5 challenges in small business

Tsrang Label is a small NZ streetwear label run by me (Esther), based in West Auckland. 

We are 100% #smallbusinesstings, and so this means Tsrang Label goes through #smallbusinessproblems. There were definitely challenges that I was expecting, but also some that I vastly underestimated or didn’t really see coming.

In the spirit of transparency and sharing our vulnerabilities, here are some challenges that Tsrang Label have been going through so far, in various amounts of ‘solved’:

1. Crime

Tsrang Label is currently entirely online, however this hasn’t meant we can't be victims of a crime, even indirectly.

Since Tsrang Label is maintained entirely from my laptop, when my laptop got stolen at the end of 2022 in a home burglary situation. No I didn’t have insurance - it was a laptop that was 10 years old that I had accidentally sat on a few years ago and so wants to flop open like a tablet when you open it and is technically worthless - but it was still a challenge.

Luckily, I was able to borrow a laptop from my brother before my buying my own, and the power of internet and apps meant that actually very little of the things we need to operate was specific to the laptop. Still annoying and jarring though.

2. Moving

I then moved, and thought this would be a piece of cake to action if stolen equipment could be overcome.

I come with baggage. Boxes and boxes of it, also known as stock. Tsrang Label started off in my parent’s basement that I didn’t ask before using, and has now successfully migrated to my storeroom, which my parents and brother moved with no prompting from me, probably because they want their basement back.

3. Being the IT repair person

Does anyone know why my new laptop is not connecting to my new printer? It’s set up and I can see it on my laptop, but it won’t actually print.

Because I don’t. I still need to use my borrowed laptop and my printer that gets jammed to print delivery labels, because I can figure out how to get the new equipment working.

The IT repair person in a business is like a magician, fixing problems by pulling up pages from the computer that I didn’t know existed. The challenge in a small business is that you don’t know who to ask. This isn’t a question for the store I bought the equipment from, or Apple, who only do generic guides and I feel the best way to troubleshoot this is for someone to actually poke around on my computer.

Please email me at hello@tsranglabel.com if you have any suggestions…

4. Being your own marketer

I have worked in marketing for nearly 10 years. Tell me why I find it so difficult to market my own business?

I should be shoving Tsrang Label in the face of everyone I know, and every stranger I come across. This is the work I should be the proudest of, that I should be posting on LinkedIn every day about how I’m killing it with a matching great, in focus photo of me laughing. After all, that is what I tell the clients and businesses I’ve worked for.

I naively thought I would be better at overcoming this cringe, or internal tall poppy or imposter syndrome. But if you look to notice, I actually post the least photos of myself despite me modelling one of the pieces - and so the white hoodie is definitely the least marketed one.

Bet you've never seen this photo before

5. Being the bank

Tsrang Label is currently funded by me, who is also undergoing the cost of living crisis like every other Kiwi and cannot justify spending $100 more on groceries, let alone a Facebook ad. I guess the good thing about coming from a marketing background is that I know $100 is nowhere enough for an ad and that a zero or two needs to be added, instead of wondering why $100 is going nowhere. 

However, everything comes at a cost : equipment, materials and platforms, web domain hosting, stock : and that’s if you want a business that no one’s ever heard about. Marketing, or advertising is the key to every business, and it’s also the most expensive.


Don't worry, I'm not disheartened by this - everything has it's challenges and it's all about learning from them, or until I've found someone who is great at connecting printers.

Follow us on @tsranglabel on Instagram and have a look at which tshirt screams out to you the most!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published