A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

Five Small Business Situations You Didn’t Expect

A guest post by Bert Doerhoff, CPA

If you are several years into owning your own small business, then you know that a lot of unanticipated issues can arise. When many people consider beginning their own businesses, they imagine having flexible hours, making more money and having the freedom to take off on vacation at the drop of a hat.


Of course, being your own boss does have its fair share of perks. However, there are also many tricky situations that arise. New small business owners may be unsure of how to handle them appropriately, so this is an outline of some common small business hang-ups and how to overcome them efficiently.


1. The employee you hired isn’t all you thought they’d be.

No matter how carefully you choose a team of employees, there is a high chance that you’ll hire an individual who doesn’t live up to their interview and resume. In this situation, it is important to be as open and direct as possible with the employee.

Speak with them privately. State the reasons that you hired them, and explain why you thought they would be a good fit for the team.  Then, proceed to tell them why they are not living up to those expectations and direct them on how to behave and perform their duties in the future. Give them a chance to speak and listen to what they say. There’s a chance that a structural change needs to occur in order to get them to work in the way you expect.


2. Local charities solicit you almost daily.

Especially in smaller towns, small local businesses are seen as sources of fundraising for everything from emergency food pantries to high school girls’ cheerleading camps. While nearly all the causes are worthy, it can be overwhelming to be approached so frequently for donations.


Decide in advance how you will allocate your charitable donations among the various organizations that solicit your help. Maybe you choose one to two charities that you donate to regularly, or maybe you will decide to give a small token amount to every organization that asks you.


Simply having a plan will keep you from becoming overwhelmed with the requests for fundraising help. Remember to keep track of your charitable donations, as they can be written off on your taxes come the year’s end.


3. You find yourself busier than when you weren’t your own boss.

This is common. Many picture themselves casually overseeing a team of efficient and capable employees. However, running a small business comes with a myriad of tasks. You are not simply running front-end operations, but also managing marketing, keeping records, answering calls and handling payroll. It can become very stressful very fast.


Many successful small business owners are lucky if they get Sunday off. Consider hiring a small business accounting firm to help with your bookkeeping needs. Or, hire an intern to help with the day-to-day tasks of your business. Become comfortable with delegating tasks to all members of the team.


4.  The profits aren’t rolling in immediately.

Success often comes slowly for a new business. After all, it can take some time for you to gain the reputation you deserve. Success follows time and pressure. Allow your business several months, even a year or two to get up to “full speed.” Pressure means you should not give up. If your efforts and attitudes start slacking, so will your employees’. Eventually, potential customers will see a weakening business instead of a thriving one.



5. Your employees aren’t getting along.

Office or workplace drama does not end in high school, unfortunately. If you are lucky, your employees will form a strong and cohesive team, but oftentimes, there are a few run-ins between employees.


It is important to distinguish the difference between a simple personality clash and true discontent or unfairness. If the core of the problem is gossip, inappropriate behavior, violation of workplace code or sexual harassment, there is absolute reason to intervene.


Give each employee several minutes to present his or her perspective, and make an educated decision about from where the conflict is arising. Remember that you have control over the environment in the workplace. Utilize your authority to create a safe and welcoming place for all employees.


About the Author

About the Author: Bert Doerhoff is a CPA and founder of Accubiz, an accounting firm located in Jefferson City, Missouri. Doerhoff was elected as Director for the National Association of Small Business Accountants and is a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences on small business accounting management topics.

I met Bert via Twitter and A Leading Perspective…he read it, he liked it and thought, “hmmm, I can hang with her.” 

After he reached out to me, I learned about him and said, “hmmm, I can hang with him!”  The rest is history.

Don’t you love the power of social media?

Heather Kinzie • March 23, 2012

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