A big thank you to our hosts last week in Cyprus - NI-CO and AB…
Navigating the Rocky Road to Business Growth: Challenges and Solutions
All businesses come up against the challenges of business growth at some point in their growth journeys. The key to overcoming them is identifying possible challenges ahead of time in order to make a plan of action. However, this can be easier said than done, especially if you’re new to running a small to medium-sized business or entering a new market.
What are the challenges of business growth?
Some of the most common obstacles the companies we work with include;
Finances. Either a lack of funding or a lack of clarity around financial management. Associated with this are pricing and profitability. It can be common, for our clients to look for help with pricing, margins, and profitability.
Funding constraints are a crucial issue for many innovative businesses. Without the cash, business management and operations are impossible and expansion plans can be put in jeopardy.
Business planning and no action. Oddly, but not rare, businesses can get too focused on their long-term goals, but struggle to tackle the short-term tasks needed to reach the next step in their journey.
Sales and marketing issues. Some firms come to us when they aren’t getting enough interest in their products and services or can’t find the right customers for their proposition. Often they can lose their way in their own marketplace.
Inward looking and independent. Many firms resist getting external assistance to help them assess their business, where often, a short focused engagement can move a business a long way in a short time.
What can you do to improve your chances of success?
Business planning, not acting. Stop ‘writing a business plan and do the planning’. A business plan is often required, but the document isn’t the output. The outputs are actionable milestones or OKRs.
Sometimes, business owners can get so caught up in their 10-year business model that they ignore the smaller steps that can be implemented now to move them to the next stage of their journey.
We recommend a 90-day planning timeframe to keep the focus on what can be done at present to accelerate your success. This shorter-term action planning with clear milestones is more effective. Why? As it detours businesses from getting stuck with action lists and unrealistic future goals, that can often cause more harm than good.
The simple process of ‘plan, act, measure, and review. We use a proven framework we call GrowthSprint – a combination of innovation and coaching.
A good sales plan will also take into consideration the sales funnel, identifying possible pain points for clients and areas along the chain where prospects might be getting stuck or lost in the pipeline. Many firms simply have no digital sales approach at all, using spreadsheets or other free online tools to manage their sales pipeline. We are in a digital world, and a greater number of buyers will find you
Likewise, your firm needs to price products correctly for profitability. This can require a lot of thought and time. Often may firms can be underselling and underpricing, or execute a pricing policy that prevents initial interest from the market.
The Ambitious Mindset
For smaller businesses especially, the mindset of the leadership team has to have a positive and ambitious perspective. The personal goals of the business owner are almost always what drives success.
Internal and external barriers to business growth
The issues highlighted above aside, every business will face different challenges throughout its development, depending on its market, sector, geographical location, and availability of resources. However, there are some common themes that most businesses will come across at some point in their journey.
These obstacles can come from both internal and external sources, and it’s important to identify these in order to overcome them.
What are the common challenges of business growth?
Typical barriers within your business can include;
- Finding the right staff, lack of appropriate skills
- Access to resources and materials
- Ignoring business performance indicators
- Disregarding the competition
- Inefficient processes and internal infrastructure
- Leadership issues
- Weak or lacking marketing and sales strategy
- Unsustainable business models
- Outdated technology or resistance to adopting new technology
- Insufficient collaboration
- Lack of creativity and innovation, or the time to invest in ideation and creative thinking
External Challenges To Your Business
External challenges will present problems, as the current political and economic climate is outside of our control. However, we must always keep abreast of what is happening in our market. We need to understand what our competitors are doing. We must understand how current economic conditions might affect our customer’s behaviour, but also the implications on our costs and operations.
How do we typically help our clients?
We bring our experience, candour, and partnership approach to help you with your business. We tend to focus on the following main area of consultancy;
- Developing new business models
- New product or service development
- Business strategy and planning support
- Connections to the innovation ecosystem
- Mentoring action over prescription
- Sourcing funding and finance
- Pitching support (for funding)
- Finding partnership opportunities
Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you to tackle the challenges of business growth. Don’t forget to take a look at our client testimonials.