Understanding key business challenges. Your business ambition in life might be to become a modern day Scrooge McDuck and dive into a pit-full of your own wealth. Or maybe you have a more noble goal of saving the world with your amazing new products. Either way, the science behind accomplishing these grand desires and overcoming common business challengesis similar.
There are a number of factors that may hinder your company’s ability to grow; frivolous spending on marketing, lack of procedures, expertise, dumb capital and inadequate hires are amongst the biggest obstacles that will challenge your business in reaching its full potential. Understanding these key growth issues will help you plan ahead and minimise interruption and errors.
For the purposes of this article we are going to assume that you have product-market-fit and are ready to grow.
There are various channels such as social media, public relations, print advertising, online advertising, inbound marketing and outbound marketing that you can deploy, but have you set in place measurable goals? Do you know what channels are most suited to your business and and which are generating the greatest returns? Your business must focus on the channels with the strongest ROI and the only way to know what is working for your business is by measuring them with as much precision and accuracy as possible. Set targets to ensure you have an outcome variable you can easily measure i.e. number of sales, number of visitors, gross total of average order, but don’t just pour money into the unknown.
You may also want to consider how much time you are spending on social media. Are you promoting your products effectively? How much of your valuable time are you placing in using such platforms? Social media can be a great learning tool for building your brand, but it is also a useful means of keeping on top of your competition. Regardless of what measures you adopt in pushing out your product/services, make sure that you can measure each channel of marketing, advertising and PR used.
Also see our article on Effective use of Social Media.
Perhaps you are relying on spreadsheet, or have grown dependent on their basic functionality. However, as your team and business grow, you will find a need to broaden the access to your stored data in a secure and easily available way regardless of where you and your team are operating from. Put simply, spreadsheets might no longer be an efficient organisational tool in managing your business. It is important that you ensure that you have the right software to eliminate double handling errors, and streamline your business processes. Get solid systems in place now. The longer you allow your business to be shackled by the limitations of spreadsheets, the higher the costs of migrating due to the complexity of your data.
Cloud software is taking over the business landscape allowing end-to-end solutions to be presented simultaneously for your benefit of business growth. It is worth the extra effort to research and establish which cloud based software best suits your business needs.
When considering your options in sourcing capital, be selective in how, where and who you source your funding from. Accepting funding from potential mentors or advisors will give you a better chance of gaining valuable inside knowledge and benefiting from the experiences of others in your chosen industry. If they have financial interest in your business then they will be willing to work with you and potentially open doors of opportunity which would otherwise be hard for you to find. For pitch practice, start with the investors you know you don’t want to take money from. The more pitches you do the better you’ll get!
Hiring can be the hardest thing you do. You can’t afford to micro manage employees, nor should you ever need to. As a growing business you need smart people that can deliver your desired outcome. The issue is that finding the right people is incredibly difficult. Be willing to outsource work where and when necessary and reach out to experts for their know-how in more specialised fields.
Your business might have experienced any or all of the above challenges which slow down progress. Invest in the time to come up with clear goals and strategies to overcome each hurdle but be innovative and prepared to look for new opportunities and methods in reaching your targets.