How small business owners can thrive despite rising costs and inflation

Things are tough at the moment and business owners are facing many challenges, from rising food costs, minimum wage hikes, fuel levy’s, inflation etc. For many people it may feel like the end of the road, but it really isn’t and I want to explain why.


Lets take the example of 2 theoretical business owners; Habib and Carol.


Both of these people operate cafes with similar rent and sales and both face the same rising costs of doing business. Carol has been in her business for 6 years, she takes a weekly wage and takes pride in her work, her customers love her and her staff all get paid on time. Having said that, she has always operated with a sense of underlying dread that it could all come crashing down at any minute. She has already absorbed several price increases because she is worried about losing customers to other cafes in the area and she is now losing sleep and worrying about how to pay her suppliers and is thinking about giving up and throwing in the towel.


Habib has also been in business for 6 years and comes from a long line of cafe owners, he is also worried about rising costs but unlike Carol he exactly how much money he is making from his business and what his margins are. He is always looking for ways to improve and faced with  rising costs he is considering changes to his menu that will get rid of some of the more expensive items and replace them with new more cost effective dishes. He recently implemented order at table tech which has lowered his wage bill and Last night before he went home he went through the bins and plans to have a word with the chef about the amount of wastage…


Both business owners are in the same environment and face the same challenges and responsibilities but the way they face up to them is different and only one of them is losing sleep. Carol will either need to grow and adapt or join the legion of failed businesses but Habib will continue on into the future.


I will be honest that when I ran my cafe I was probably more of a Carol than a Habib, I never felt fully in control of my business model and I operated under that sense of dread that an unexpected bill could end my business and my professional development just didn’t give me the skill set that I now have.


Today I am meeting a business partner and cafe owner whom I coach and we will be working on the next years financial goals and setting a plan for how the business will grow and develop and how much profit it will generate in the coming year. He is developing into a ‘Habib’ and will be a happier more confident business owner for it able to cope in all conditions.