Summary: Small businesses face many unique challenges, such as a lack of cash flow and funding, limited time and resources, and employees and business leaders being stretched too thin. In this article, we’ll break down ways to address the most common roadblocks small businesses face.


Small businesses are critical to the backbone of the U.S. economy.

In fact, between 1995 and 2021, small businesses accounted for the creation of more than 17 million jobs, more than 60% of net jobs in the U.S. during this time, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration

But being a small business also comes with many unique challenges, with about 50% of small businesses failing within the first five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

However, you and your small business don’t have to be a part of that statistic. 

With the right planning, resources, and tools, you can get ahead of the common problems that cause a small business to fall behind. 

5 Small Business Roadblocks & Solutions

Let’s get into the most common roadblocks small businesses face and how you can overcome each of them.

Problem 1: Your tech isn’t trustworthy

Building your own technology is challenging and expensive. And, in many cases, it’s also unnecessary. As a small-business owner, you’re likely going to rely on technology to help you out in many ways, including payroll management, vendor payments, customer relationship management, and project management. 

Spending time, money, and resources on building out technology that can accomplish these goals can harm you in the long-run, especially when you consider that low funding is one of the biggest challenges a small business can deal with. Spending money in the wrong places means you’ll have less when you really need it.

Building your own technology can also leave you open to error. If you lack the employee bandwidth to build this tech, you can run into many bugs due to no time for testing, general human error, and other potential issues. 

Instead, invest in tools that can do the work for you and save you valuable time and resources. From project management tools like Asana to customer relationship management software like Salesforce, there are many tools on the market that can prevent you from needing to build your own unreliable tech. 

Just be sure to shop around before you buy to stop you from overspending. Many tools available today have a variety of pricing plans to choose from. Some even have free options for small teams. 

Problem 2: Cash flow is always low

In a survey by Wilbur Labs, the most common reason new businesses failed was because they ran out of money. Small businesses typically run on a tight budget, so when an unexpected expense occurs, it can be catastrophic. 

Ensure that your budget has room for surprise expenses. Your budget should give you room to pivot during these difficult times. You should also reanalyze your budget throughout the year to ensure you’re on track.

Even with saving, oftentimes expenses are higher than expected, especially during sudden market changes and economic shifts. If this truth hits you, consider applying for small business loans, such as through the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans can help small businesses get the funding they need and keep them afloat during challenging times. 

Problem 3: Your market is oversaturated

The same Wilbur Labs’ survey also found that 16% of small businesses fail due to being outcompeted. Small businesses face the challenge of having to differentiate themselves. Most small businesses deal with at least some competition from other companies that offer similar products and services. 

Monitoring your competition is one way to help overcome this roadblock. As you’re looking for the right technology for your company, consider investing in something that offers competitive analytics. While monitoring your own analytics is crucial to optimizing everything from marketing to product to sales, competitive monitoring can be just as helpful. 

You can see what’s working for them, as well as what gaps they have in their marketing strategy that you can utilize for your own marketing. Finding those gaps is a great way to insert yourself into the conversation around your industry. Learning from and about your competition is an essential part of becoming a top competitor in your industry. 

Problem 4: You built a product but not a brand

Wilbur Labs’ study again found that 27% of new businesses fail due to their lack of business model. It’s not enough to have a good product. You need to have a business built around it, which includes creating a brand identity. Your brand identity informs everything from your marketing to your product itself to your pricing plans. 

When you develop a brand identity, you create both the visual and written identity, including the messaging around your promise to your customers, your logo, your color palette, and much more. Before you launch any marketing promoting your business, create a website, or design a physical location for your business, you need to create your brand identity to inform what they’ll look like and say to your customers and employees. 

An internal marketing team can assist with brand development, but if you’re not in a place to hire marketing employees, consider working with an agency with branding experience. With their professional guidance, they’ll ensure you have everything you need to create a brand identity that your customers connect with and remember.

Problem 5: You and your team are burnt out

According to EntreLeaderships’s State of Small-Business Owners in America report, 42% of small-businesses owners have faced burnout in the last year. Nearly 60% say that they feel like they’re facing all their challenges on their own, without any support. 

As these small-business owners also say they’re finding it difficult to find staff, they’re struggling under the weight of too much to do and not enough help to do it. The limited staff they do have are also being stretched thin, and that burnout can lead to quitting and the small business owner being even more short-staffed.

To address burnout, it’s important to attend to your own and your employees’ mental and physical health. But to prevent burnout in the first place, consider automating processes that don’t have to be done manually. 

Automating processes, such as approving vendor payments, tracking invoice data, or scheduling employee payroll, can save you time. It also removes more of the risk for human error, which can save you even more valuable time by preventing you from having to redo work and issue corrections.

Keep in mind that automating and using AI in your company require some patience. You’ll likely have immature data for your automation to rely on when you first launch it. However, you’ll find that automation will get more useful and accurate as time goes on and more data is folded into your systems.

We Hope You Find Success as a Small Business

As a small business owner, you have a lot of weight on your shoulders. As you grow, more and more people are relying on you. But with a lack of funding, technology, resources, and time, as well as too much competition, you could soon find yourself going under.

It’s vital to find ways to take back your time and give your team members what they need to prevent the dreaded burnout. And with the right software, branding, and analytics, they can optimize their workflow and not only meet your goals but exceed them. 

Small businesses often struggle, and many don’t stand the test of time. But with these tips, you may be able to beat the odds and become a small business that lasts and even grows. 


Bio: Jacqueline Gualtieri is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Insider, and The Slowdown. In addition to writing, she works as a digital media consultant and content marketer, driving online traffic for her clients. She’s always looking to advance her skillset and believes strongly in the early adoption of new technology.