• Mike Atkinson

Three challenges that derail even the best business growth plans

Here are three common barriers to business growth and how you can prepare for them in your business growth plan:

1. You can’t afford to grow

Growing a business requires cash. You need to invest in the business to take it to the next level––be that developing a new product, hiring new staff, upgrading your systems, or increasing your marketing efforts.

Think about how you can free up some capital to invest back into the business. Here are some questions to consider:

Are you prepared to work with an external investor?
Can you afford to take out a business loan?
Are there any business grants you can apply for?
Are you prepared to invest more personal savings into the business?
Exactly how much cash will you need to achieve growth?

It’s also worth thinking outside the box––there may be opportunities to grow the business without cash. For example, can you leverage any unpaid marketing opportunities, such as attending networking events, delivering speaking presentations, or investing more time into social media? 

Another idea is to increase your current prices to generate more income that you can invest straight back into the business. There may be a way to make more money from your loyal customers––even a price increase as small as 1 – 2 per cent could free up enough cash to invest in further growth.

2. You’re too busy to grow

Growing a business takes time. Success is often a direct result of how many hours you can put into developing and executing a strategic business growth plan. But if you’re already working around the clock, where can you find the time? 

It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day tasks and to spend the majority of your time “fighting fires” instead of planning for the future. Try to audit everything on your task list and delegate what you can. See if there are ways that you can become more efficient.

It might feel hard to prioritise planning time when so much is happening right now. But growth is the path to profit, and if you don’t make time for strategy then your profit might plateau, or worse, go backward.

Growth is the path to profit, and if you don’t make time for strategy then your profit might plateau.

One way to overcome this barrier is to work with people who can hold you accountable to your business goals. For example, a governance board, an accountant, or a business mentor. Make sure you’re constantly accountable for putting energy into the future of the business, not just the day-to-day challenges.

3. Your clients might suffer

Many businesses fear growth because they worry their existing clients will suffer. Don’t let this fear hold you back––you can look after existing clients and attract new clients at the same time, you just need to put some processes in place.

Here are some ways to grow your business and keep current clients happy:

Create a business growth plan that prioritises your existing clients
Make sure your existing clients have first access to any new deals or prices you are developing. Don’t fall into the trap of forgetting your existing customers when you offer new deals on packages
Keep your clients informed about your growth plans and thank them for their support
Demonstrate to your clients how your growth plans will add value to their business
Ask your clients for feedback and ideas on how to improve your service/product

Ideally, you want your existing clients to be your biggest supporters of growth–and if you look after them well, they will be. 

Looking for more tips to increase profit and achieve business growth? Check out our free e-book https://info.bellinghamwallace.co.nz/business-growing-pains to discover what strategies you can put in place to take your business to the next level.


Issue 80 September 2017