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Unique Challenges Small Businesses Face in Today’s Economy? w/ Anita Campbell [Episode 138]

Anita Campbell is the founder and CEO of Small Business Trends, an award winning online publication for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and the people interacting with them.

In today’s episode Anita and I talk about the unique challenges small businesses are faced with and how they are responding to them. In the second part of the segment we discuss the unique ways small businesses sell their products and services for greater success.

Bullet Points from this episode:

  • What are the biggest challenges of growing a small business?
  • Why isn’t there growth of technology consultants?
  • What challenges do small businesses have when trying to sell their own products?
  • How can I differentiate myself from other small companies?
  • Who is the chief salesperson in your business?
  • Why isn’t freelancing always the key to success in a small business?

What does Sales Business Trends coin as a small business?

Any company that has fewer than 100 employees. Once a company has over 100 employees, it starts to look more like a mid-size to a larger business with a different set of challenges. These small companies might not always seem like the sexiest or the most exciting, but they are the businesses that most of America depends on.

What are the biggest challenges for owners when growing a small business?

There are a number of places where they get stuck. The tech landscape is confusing. It is really hard to sort out what is available out there and how to deploy it in your business. The desire is there, but the ability to cut through the jargon and figure out what’s best for your business is a major challenge.

What is the role of the small business owner?

When you first start out as an entrepreneur, you are the chief salesperson. On top of everything else the business owner has to grow their business, make payroll, figure out technology, and continue to sell through a major part of the expansion process.

Have you seen a growth in the number of technology consultants?

Small businesses may not be able to afford their services. If a salesperson is trying to sell a tech product, you need to try awfully hard to explain exactly what your product does and how it differs from other products on the market, without using jargon. In a smaller company, the potential customer will be talking with someone that wears many different hats or may be talking with the owner. You don’t want to talk down to a business owner or decision maker.

What are the challenges that small businesses have trying to sell their products and services?

Don’t use generalities! Small businesses need to differentiate themselves and be very specific in defining what they are helping the customer to do.

What’s new in terms of hiring and retaining employees in small businesses? 

The ability to get qualified people for what you can pay in a small business continues to be a challenge. That is why many small businesses turn to freelancers. Smaller companies are going to be treading water if they can’t retain the employees they have trained and won’t be able to grow this way. The freelance economy is great on the one hand, but on the other it really doesn’t help small businesses to grow after a while.


What’s the most powerful sales attribute?


Who’s your business role model?

Business owners that Anita has known locally.

What’s the one book that every salesperson should read?

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

What’s your favorite music to get you pumped up?

Let’s Get It Started by Black Eyed Peas.

What’s the one question you get asked most frequently by salespeople?

How do I get more revenue?