The beginning of the year is a great time to make resolutions for your small business. Whether you’re launching a new product or implementing a new technology, you are setting goals and working hard to achieve them. The New Year could also be the perfect time to fix internal issues that are holding you back from success. Below is a list of common business hurdles that arise in small business and how you can overcome them.

Hurdle #1: Trying to do everything yourself

There are a lot of tedious tasks involved in keeping a small business running smoothly – like running payroll, approving time off requests, and so on. Just because these things have to get done, doesn’t mean you have to be the one to do them. Administrative tasks take up valuable time that should be spent looking at the bigger picture.

How to overcome it

Automate what you can

Find a low-cost tool to help you manage and automate some of your administrative duties. You’ll be able to cross these things off your to-do list faster and get back to running your business.

Ask for help

You’re not the first small business owner to face this hurdle. Start by asking your peers how they have handled it. If you don’t know who to ask, turn to the Small Business Administration (SBA) or your local SCORE office for help.

You can also try giving certain administrative tasks to employees who are looking for more responsibility. Here’s a simple approach to help you delegate:

1. Begin with tasks that you don’t have time for or aren’t in your wheelhouse.  Keep things that are vital to your business’s success or that only you can do.

2. Choose the employee you want to handle each task, then provide them with clear instructions and deadlines.

3. Thank your employee for taking on the extra responsibility.

Hurdle #2: Hiring the wrong type of employee

Your staff are critical to the success of your business, so it’s important to hire the right ones. The wrong person can affect the overall morale of your team and hurt your company’s productivity – not to mention lose you money. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that putting the wrong person in a position could wind up costing a business owner 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings.

How to overcome It

Standardize your interview process

While you do want to hire someone with the right skills and qualifications, it’s also important to hire someone who fits your company’s culture. Be sure to ask questions that will help determine if the candidate will be a good fit for your team. Ask each candidate the same questions to keep the evaluation process simple and straightforward.

Take your time

A recent survey from Monster found that 56% of small business owners say they have settled for a candidate who was not suited for the job. If your current staff is overextended and overwhelmed, you might feel pressured to hire someone quickly. But if you rush the hiring process, you could quickly end up right back where you started.

Hurdle #3: Not spending enough time onboarding

Onboarding tends to get a bad reputation for being heavy with paperwork. But studies suggest that a good, thorough orientation process can actually improve employee retention by 82% and increase productivity by over 70%.

How to overcome it

Automate what you can

You don’t have to handle every step of the onboarding process yourself. Some parts, like filling out paperwork and sharing employee handbooks and expense policies can be done easily through Workful’s online HR software. This frees you up to focus on the hands-on aspects of new employee orientation.

Assign a mentor

Ask your staff to be part of the onboarding process. When you hire someone new, assign them a mentor to help answer any questions and show them the ropes.

Hurdle #4: Spending too much time in your business

If you’re like most small business owners, you’re only spending 32% of your time on your business and a whopping 68% of your time in your business.

It’s normal to spend a lot of time on the nitty-gritty when you’re first starting out, but as your business grows, make sure you’re spending enough time focusing on growth and strategic planning.

How to overcome it

Leverage technology

Workful is an online tool that can help you save time on necessary but time consuming tasks, like running payroll and reviewing expense reimbursement requests. Taking advantage of software like Workful will give you back the time you need to focus on growth.

Empower your employees

Teach your staff to handle tasks and make certain decisions on your behalf, so you can spend less time putting out fires and more time on the big picture.


Certain hurdles are common in small businesses, but they don’t have to hold you back in the new year. Implementing small but crucial changes can set you up for growth and success moving forward. Reduce your personal workload by sharing responsibilities, taking the time to invest in good staff, and utilizing reliable online tools. Pull yourself out of the trenches, so you can work on your business – not in it.


Workful is a new cloud-based human resources, payroll and POS employee management suite made for small businesses.