100 Small Business Pain Points

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Despite what you may have heard, owning a business is unusually painful.

That’s good news for the companies who market products and services to small businesses. After all, pain is a motivator for action. Ask any salesperson how they get deals done and they’ll tell you that it’s all about understanding the prospect’s pain points and offering a way to ease the pain.

In case you didn’t know it, figuring out how to reach small business owners is a niche area that Walker Sands is particularly strong in.

Over the years, we’ve helped a number of companies, large and small, to figure out how to reach small and mid-sized businesses (SMB customers). As a result, we’re very familiar with small business pain points as a precursor to research, review and purchase. In fact, here’s a list of small business pain points that we’ve thrown together quickly for this blog post.

There are 100 small business pain points in this list. In a future article, I’ll discuss how to make sure your marketing messages and your sales team are in front of a small business owner at exactly the right time, just as they are experiencing a world of pain from one of these small business pain points and are eager to pay you a little money to make the pain go away.

Small Business Pain Points

1. We don’t have enough money.

2. We are not able to get new customers.

3. We are not able to keep existing customers.

4. Our revenues are too low.

5. Revenues are OK, but profitability sucks.

6. Our employee turnover is too high.

7. I need to sell this business.

8. My business partner is a jerk.

9. We’re having quality issues with our products.

10. Our website sucks.

11. We’re constantly out of office supplies.

12. We need to move to bigger space.

13. I think one of my employees is a drug addict.

14. We hired somebody and we didn’t realize they had a criminal record.

15. Our prices are too low.

16. Our products are growing obsolete.

17. A virus infected every computer in our office.

18. My business partner just passed away.

19. I’m getting a divorce and my wife wants the business.

20. We just lost our biggest client, accounting for 50% of our revenues.

21. My employees are coasting on me. There’s no work ethic here.

22. Our business culture sucks.

23. I don’t have a good business lawyer.

24. One of our customers is suing the business.

25. My biggest competitor just raised $50 million in venture capital.

26. Nobody knows who we are.

27. I’m not getting any foot traffic into my store.

28. All this government paperwork is killing me.

29. I hate, hate, hate processing payroll.

30. I don’t have enough money to pay my estimated income taxes for the quarter.

31. We keep hiring idiots.

32. My accountant is not returning my phone calls.

33. We have a bunch of receivables, but the checks are not coming in for some reason.

34. The competitors’ advertising is way better than ours.

35. We don’t show up for anything relevant to our business when people search in Google, Bing or other search engines.

36. I can’t find workers compensation insurance for my business.

37. How am I supposed to get and be able to afford a good small business health insurance plan for my employees?

38. I’m ready to shut this thing down. I’m at my wit’s end.

39. Janet just told me that Steve is sexually harassing her at work, and she’s really pissed.

40. I have no clue how much my business is worth?

41. I think I’m paying too much for shipping.

42. Our office equipment keeps breaking down.

43. I would like to franchise this business but I have no clue how to get started.

44. Our business credit rating is bad.

45. I need a small business credit card, ideally without a personal guarantee.

46. I never bothered to incorporate. I think I’m overdue to do it, because we’re struggling and I’m worried creditors are going to come after me personally.

47. I’m dying and I have no viable successor for this business.

48. None of my kids has any desire to work for my company.

49. Our legal bills are out of control.

50. Our finances are a mess.

51. This is a commodity business. How can we differentiate ourselves on anything but price?

52. My employees are complaining that we don’t offer any training.

53. My best employee just got poached by another firm.

54. The career path here is non-existent and employees are bitching about it.

55. We are weak on employee diversity. This place looks like a Ku Klux Klan meeting.

56. We just got broken into by burglars last night!

57. Honestly, I think are company name is stupid and we’re losing business because of it.

58. I have no clue why we just lost that big sale.

59. There’s a lot of infighting within my management team.

60. Cash flow is really tight. We may not make payroll later this month.

61. One of my employees slipped on a puddle of water and broke their back.

62. Our distribution partners don’t seem to be motivated to sell our stuff.

63. Our office flooded last night. We are totally screwed.

64. Customer complaints are up.

65. I’m able to pay my employees but I’m not pulling enough money out of the business.

66. Foreign competition is killing us.

67. Sales are down 30% from last year.

68. There’s some new competition in town, and they look like they really know what they are doing.

69. We’ve been accused of patent infringement.

70. I need to layoff 20% of my workforce.

71. One employee is destroying everybody else’s morale. He’s a poison to the company!

72. Inventory shrinkage is going through the roof lately. What’s up with that?

73. I never thought it would play out this way, but I think bankruptcy is my only option.

74. It’s time to move out of my house and get a real office.

75. Why did I buy this stupid phone system? It’s horrible, and it’s ruining our reputation.

76. My independent contract just said that he should be classified as an employee and that I have to pay him benefits.

77. We’ve been trying to sell this business for five years now, and we haven’t received a single offer.

78. I can’t see my colleague’s work schedules and it’s driving me crazy. I keep scheduling meetings when they already have meetings.

79. I’ve got a stack of business cards that are good leads, but they’ve just been sitting in a box gathering dust.

80. How can I get a list of good prospects for our business? We need to start talking to more people.

81. This is possibly the worst CRM system known to man.

82. Our money is sitting in our bank account and it’s earning zero interest. That’s crazy.

83. I’m a business owner and I have no retirement plan, very little savings, and my kids are about to go to college.

84. I have a troublesome, insubordinate employee on my hands.

85. The competition is spreading false rumors about us.

86. We are severely understaffed and I’m worried that people are getting burned out.

87. Apparently, we’ve been paying less than the minimum wage. I think we may be in trouble.

88. Employee morale is low. I have no clue why.

89. The landlord just leased our space out from under us. We’ve got to find new space and move to it within 60 days.

90. The Internet connection here is lame.

91. We don’t have an employee manual, and it’s starting to become a problem.

92. My sales guys don’t know how to sell big deals.

93. I haven’t had a vacation in three years.

94. This business is like a jail sentence.

95. Everybody’s making money in this industry but us.

96. Client projects are not getting done on time.

97. I don’t know whether we are making money or losing money.

98. We outsourced some things to another company and it’s not working out.

99. Shoot. It looks like we have to do a product recall.

100. The shrinkwrap machine is broken, which means we won’t be getting those orders out tonight. Customers are going to be pissed!

That’s a quick list of pain points for business owners. Just sitting here typing, dozens more are coming to mind. Have any more small business pain points that you’d care to share with us? Have any advice to share on how to effectively market to small business owners? We welcome your comments, tips and questions!


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