31 March 2021

Don’t wait before it’s too late to address issues that hold your business back

Most businesses have to go through an unpleasant start, and that’s the reason why every business owner’s most common question is: “Why isn’t my company growing?” This problem is not exclusive to small enterprises and startups. Even seasoned business people can’t seem to escape this existential crisis.

From all my years of talking to and working with business owners, I have noticed that there’s quite a pattern of behaviour and mindset that influences whether a business would succeed or not. Of course, each business is unique and has its own set of problems, but at the very fundamental level, it all boils down to several reasons.

Are you willing to make the tough decisions?

There’s really no way for you to escape the difficult business decisions that must be made every day. On top of that, there are the preposterously difficult organisational decisions that will take weeks or even months to accomplish.

Sure, these are matters that only come up occasionally, but they dictate the real future and direction of your business. Business owners are notorious in circumventing those decisions because, well let’s face it, they are usually easier to just avoid. But here’s the truth: You can’t expect your company to grow if you’re not willing to make the obligatory decisions or put in the time and effort to change the direction, especially when your business is currently in a vacuum. It’s not easy or fun, but somebody has to do it, and when you’re in charge, you really don’t have a choice. As the saying goes, “Change will not come without change”.

Are you tracking the important numbers?

What I’ve noticed among relatively young companies is that they tend to strikingly lack reporting functions. Maybe business owners decided to become their own boss because they hated being drowned by an overwhelming number of reports. The thing is that numbers don’t have to be overwhelming, as long as you know which ones to focus on.

The reports that deserve your time should revolve around providing you with direct feedback that will help you streamline how you service customers and how your employees operate to make the business run more efficient. Reports should not exist for the mere purpose of “reporting”. It must have a purpose — a particular point of view that makes it easier for you and your management team to detect anomalies that could be keeping your business from taking off.

Is there a reason for people to choose your business over the competition?

Before the internet age, the only thing that mattered most in business competition is location — how you are situated geographically will most likely dictate your success. But now that everything is practically a click away, the thing that will give you the edge over other businesses is how you clever and innovative you are at branding.

Unique selling propositions (USPs) are now more important than ever. I’ve seen a lot of businesses die because they didn’t give their market a reason to start or continue patronising their products or services. In this age, business owners need to differentiate themselves, and they can achieve that by analysing the competition, stating what makes their business a better alternative. Send surveys to know what makes customers keep coming back. The information you unearth will help you more effectively market your business to the right audience. Additionally, inspire your best customers to serve as references and raving fans in your on-going marketing efforts.

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