To own a growing company is on every business owner’s wishlist. However, a fast-growing business can present challenges that you may not be equipped to handle. Between staying up to date on your competitors, managing employees, and attracting customers, there are a lot of places that can bring your success to a halt, or even reverse your growth. Here are a few common business growth struggles that small businesses tend to go through while trying to expand their company, as well as a few strategies that can help you overcome these obstacles.
Competing With New Companies
As you begin to find success in your space, you will likely draw the eye of other businesses who are looking to recreate your results. New companies will start entering the space as well— offering similar products and services at reduced prices as an attempt to attract your customer base. This can be both challenging and disheartening if you’re not used to dealing with new competition.
A competitive analysis is the best way to gauge where you stand in regard to the other companies within your industry. With 19 percent of businesses going under because they’re ignoring the competition, it’s important to be on top of what other businesses are doing around you. While your first instinct may be to outdo your competitors by lowering your prices or offering discounts, turn your focus inward. Work to improve your products and services so that you can overcome growth struggles by providing unique value that other companies simply can’t mirror. Communicate this difference with your customers, and let your product speak for itself.
Growing Your Team
Another challenge for fast-growing businesses is hiring and managing additional employees. Not only does adding new talent bring a financial cost to business operations, but it can also have the potential to disrupt company culture and blur lines of management if done improperly This disruption could not only keep you from reaching your business goals, but it could also lead to your current employees leaving, leaving you with the task to replace them, possibly adding to your growth struggles.
The key to expanding your workforce is to make decisions based on your company values. Market your culture during your recruiting process to help attract talent who will fit seamlessly with your current employees. If you’re still having trouble, think about hiring using recruitment software to help you with your efforts. These solutions provide valuable insight on hiring new talent, which can make growing your workforce much easier.
Managing Cash Flow
82 percent of businesses fail because of poor cash flow management, making it one of the top two reasons that companies don’t make it. This is especially true for fast-growing companies— as the consequences for not properly handling your funds are much more severe than for companies that aren’t experiencing much growth. Common challenges include an increase in overhead costs, poor organization, lack of available capital, and having too much time between when you need to pay your bills and when you receive income. Any, or all of these things, can contribute to a lack of business growth or even the failure of your business altogether.
The most important step to creating sustainable cash flow is to regularly monitor it. You should be diligent in tracking where your money is coming from and where it’s going, and also the time it takes between receiving cash and the time in which you have to pay for your expenses. This way, you can find solutions to existing problems as well as prevent future ones, regarding your cash flow. If you notice that you won’t be able to cover all of your expenses with your predicted income, then consider finding another source. There are plenty of small business loan options that can provide you with the cash you need, some of which can be made available to you in 24 hours. The faster you’re able to identify cash flow problems, the simpler it will be to resolve them.
Creating a Steady Customer Base
Another great way to guarantee that you have enough money is to have a reliable customer base that provides a steady income. However, if most of your customers are one-time buyers, then the amount you’re spending to attract new customers could be crippling your business. On average, it is six to seven times more expensive to attract new customers than it is to retain current ones.
In order to establish a consistent customer base, you need to focus on building their loyalty to your brand. This can be done in multiple ways, from having exceptional customer service to building a community of brand ambassadors who swear by your products and services. When trying to improve your customer service, search for tools that make it easy to address your customer’s concerns. Technology offerings, like support desk software, help employees manage their interactions with customers in a timely and efficient manner. These systems help provide pleasant customer experiences that will make your customers want to continue buying from you.
You can also gain loyal customers by using influencers to build a community of brand ambassadors who swear by your products. While influencer marketing is great for attracting new customers, it can also be used as a way for customers to engage with other users of your product without having to interact with your brand at all. The key is to form a partnership with influencers who are vocally struggling with the problem your product can solve, and then have them share how your brand has helped. As these influencers become long-time customers of your business, their followers will be loyal to your brand as well.
Using the Appropriate Technology
Technology has completely changed the way that businesses operate. Improving internal and external communication, automating tasks, and collecting customer data are just a few of the gains that can come from incorporating technology into your everyday operations. But as your company begins to expand, it can be difficult to know how to scale your current technology investments to meet the demands of a larger work-force and customer base. Especially if you’ve made your technological decisions based on your current needs without considering how those needs may change.
The first step to ensure that your business technology is scalable is to choose options that can integrate with other software. This functionality will make it easier to introduce new software offerings into your business, should you have the need. While it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends, you also need to make sure that any new technology you add to the mix doesn’t overlap with your existing systems.
If you do not know where your company may be lacking when it comes to tech tools, try to gather feedback from your employees and customers to see what’s working and what opportunities there are for improvement. Getting advice from these groups will make expanding your business much easier, and can prevent a lot of these growth struggles.
The growth struggles that come with running a successful business can make or break your company. With a little insight and preparation for the changes to come, you’ll be able to expand your business smoothly and efficiently.