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Common Obstacles to Business Growth

“You have to grow! You grow as a person, and then you will grow in business.” – Andrew Cherng

Growing a successful business is not easy and it is inevitable that problems will be encountered along the way. Lack of success can lead to frustration and self-doubt, especially if weak sales are leading to cash flow problems, the most common killer of small businesses.

It’s therefore important for business owners to be aware of the most common types of difficulties that they are likely to encounter. Being an expert in a particular sector is no longer enough, a good business owner needs to have the ability to step back from the myriad of day to day tasks at the business coal face and take a broader view of the top level issues affecting progress and profitability. They need to complete the difficult transition from being an employee to become a business owner, and to ensure that they are working ‘on’ the business and not just ‘in’ the business.

In this series of articles we will look at those common problems that affect many small businesses and which can make the difference between profit and loss, success and failure, happiness or misery.

Have You Created a Growth Plan?

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Business Growth Tips: Understand What You Are Trying to Achieve

So why are you in business? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Do you like the freedom? Are you trying to grow something for the family? Is it all about maximising current income? Are you looking to sell up eventually? Is it a lifestyle business? Is it the only way you can generate an income? Different aspirations require different approaches.

People start a business for many reasons though sometimes it seems that people launch a start-up for no clear reason at all. Adversity is often the spur to launch a new venture, and very often the timing is not of their choosing if it involves redundancy or business failure. Just think about the numbers of successful businesses that were created as the coal industry collapsed, with the mix of highly skilled people, funds from redundancy and great ideas combining to create successful businesses like Hesco Bastion.

Having clarity in your business growth plan

Understanding why you are in business and what you are trying to achieve makes all the difference in the long term.  Consider Bob and his best friend Bill, both self-employed building contractors running similar sized businesses in the same area.

  • Bob is very much focused on generating a good income for today but Bill has a different approach since someone once told him that he needed a plan if he was going to be successful and he took that message to heart.
  • Bill decided that the reason he was in business was for the benefit of him and his family, and that in due course he wanted to hand the business over to son Johnny.

Taking a long term approach meant that he needed to invest in the company and make growth sustainable. He decided that excess profits would be reinvested or kept in reserve whereas Bob preferred to spend any spare cash by treating his wife to expensive holidays.

Understanding why you are in business not only changes the way you act, it also changes the way you think. Taking a long term approach allows an owner to psychologically trade off short term pain for long term gain. Working long hours and sometimes weekends is never fun, but if it supports a long term ambition then it is a lot more palatable for both you and your family.

Once you understand why you are in business, you can then start to put together the planning that supports the long term ambition. And as Lewis Carroll famously said in Alice in Wonderland, ‘If you don’t know where you are going………….any road will get you there!

Other Articles from this series:

Follow Up Articles – coming soon!

  • Do You Have The Right Business Model?
  • Do You Have A Niche or Differentiation?
  • Do You Have Enough Support?
  • Are You Part Of The Problem?
  • Do You Know Your Business Strengths & Weaknesses?
  • Are Your People The Problem?
  • Do You Struggle To Stay on Track?

If you are looking to grow your business, seek out expert help from a business coach / mentor who can help you and will provide the impartial advice and support you will need to be successful.

Business growth advice from Yorkshire Powerhouse
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