Executives in New York City gathered together at Infusionsoft’s inaugural Main Street Forum to focus on solutions to the challenges small businesses owners face. Among the participants were representatives from American Express, OnDeck, Wix and SCORE.
Some of the biggest challenges (and solutions) small business owners face can be summed up into 5 bullet points:
1. There is no single way of defining what it means to own a successful ‘small business’. Technology has made it possible for people to create a business and shape it to meet their needs. Entrepreneurs have the ability to define their own success.
2. Funding a business is always a challenge, but things are changing. Entrepreneurs need to learn how to be creative with capital. Forty percent of businesses fail due to lack of capital and ineffective marketing. Many business, such as the ones on “Shark Tank” do not qualify for traditional bank financing. The good news is, the funding model has changed. New lenders such as OnDeck, offer loans in as little as 10 minutes with less paperwork than a traditional bank.
3. Leveraging new marketing automation technologies can be a huge help. Many small businesses are often challenged with not being able to devote the time or resources it takes to automate their marketing processes. Yet, small businesses are more nimble than large ones, allowing them to more easily make personal connections with their customers, driving more loyalty and referrals. Small businesses need to expand on this by leveraging new marketing automation technologies.
4. Education is key the key to growth. Small business owners need continuous education in order to grow. Otherwise, they can lose their way quickly. There’s an overwhelming amount of information on how to run a small business. Resources like American Express OPEN, SCORE are a great place for small business to start and get the answers they need.
5. Small business owners need a sense of community; it’s gets lonely. Having a sense of community and engagement with others is critical for small business success. Organizations such as Meetup, SCORE, American Express Open Forum enable small business owners to get support from peers and experts, as well as network.