Barriers to business growth – Have you identified what these are?
Developing a strategy for growth involves thinking about possible barriers to scaling up. You need to be honest and pragmatic when considering what these may be.
Growing a business is not always straightforward. There are many barriers that can prevent a business from growing. You need to identify, address or remove these barriers for your business to get to the next level. Do you know what the barriers are within your business? Have you worked on resolving them if you want to grow or scale in the future?
A few common ones:
Lack of strategy
Lack of Staff
Lack of strategy
The growth of a business needs careful planning. How it will grow (planned rather than organic growth), the market, the business model, the people (customers & staff), the direction (diversification), the funding, investors, the exit strategy and so much more! Amazingly some business owners allow the business to drift and do not set a strategy, sometimes losing valuable years in the process. Planning a growth strategy is very important to its success.
Lack of staff
Employing enough staff within a business for it to operate it efficiently can sometimes become a major problem. Recruiting staff is not always as easy as it sounds. It is even more difficult if you try to do it all yourself instead of engaging the service of professionals. Get professional support from recruitment agencies and HR professionals (to stay on the right side of the law regarding employment contracts and legislation) once you take on new team members.
Who will be mentoring and guiding new team members to ensure they are empowered to do their job well?
Identify your fastest growing areas of business and think ahead for the specific job roles you’ll eventually need, to plug any gaps. It can be both an exciting and scary exercise but take time to map out a ‘family tree’ with the type of roles your business will need, to continue to grow.
You may see a natural order to the first roles needed but a demand within certain areas of the business will actually dictate which ones come first. Plan ahead and map it out. Make sure you fully understand where the areas of growth or opportunities are, to make the key job decisions easier when employing staff.
The people in your business will take a lot of time, energy and management but when you have a great team in place, everything works well. Will you have somebody in place to manage your people rather than doing it yourself? This in itself will become a key role as a team grows. Consider part time outsourced HR support in the early days.
As a business grows it is too easy to try to stay fully connected to each role of running your business. You’ll employ people to do these significant roles for you, so that you don’t have to. Learn to become more ‘hands off’ as the business grows and step away from your ‘day job’, the one that you’ve been used to since the early days of running and growing your business. The time where you did everything! You’ll need to become more strategic if you don’t want to prohibit the growth of your business.
Do you feel that you’re a natural leader? Maybe you need to improve your skills and knowledge to make you more confident in the role. Because you’ve been entrepreneurial and set up an amazing business does not mean that you are a natural leader of people, somebody who can inspire, lead and motivate.
If you feel that you may be lacking confidence, then engage the services of a Leadership Coach to help and support you before you are fully immersed in the role.
‘Working capital’ to run and operate your business is essential. Cash, not profit is what will pay the wages of your employees, pay the operating expenses within the business and keep everything on track and moving forward. Cash flow forecasting and knowing your numbers is vitally important. Daily! If there are changes to any expenses or income, you will see a trend emerging and be able to plan around it and make important financial decisions in an agile way. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your business finances will be essential to keeping it running smoothly.
As your business grows ensure you have a great pro-active accountant and consider employing the services of a part time financial director.
Since the pandemic we have seen that many business premises have become a liability now that many staff prefer to work from home. So many businesses may be left with premises too big for their current needs or not needed at all. The owners may be tied to expensive leases or commercial contracts.
Some businesses may decide that their model is more profitable to have a fully remote work force but it really depends on the sort of business you have and how you need to run it (for example from a shop /factory/office/shared office space). Some businesses cannot do without premises and some can, quite easily. Each decision is a bespoke one.
It can be a big operating cost to a business but often one that you cannot avoid if you want to grow and develop your business. The world of business has changed in the last 18 months, and so have many working practices. Now is the best time to find a great office or commercial property deal. Or maybe it’s time to disrupt your market with new and innovative ways of working.
Photo courtesy of Pawel Czerwinski @unsplash