Running your own business is one of the most rewarding things you can do, especially when you have a product or service you truly believe in. However, as most small business owners would agree, it can also be one of the most challenging – particularly when you’re trying to grow it.
Unless tackled correctly, these challenges can stunt growth in its tracks.
To help you face them head-on and emerge victorious, we spoke with Samantha Watt, business consultant and director of Six Bar Consulting, for her advice.
1. Not enough time
Running your own business is a constant juggle, and it’s normal to feel like there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Before you know it, you’re spending the vast majority of your time ‘in’ the business, and not nearly enough time ‘on’ the business.
And this creates a problem. Because when you’re too wrapped up in the day-to-day details, it is impossible to dedicate time to big-picture tasks that drive your business forward, such as strategy and marketing.
This is where prioritisation and delegation come in. It’s important to determine which tasks move the needle and which ones suck up time and energy – albeit keeping the revenue flowing in.
“Make a list of everything you need to do and then rank them in priority order,” says Watt.
“Look at the low-level tasks and automate as much of your list as possible, through automation tools like Zapier and If This Then That.”
Also, look at the tasks you may be clinging on to for legacy reasons, or because you simply enjoy them. They may well need doing, but do they need doing by you? If not, delegate.
2. Poor team management and communication
When it comes to business, you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. So, it’s important to ensure your team is a well-oiled machine, especially in those early stages of growth.
When your team is on the same page, and everyone is working towards a united goal, it leads to improved overall business performance and efficiency. On the other hand, poor team management and communication can hold a business back.
“As a team, agree on principles for communication and performance moving forward and hold each other accountable,” says Watt.
“As the boss, learn to fire fast, as sometimes the under-performers can create more unrest within the team unit.”
3. Lack of brand awareness and leads
You can have the best product or service in the world, but if your target customers don’t know it exists, you’re going to struggle to grow the business. This is why it’s so crucial to refine your brand positioning and get it in front of the right people.
“How clear is your message?” says Watt. “You may benefit from the assistance of a gun copywriter to help polish your branding messages.”
To help you get the most out of your advertising efforts, you may also want to consider carrying out market research. This will help you determine which advertising mediums are going to be most visible and powerful for your target demographic, whether it’s social media ads or posters in a train station.
Of course, brand awareness is only one part of the equation – you also need to convert casual browsers into customers.
“Keep in mind, customers need to see your brand multiple times before they will be ready to buy,” says Watt.
For this reason, you may want to consider running repeat ads for consumers who have engaged with your brand or create a lead magnet on your website to get your audience onto an email list.
4. Lack of access to funds
Cash flow issues are perhaps the most significant roadblock experienced by small businesses.
Whether those issues are caused by a lack of sales or late-paying clients, it’s difficult to plan for the future when money is tight. After all, you need funds to invest in the things mentioned above, like marketing assistance and a team to delegate to!
Thankfully, there are always options, whether it’s seeking investment or taking out a small business loan to fund your growth.
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