What keeps you awake at night? For a lot of #smallbiz owners, their daily challenges can make the next day seem so overwhelming that it’s difficult to sleep. But without challenges, we can’t grow stronger. This week’s Trending on Thursday takes you through the biggest challenges facing small business owners (and what can be done about them), as well as detailing some affordable, but essential business upgrades. We round it all out with habits that will take your work to the next level.

Check out all the latest #smallbiz news below and tell us what challenge keeps you up at night.

  1. Running a business has never been for the fainthearted, but some of the challenges of doing business can be particularly daunting. Ty Kiisel at All Business has spent a lot of time talking to small business owners about challenges they face, and has created a list of the top four in this article. They include improving employee engagement and retaining talented employees.
  1. It’s clear that developing an app for your small business can help drive engagement and bring in new customers. But once you have one, how do you know it’s working? No one can build a completely problem-free app the first time around. The way you catch the bugs before they become a nuisance is by conducting quality assurance testing. Overall, Scott Shane at Small Business Trends says continuously testing apps will ensure that they are being used properly and lead to a revenue uplift, not a decline.
  1. TrendingJune2(2)A small business owner’s most valuable resource is time, and smart, low-cost automation of business processes can help work become more efficient, according to this article in the Chicago Tribune. Amani Elahi recently interviewed Florence Hardy, creator of Werkflow, a free online dashboard that lets businesses keep track of the software they use. One of Hardy’s recommendations for small business owners: “Develop your voice with customers.”
  1. There is a big difference between goal setting and goal achieving. Saying you want to earn a certain amount of money, lose some weight or start your own business without setting a clear and actionable plan as to how that’s going to happen is simply just a hope and a wish. And even then, once you are extremely clear about what it is you want, you must come up with an action plan as to how you are going to enter into the highly coveted space of goal achievement – and then commit to taking massive and relentless daily action. Matt Mayberry lays out some helpful advice in this article for Entrepreneur.
  1. As we go through our daily lives without a pause or a moment to think about what it is we are actually doing, it’s easy to assume we are working as effectively as we can. It is important to take that pause and observe others in action. Are we working as effectively as our extremely successful peers? If you want to become one of those highly effective people and no longer just a bystander, try these seven habits and find your own success.

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