Growing pains for your business can be expected. And scaling your business can be complicated, especially when you’re wearing multiple hats. Most small to medium size business often face the same challenges within the first few years of their business. When working with clients, they are often all facing, or have faced similar challenges. Check out, and avoid, the four common growing pain categories that small business owners face below.
Having a firm foundation and overall strategy for your business is key to the success of your business. Too often, lack of direction and vision can be the start of an uphill battle. Knowing your who, what, when, where, why and how are all part of starting a business. And having business goals are just a small part of an overall business strategy. Outlining the path that you’ll take to achieve those goals and establish your business are also key in helping to reduce growing pains. Conducting research to prepare for any obstacles that may be along the way should also be done when outlining that path. How will you handle handle competition, and keep up with industry changes? Will you be able to make the transition from serving 5, to 50, to 500? What will you do to ensure that your product, service and quality stays consistent over time?
This is the category that I focus on, but often ties into the others, some way, some how. There are four things that rise to the top that fall under the category of marketing:
- Not having a cohesive brand. Having a cohesive brand allows for your business to organically build brand awareness and credibility. It also shows professionalism.
- Not having a strategy. Marketing without a strategy is like baking a cake without following a recipe.
- Failure to allocate marketing resources. When starting a business, establishing a budget to put towards ongoing marketing is often overlooked. How will you gain new customers and make sales if no one knows about your business?
- Failure to measure marketing initiatives. Measuring your marketing allows you to make smart decisions regarding where to allocate your time and money. It also allows you to better understand your audience, and to make sure that you’re connecting with them
By addressing the four issues above, early in the game, helps to greatly minimize growing pains.
Get help! Just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean that you should do it all. Find resources and tools that will allow you to automate, outsource and/or delegate. Consult with a Brand Strategist to get guidance on what it takes to establish a cohesive brand, and walk away with a checklist of what to do and what right looks like. Hire a Marketing Consultant before deciding what to spend your money on, to make sure that it makes sense for your business. Spend some time with an Operations Strategist to learn what it will take to scale your business in X amount of time. Working with an expert is like going to a mechanic for regular maintenance or when there is an issue with your car. You wouldn’t spend hours researching and watching videos on how to rotate your tires, you’d just take your car in for service. Invest in yourself and your business, and also save yourself the headache.
As a business owner, you’re already stretched thin. How you spend your time is critical to the success of your business. Growing pain challenges can be caused by not allocating time and attention to the things that are crucial to the success of your business. Productive time management allows you to stay focused on your goals, and ultimately, the things that will move the needle for your business. For example, spending hours or days researching packaging ribbon, is time that you could be using to send a thank you note to an existing customer, with the hopes of gaining a new order or referral. Packaging ribbon will not increase sales, but a thank you note could.
Hopefully this article helps you to avoid common growing pains. Hopefully you’ll be able to make changes now, to prevent any future hurdles. If I can be of service, or if you have any follow up questions, don’t be a stranger. As always, I’m here to help.