6 Common Small Business Problems

6 Common Small Business Problems & How to Deal with Them

Owning your small business is a lot of work. You’re going to run into problems, but you can deal with those problems and move past them to build a strong, successful business.

Let’s look at some of the most common problems you’re going to run into and how to face them. Workful can even help you out with some of them!

Problem #1 – Trying to Be a Jack of All Trades

Your small business is your baby, your pride and joy. You want to be involved in every decision and every aspect of it. I get it. But, sometimes, even the simplest tasks can take up too much of your time, energy, and focus. Especially when your time, energy, and focus could be used to grow your business and bring it to the next level. It’s hard to do that when you’re trying to do things like

Of course, those things have to get done, so how do you deal with this problem? You automate, delegate, and ask for help.


There are low-cost options out there to help you automate these time consuming but important tasks. (Hi! Have you met Workful?) Tasks that used to take you hours can be done in minutes, so you can get back to focusing on the bigger picture.


Don’t try to do everything yourself. Turn to your employees and ask them to take on some of the work for you.

Ask for Help

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. You know what your weaknesses are, so you can ask for help in those specific. You can get help from free resources, like the Workful Blog, the Small Business Administration (SBA), or through SCORE mentors.

You could also turn to your friends and family and ask them to help you find advisors and mentors who can help you build the business you’ve always dreamed of.

Problem #2 – Hiring the Wrong People

Hiring the wrong employee is expensive – it can cost you 30% of their first year earnings or more! How?

  • Hiring the wrong person can bring down morale in the office, so the rest of your team won’t be very productive.
  • You and your managers will have to spend more time managing the bad hire, so you won’t have as much time to focus on the bigger picture.
  • Your customers might notice the change in morale, or they’ll have a bad experience with the employee, so they’ll stop doing business with you.
  • You have to hire someone new, which takes a lot of time and energy.

To prevent that from happening, hire the right people for your company. Hire people who fit your company culture and align with your values. This takes time, so don’t rush the hiring process just because you need to fill the position.

Hiring the right person for the job can help you grow your business. If you hire people you trust, you’ll feel more comfortable delegating and be able to spend more time on your business.

Problem #3 – Not Spending Enough Time on Onboarding

When you hear the word onboarding, what goes through your head? W4s and I9s?

Onboarding is a lot more than paperwork. And, onboarding (done right) should last longer than a week.

If you only spend one week onboarding a new hire, they might know a little bit about the history of your company. Maybe they’ve even learned everyone’s name. But, that won’t do anyone much good.

But, a strong onboarding experience can improve your employee retentionby 82% and increase productivity by over 70%. That sounds pretty good, right?

You can improve your onboarding process by simplifying the paperwork part (including sharing company documents online) so that you can focus on other aspects – like assigning your new hire a mentor and scheduling regular check-ins to see how your new employee is doing.

Problem #4 – Not Knowing How Much to Withhold

When a new employee starts at your company, they fill out a W-4 and give it to you. Some of your employees might give you a new one every year. Other employees might only give you a new one when something major changes in their life – they got married, got divorced, or had a baby.

Whatever the reason, that little piece of paper tells you how much to withhold from each paycheck. Okay, maybe I’m telling you things you already know. You just want to know “How?”

There’s the complicated way:

  • Go to IRS Publication 15 and find how much to withhold for each allowance.
  • Multiply the amount by the number of allowances your employee is claiming. Make sure you’re using the correct payroll period!
  • Subtract that amount from their wages.
  • Find the Income Tax Withholding Tables.
  • Find the table with your payroll schedule (weekly, biweekly, etc.).
  • Look at whether the employee is filing as single or married, then find their pay range.
  • Do some math.
  • You’re done!

That sounds awful. Who has time to do that for even just one employee? And, if your employees make a different amount every week or have any pre-tax deductions, it’s even worse. Plus, you have to keep up with rate changes.

I have some good news for you, though – Workful makes it easy! Your employees can update their withholding information right from their employee portal, so all you have to do is doublecheck that the information is up-to-date.

Workful will calculate the withholding for you. That’s so much easier, right?

Ready to save yourself a lot of time?

Problem #5 – Not Knowing When or Where to Deposit Payroll Taxes

You’ve withheld payroll taxes and set aside the employer portions of Medicare and social security taxes, but now, what? What do you do with them?

You send them to the IRS through electronic funds transfer (EFT), usually using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).

But, when do you deposit them? Well, that depends on your deposit schedule.

  • If you’re a quarterly depositor, you’ll deposit your taxes when you file your quarterly Form 941.
  • If you’re a monthly depositor, you’ll deposit your taxes by the 15th of the following month. So, you’d take the taxes withheld from your September paychecks and deposit them by October 15.
  • Or, if you’re a semi-weekly depositor, well, things get a little trickier. If your payday is on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, you’ll deposit your taxes by the following Wednesday. If your payday is on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, you’ll deposit your taxes by the following Friday.

The IRS will let you know what kind of depositor you are, and you can figure it out by looking at your tax liability during the lookback period.

Either way, you still have to remember when your taxes are due. Then, you have to make sure you’ve added everything up correctly and go to EFTPS and actually make the deposit. It’s a lot of work, that you just don’t have time for.

And don’t even get me started with tax forms – between Federal and State forms, there’s a lot to keep up with.

The Workful Way

Workful has you covered. With Workful, you can deposit your Federal payroll taxes and create your Federal and State forms. No more trying to navigate EFTPS or remembering what forms are due.

Just give us some basic information (like your state, employer identification numbers, and deposit schedule), and we’ll let you know what forms are due.

Problem #6 – Spending Too Much Time In the Business

When you’re first starting out, it’s normal to spend some time in the weeds – working on mundane tasks just because they have to get done. But, as time goes on, you’ll want to start spending less time in your business and more time on your business – doing things that make you money.

By combining our tips from the other common small business problems, you’ll have a lot more time to focus on what matters.

What’s your biggest problem as a small business owner? We want to help!