they still have a lot to learn. Leadership is earned, not given. Never stop learning better practices so that you can lead your team.
5. Financial Management
We just spoke about Financial Strength in a previous blog as well. Week Three: Running a Business During an Economic Downturn | Localmize. Financial Management can be overwhelming for a lot of first time business owners. Formal training in Financial Management can be attained just by asking for a meeting with a Financial Advisor, a CPA or a Professional Bookkeeper. Asking for the meeting, and openly asking questions about your books will be the hardest step for many. If you can put yourself in the vulnerable position of admitting what you don’t know, you’ll be surprised at the people willing to help you and your business succeed.
Find the Programs that Speak to Your Needs
If you started your business during the pandemic and find yourself in a place of “what now,?” consider training on the areas of your business that make you the most nervous. Ask for help. You’ll be surprised at the seasoned professionals and mentors you’ll find just by asking. Reaching out to your Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration will be great starting points to find programs for small business owners. As you grow your business, remember, you’re never too big to learn something new.