Whether it’s performing day-to-day operations or planning long-term growth, small business owners face countless obstacles to their success. From rising office supply costs to the health of the national economy, sometimes prioritizing the issues to focus on is a huge challenge by itself.
“There is no magic bullet in business,” said JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC’s “Your Business” and founder of Goodshop. “Most of the things that people are worried about are things that they have little or no control over. So, you have to prepare for a variety of situations.”
But what situations should business owners be worried about? In its 2017 Small Business Survey, TD Bank surveyed 553 small business owners across the U.S. to find out the biggest business challenges they all face.
Here’s a look at those top concerns and how they could help shape your priorities.
Rising Interest Rates
With the three Fed rate hikes since December, interest rates and their impact on finances are on everyone’s minds. According to the 2017 TD Bank Small Business Survey, more than a fifth of small business owners said rising interest rates would be the top challenge to business operations in the next 12 months.
Their cause for concern is understandable. Rate hikes can make securing funding for a small business more difficult than it already is. Cash management — and planning it properly — is also a common challenge for small companies, said Jay DesMarteau, head of small business banking at TD Bank.
“Although some types of small business loans offer fixed interest rates, others might adjust with a Fed hike,” DesMarteau said. “Business owners need to be aware of the terms of any loan, line of credit or business credit card they have and how interest rates could impact monthly payments.”
When seeking a business loan, business owners should speak with their banker to understand all options and how interest rates fluctuations could impact monthly payments.
Read: 6 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Getting a Business Loan
Healthcare Costs and Changes to Healthcare Regulations
More than rising interest rates, healthcare has taken center stage in the political arena as Republicans attempt to eliminate Obamacare. But whatever your political view, healthcare costs and regulatory changes have a significant impact on your business. According to the survey, almost a quarter of small business owners said healthcare was their primary challenge.