In the small business world, it is rare to find an owner who is satisfied; that is, one who doesn't want to grow anymore. Many small business owners eventually hit a roadblock to their growth and wonder to themselves, "Why can't I grow my small business any further?"
Typically, when owners begin to scale, they often hit the same growth roadblocks as others have in the past. Our mentoring services help owners overcome those roadblocks and take their business to whatever level they desire. Below are several reasons why your small business has stopped growing.
1. Lack of planning: The majority of businesses never write a business plan or formal growth plan. Typically, there is an urgency to get a product or service to market and start making money. Oftentimes, the entrepreneur has left a job or wants to leave a job, so they feel an urgency to get to revenue.
Creating a business plan can drastically increase your chances for small business growth or investment.
2. Scared of debt: Everyone wants to grow their business, but they don't want to take on any debt. Bootstrapping your business is certainly one approach, but you will grow much slower than if you are willing to take on debt. Slower growth leaves you more susceptible to a competitor beating you to the market. It is rarely the lack of a good idea that keeps a business from growing, but rather a lack of capital to execute on that idea.
Taking on debt in the form of a loan or investment can help you grow much faster than bootstrapping.
3. Owner is in the way: Have you ever met an owner who runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to do everything? I have; lots of them. They are all so busy and they love to tell you about it. The fact is, they are busy working on all the wrong things that aren't creating value. One of the first steps in growing your business is realizing that you can't do it all on your own.
Get out of your own way in your business and watch it grow.
4. Scared of hiring: Many owners are afraid to hire. It could be that they believe, Nobody can do it but me! (See #3 above.) Or they think it is too expensive to hire employees. People get hung up on payroll taxes, so they hire independent contractors (or so they think). Then, when the contractors don't have buy-in to the business vision, the owner gets upset.
People are they key to scaling your business. One of your biggest priorities should be to become really excellent at sourcing and hiring employees.
5. Poor leadership: Sometimes, founders are not the best leaders. They might have the vision for the business, but they are just flat out bad at managing and leading.
If you are not a good manager or leader, hire someone to fill that role.
6. Inability to execute: Growing a business really comes down to planning and executing on an idea. If you can't execute on your growth plan, you are not going to grow your business.
The ability to execute is everything.
7. Not listening to customers: Your customers are huge sources of information who can help you grow. Where should we set the price? What social media platforms should we use? Are there any features missing from our product that our customers want? All of these questions and more can be answered by simply asking your customers. Sure, there may be a cost involved for you, but it is worth every penny. If you have to give away some free stuff (maybe including your product) to a few potential customers to get this valuable information, who cares?
Your customers will tell you how to grow your business if you just listen to them.
8. No Marketing plan: You have all the necessary pieces for a successful business, i.e., a great business idea with a killer team surrounding you. Your sales team is eager and ready. Accounting can't wait to start counting the money. So where are the customers? Did you forget to develop a marketing plan to attract customers?
Without a strong marketing plan, your business is destined to fail.
9. Uninspired employees: I hear it all the time from business owners, "My employees just don't care about the business like I do." Well, let's play a little game of devil's advocate. Should they care? Do you treat your employees well? What is it that your employees want? Are they on board with your vision?
Attracting and inspiring employees to see your vision is not a skill, it is an art.
10. Reluctance to change: Last, we have business owners who are reluctant to change, especially as they get older. They are so close to retiring, why change now? You often hear the saying, "This is how we have always done it and it has worked in the past." Technology is changing the small business world at an alarming rate. Keeping up with change is important if you want to remain an industry leader.
Always be receptive to change and demand that you remain a leader in your industry.