Top 10 Challenges of Growing a Business
Any growing business is likely to encounter a broad range of challenges. While people issues, such as sourcing and retaining talent, are likely to be key, other issues – such as pipeline, support and partnerships – also represent significant barriers to success. Here we present the top 10 issues and challenges of growing a business that leaders of small firms need to consider.
One of the top challenges of growing a business is the wide skill set needed to help your firm expand. Filling those gaps presents a significant challenge, with FSB research suggesting 30 percent of small firms struggle to find the workers they need. Your leadership team might not be 100 percent certain of the future direction of travel. Potential candidates, meanwhile, might not fancy the challenge of helping your business establish its new processes and channels to market. You need to find people that can adopt and adapt – you need people who like a challenge, who enjoy free-styling and who thrive on creating new opportunities.
Sourcing great people is tough enough, but keeping capability happy is just as hard. A small business owner can maintain a one-to-one relationship with staff members. However, as the business grows, it becomes much harder to dedicate the same time to worker engagement. At the same, your workers will have expectations as part of a larger firm, not just with regards to higher wages, but also in relation to non-fiscal benefits such as the flexibility to try new things. You need to create the structure necessary for your talented people to want to stay and develop.
As the head of the business, you’re most likely to be out meeting potential clients. While you might be taking a step back from the day-to-day running of the business, operations will rise in proportion to business growth. One of the challenges of growing a business is finding the right person to assist you. It is in this scenario that trusted lieutenants play a key role. These senior individuals step up and fill the void you leave behind. They ensure that, while your day-to-day control is relinquished, it is not bypassed.
Invest your limited energies and resources in the right place. If you’re spending too much time prospecting, then your business won’t continue its growth trajectory. As your business shifts from a small to medium and possibly even global business, then it will be crucial to gain high visibility of your pipeline. Reliable forecasting and a strong sense of conversion rates will be key. Use tools, metrics and insight to ensure your business focuses on the clients and opportunities that matter most.
Although fresh opportunities are great, your team must never lose the importance of servicing existing customers. Rather than simply checking in every so often, create a full-service plan so that all accounts are managed efficiently, and customers are satisfied. A structured customer engagement plan ensures everyone in your team is focused on improving experiences on an ongoing basis. You will undoubtedly have bad months when great clients drop away. So, take the opportunity to learn from your knockbacks and be prepared to iterate.
As you scale up, be mindful not to create a broad range of different clients with unserviceable demands. In these environments, customer success is crucial – clients will renew because they are happy using your services and have experienced success. As a small businesses owner, you must strive to engage successfully with your clients from day one. This strong engagement will help reduce customer churn and drive revenue growth.
One of the challenges of growing a business is ensuring you have the right operations in place. The key is to create repeatable processes as you scale. Equity specialist Edison Partners says such consistency will make it easier to add new customers and to service their demands successfully. Moreover, look to avoid implementing processes that might limit your growth potential. If you’re looking to take your business on a global scale, then you must always have an end in mind.
Everyone who runs a business would probably admit that they would like to be able to turn off tricky customers. However, that freedom is unlikely to present itself to every organisation. Customer success becomes easier when your business creates a big pipeline as you’ll have the opportunity to be more selective and focus on the clients that are serviceable, provide the greatest chance of revenue gain and the less hassle.
As your team grows into double figures and upwards, don’t get bogged down with logistics. Use outsourcing and your partner network to source advice on crucial but non-core functions, such as human resources and legalities. Technology can be a crucial adjunct here, too. Use the cloud to buy the storage and applications you need on-demand. Ensure your infrastructure can scale as your business continues to grow.
The most effective partnerships will allow your business to spend more of its time on selling and account management, and less on time-sapping administrative activities. It is crucial to develop a strong sense of which elements of work need to be handled by the top team and which can be pushed to others. Give your most talented people the opportunity to lead and develop a collection of trusted external partners.
Scaling a business successfully is not an easy thing to do; it can be a daunting task. Business leaders face many challenges as they work to build their companies and lay a foundation for sustainable growth and success. Therefore preparation is key. By considering these challenges of growing a business early on, you will be able to acknowledge them in time to address them effectively and ensure that your sales and marketing efforts don’t go to waste.