Frustrations of owning a small business

Owning a small business is no cakewalk. Let's look at some of the commonest frustrations of owning and running a small business and how to overcome them


One of the biggest attractions to opening a small business is freedom. You can make your own decisions, make your own hours, have the work/life balance you want, and get a greater sense of personal accomplishment and satisfaction. While these are all wonderful things, it does not mean that owning a small business is always positive.

As with anything, there are downfalls to owning a small business. It can be difficult to navigate these pitfalls as a business owner, but they are the price for the freedom and financial gains that you aspire to. Here are some of the commonest frustrations of owning a small business.

Frustrations of owning a small business

Long Hours

For many, operating a small business is a labor of love. However, after you find yourself working 12-16 hour days for only marginal profits, you might not love it anymore. If you find that your long hours are not yielding the results you want, then you have to change your tactics. You certainly can’t work much more, which means your revenue will be capped.

Changing your tactics might mean examining your marketing and seeing what you can do to get more customers through the door or onto your website. It could mean finally hiring someone to help, even if it’s just outsourcing certain tasks so that you have more time to focus on core functions.

Finding good talent

If you own a small business, your ability to absorb poor hiring decisions is limited. A bad hire could set you back a lot. You’ve already invested in recruiting, hiring, and training, and then you need to do it again if someone isn’t a good fit. Large corporations can afford to hire and fire quickly. You probably don’t have the time or the finances to have high turnover. This problem has gotten worse since Covid-19 with many people making very careful choices about where and when they work. You may have to pay more than you are comfortable with to get someone of acceptable quality on board. It will most likely be worth it, though.


Insurance is a fact of life for people and for businesses. You can’t avoid it, but as a business owner you should be looking at ways to lessen your costs. It seems that you need coverage for everything nowadays, and there are more possible coverages available than ever before. It’s important that you are sufficiently protected, however, despite the cost. You never want to find yourself in a situation where you are getting sued, or there’s been a car accident, and you are responsible for the damages. Make sure that you have at the very least a basic business owner policy along with protection for any specific risks your business may face.

Fear and self-doubt

Owning your own business often means that you no longer have the security of a regular paycheck. The success or failure of your business rests solely on your shoulders. Every decision you make could have an impact, whether positive or negative, on your future. For many, this can lead to thoughts of self-doubt and overwhelming fear. These are not healthy emotions, and small business owners need to do what they can to combat them. Even very successful entrepreneurs suffer from these feelings, and sometimes therapy or professional help is necessary.

Communication problems

It’s a common scenario. You might have an exceptionally talented staff. You gather them for a morning meeting and talk about what you would like to be accomplished that day, and how you would like it to be accomplished. Or, you delegate tasks through your Slack app about what everyone needs to do for your current project. However, when the end of the day or the deadline hits, those tasks are not completed. Or, if they are, they are not done how you instructed them.

This is a communication issue. Many entrepreneurs are confused and frustrated when their employees do not seem to understand or ignore instructions. However, often communication issues can be played at the feet of ownership or management. You need to find ways to connect with your employees to get buy-in for what you want them to do. Conversely, if they are doing tasks differently than you instructed, then ask them why. Perhaps they’ve found a more efficient way to do something, but you haven’t asked them about it.


Owning a small business often means being in constant competition. Sometimes that competition is with friends and neighbors if you are in a smaller community. It can be hard when you see your competition succeeding or doing something successful. The important thing is to focus on your own business and improving your products and marketing. If you focus too much on whatever others are doing, you will get bogged down and lose your focus.

Money management and taxes

Just because you have a great idea for a business it does not mean that you are good at managing money. Proper money management involves regular tracking of revenue and expenses, and having accurate cash flow information at all times. This means being diligent and careful about details. This is not a skill that everyone possesses. If you are one of these people, then it is very much worth hiring someone who is for help.

The same goes for taxes. You might think you are paying too much. The fact is, you might be. Hiring a tax professional can help rectify that. They are always up to date on tax laws and regulations, so they can find loopholes and deductions you didn’t realize existed. The tax code can be incredibly complicated for businesses, so it’s always worthwhile to ask an expert for help instead of being frustrated about it.

Burnout and exhaustion

Working long hours can take a physical toll, there is no doubt. However, even if you work regular hours, owning a small business can still lead to burnout and exhaustion. Your business will be on your mind at all times, even when you are supposedly relaxing with your friends and family. It can be hard to “turn off” for a night or a weekend when you are the one responsible. Even getting away for a vacation can be stressful, since you are leaving your business in the hands of others. This is one of the biggest frustrations and challenges for any small business owner.

As you can see, owning a small business isn’t always a treat. There are many things that you will need to overcome in your entrepreneurial journey. Make sure that you recognize them and take steps to prevent them or deal with them as they arise.

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