Many business owners are determined to overcome barriers of their business to make it grow, yet there is only a small percentage of people who achieve it, successfully. The growth of your business can be a major challenge for business owners. I’ve met many business owners who think that growth creates too many barriers that can cause headaches and end up deciding to try to keep their business small. The reality is though, that type of thinking just exchanges one type of stress for another.

According to the ABS, as of June 30, 2016, the number of actively trading businesses in Australia was 2,171,544, with 9.2% of these businesses having 5-19 employees and the reports say that this number is decreasing. Unfortunately, most of these businesses will never grow beyond the level they are currently at.

For many, this is not a deliberate choice, but the result of a lack of confidence and ability of the owners to effectively manage growth. The thing is, however, owning and managing a business is stressful at the best of times. But the answer to this challenge is not to stay small to avoid it but to learn how to address the challenges and stress in a more effective way.

When I work with business owners, I ensure that we work on what I consider to be the 5 P’s of business, People, Planning, Process, Product, and Productivity. Almost any aspect of running and growing your business will fall under one of these categories. It’s important to recognise where the barriers are that are holding you and your business back from being the awesome business that you deserve so that you can address them.

Some of the common barriers I come across are below:
 

1.Mindset

Is your mindset holding your business back? Be aware of how your thinking is acting as a barrier to the growth of your business and consider how you can start to think differently to enable growth. What thoughts are you having that are stopping you growing your business? You may be afraid of success or not know what it even looks like for you. You may be lacking confidence, unclear on the steps you need to take or have a fear of failure that is holding you back.
 

2.Working ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ your business

To enable growth in your business, you need to spend time working ‘on’ your business, not just working ‘in’ your business. Quite frankly, it’s a big step to take and it’s one of the biggest challenges you will overcome, the move from working in the day to day of your business to being more strategic.
 

3.Knowledge, experience, and skills

Consider increasing your knowledge, experience, and skills to enable your business to grow, especially in leadership and management. Invest in yourself and your team, upskill to support growth, it will be the best investment you will ever make. What additional skills do you and your management team need to take your business forward? You may also want to access the support of specialists who can help you grow your business, people like me. (Sorry for the shameless plug)
 

4.Lack of strategic planning and a vision

Get a clear vision of what the growth looks like and what it will feel like to achieve it. A strategic plan and vision for the business is a critical starting point for growing your business.
 

5.Doing the same as you did when you started

When was the last time you did something different in your business? Business growth requires flexibility, you need to be open to change the way you have always done things. You need to innovate, create and be prepared to do something different. Consider what needs to be different in your business to enable growth.
 

6.Inefficient systems, processes, and procedures

Are your systems, processes, and procedures inefficient and ineffective and no longer productive? Investigate new technologies to support your growth? To enable growth you will need to improve your processes and procedures and invest in new software.
 

7.Outsource to support growth

Do you have adequate resources e.g. staff, suppliers, equipment, finance, investment etc. to support the growth? You may need to employ additional people, outsource some of the work, invest in equipment or new premises or you may need additional finance or investment.
 

8.Business Management

Do you truly understand how your business is performing? To enable growth you need to be proactive and actively manage your business, including keeping focused on your business strategy, planning what you need to do to achieve the strategy, ensuring action is being taken, reviewing how you are getting on with your plans, prioritising and re-prioritising as things change and reviewing and updating your business strategy on a regular basis.
 

9.Inadequate marketing activity

When was the last time you reviewed your marketing activity? What marketing activity are you doing and does it work? Too many businesses assume that they will keep generating sales without adequately investing in and understanding their marketing. The right sales and marketing activity is critical to your business growth. However what is right today may not be right tomorrow so flexibility and creativity in your sales and marketing activity are essential.
 

10.Poor customer service

Is poor customer service impacting your business? Your customers, as well as yourself and your staff from the key people in your business. What do your customers think about your service? How do they talk about your business and the service they receive? If your customers aren’t happy then your business just will not grow. Excellent customer service is a prerequisite for sustainable business growth.

I could keep going on, but in all honesty, I think I may have lost a few of you already. So I’ll finish off by asking you this, are any of the above actings as barriers to growth in your business? If your answer is yes, then you need to find a way to prevent these factors hindering your business success.

For ideas as to how to grow your business please contact me directly, I’d love the opportunity to help.

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