WILL you survive these office obstacles in this addictively frustrating game?
Playing the character of a business owner, ‘SME City’ requires you to navigate your way through a series of everyday company hurdles – from piled up paperwork to demanding clients.
Inspired by the retro 80s arcade scene, the aim of the game is to get from start to finish without being caught out by any of these tricky realities, and it’s much harder than it seems.
Those in the top three positions on the leaderboard will receive prizes, including up to £200 in ‘life:style’ gift vouchers – with a choice of over 125 brands – which can be won on a quarterly basis starting from Friday 8th September.
Its creation comes after expert, Kate Hardcastle, revealed the pitfalls of running a small business – from being a huge time commitment to the social impact.
Unrealistic expectations of running a business were also cited as something to watch out for, as she emphasises the reward is not just in results and finances – but also how you feel.
It’s also likely that startups will overstretch themselves during the early days with over-investing in things like equipment, staff or stock, so it’s important to keep this under control and stay sensible.
Kate has partnered with business insurance company, Superscript, which also commissioned research of 500 SMEs revealing the top stresses they faced at the start of their journey.
She also stated the fear of failure is real but surrounding yourself with a ‘dream team’ of experts in all areas of the business will help release pressure and protect your company on all levels.
Mai Fenton, CMO for the brand said: “Starting your own business is never easy and we wanted to bring this to life through this retro-inspired SME City game.
“Our research shows that while work admin can be the bane of every business owner, the majority of small business owners are positive that technology can provide a helping hand in making their business admin chores easier.
“There are indeed plenty of obstacles to overcome – some of which can be unexpected – but the results are so rewarding that it’s all worth it in the end.”
TOP 10 CHALLENGING THINGS ABOUT RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
1. Working long hours
2. Sorting out tax returns
3. Getting enough sleep
4. Chasing payments
5. Recruiting staff
6. Keeping on top of paperwork e.g., insurance, legal costs, payroll
7. Not spending time with my family
8. Cash flow
9. Meeting customer demands
10. Switching off
The study found a third don’t have enough hours in the day to complete all the necessary business admin.
As a result, 43 per cent typically end up taking their work home with them each evening.
The average business owner claims they would need an additional four hours to get it all done, but in reality, only have 90 minutes to get through their daily admin to-do-list.
When it comes to specific tasks, dealing with tax (29 per cent), managing cash flow (20 per cent) and supply chain issues (18 per cent) were cited as the most time-consuming.
A fifth wish the process of hiring staff was made simpler while 14 per cent would like help with managing and buying insurance.
KATE HARDCASTLE’S TOP 10 SME GRIPES AND TIPS TO TACKLE THEM
1. Cashflow – Keeping close to your cashflow, understand terms of payment agreements and possibly look into rewarding clients for early payments.
2. Investment – Once you have learned to keep costs lean and low you will be able to invest with confidence in the areas that will serve the greatest reward.
3. Sales – New growth will come from testing an unknown audience before launching products and then identifying a target list of potential new customers.
4. Overworking – Having time to reflect will stop you becoming too ingrained in the minutia of the business and help you to see the bigger picture which will ultimately benefit you and the business.
5. Mental health – It is always good to find an outlet for your stress or someone to talk problems through with and even seeking out advice from other business owners can be enlightening.
6. Time management – SMEs can get bogged down in the day to day running of their business, but by taking a step back and learning to identify the areas of your business that needs extra help and by practicing good time management will allow you to focus, but also be a catalyst for, growth and development.
7. Unrealistic expectations of running a business – Success in business is rarely overnight and it is a marathon not a sprint. The reward is the not just in results and finances – but also in how you feel.
8. The social impact – It is great having family and friends as your cheerleaders and biggest supporters, but they are not necessarily the best business advisors. Seeking external opinions where there will be less emotion involved in the thought process can do wonders for inspiration.
9. Lack of neutral outside advice – It is important to think ‘outside-in’ – listen to and understand the needs of your customers and this will give the business the best chance of growth with ideas and concepts you may not have previously considered.
10. Fear of failure – Surrounding your business with a ‘dream-team’ of experts in areas in which you feel least prepared or knowledgeable helps to release pressure and protect your business on legal and financial matters.
However, for 88 per cent of those polled via OnePoll, technology has helped make doing business admin a lot easier for them.
The toughest challenges of running your own business include working long hours (24 per cent), keeping on top of paperwork (13 per cent) and chasing payments (14 per cent).
Despite this, 86 per cent claim that becoming a business owner is the best decision they’ve ever made.
Kate Hardcastle said: “Running your own business with all the highs and lows that go along with being your own boss can still be one of the most rewarding journeys – hard work and long hours are undeniable, but the rewards can be multifaceted.
“Seeking external expertise and advice for business helps you focus on the areas you are passionate about and eliminate the fear and concerns of potential pitfalls.
“Setting up your own business isn’t for the faint hearted and certainly the economic climate ahead indicates there are more challenges to come but by listening to your customers, thinking outside in and looking at ways to collaborate with other is the best road to success.”
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.