Small companies are faced with many challenges in their initial years. It’s easy to see why folks tread carefully during the first few years of business, as there are so many things that could go wrong. From finding customers, generating leads, creating an email list to hiring the right staff and balancing growth and quality, Scaling a business is one of the toughest things for a business. However, with the right tools and knowledge, these obstacles can always be overcome.
Here, we have compiled 5 challenges that every business meets with, along with some advice on what you can do about it. If you’re looking to scale your business, then be sure to avoid these common pitfalls.
1. Hiring The Right Staff
“No man is an island”. For operations to run smoothly, you will need to get the right people on board. It’s impossible to know everything yourself, so you will need to hire people. The problem, is that hiring people in itself can be complex. And if you fail to hire well, employee turnover can become a costly expenditure.
Typically, most small business owners opt for a quick-and-easy method. Post a job offer, sift through applicants and then make a decision. However, this is equated with a short-term mindset. It may take a little longer, but investing in the right people means being thorough and clear on what you expect from your candidates. Don’t settle for good when you can have great!
Choosing the right employees is a large factor in how your business scales. If you’re consistently hiring with a short-term mindset, then your long-term goals will become much harder to focus on.
2. Generating Leads
Generating leads for business and sales is no walk in the park. Marketers struggle with these troubles all the time. Low traffic, unqualified leads, budgeting issues, these are all the troubles that you can anticipate as a new business. Social proof is also an issue, with followers being picky about whom they choose to follow on social media.
Most businesses these days have websites and they rely heavily on them to monitor their audience. Generating leads requires you to optimize your existing websites. To make it work, ask yourself questions like:
- Is your website layout intuitive? As in, are customers able to get a feel and be guided through your website or are they lost when landing on your home page?
- Are you creating custom landing pages for the campaigns that you run?
Look to prioritize your most popular webpages first. Most businesses have specific pages that bring in the majority of their traffic. These are usually the Home, About Us or Contact Us pages.
Also be sure to take advantage of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – specifically, lead management software. Malaysian companies like ICRM and Callbox provide affordable lead management tracking, besides other CRM-related services.
3. Balancing Growth and Quality [restrict]
Scaling is a tricky concept to work out, simply because it varies between different situations. This problem can arise in any business area: product development, marketing and content creation, hiring and so forth.
Expanding too quickly can leave you overwhelmed with all going on. On the other hand, growing too slowly can leave you disillusioned from your original goals.
Depending on who you are, what your companies goals are and sometimes, well, down to pure luck, there is no predetermined solution. It is important to manage expectations when it comes to scaling your business.
However, this is where the more humanistic aspects of business come into play. It comes down to accepting and moving at a steady pace. Not obsessing over perfection and details, but being firm with your products and services. This is not to say to that you need to underestimate your company’s ability to scale, but you should be able to back your expectations up with figures. Above all, ensuring that your customers are delighted with your product should be your priority.
A piece of advice from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos helps put things into perspective. He states that despite your focus, obsessive customer focus is by far the most productive way to grow your company – which, leads us to our next point.
4. Obtaining Customers
It is always better to know where your market segment is while planning your product. Major companies don’t wait for leads to fall into their lap. Every time a new product is in the works, they’ve already taken pro-active measures to ensure that their target customers will be aware of their products.
However, these are corporations that are big enough to be household names. For small business, the game is slightly different, but the approach should be similar.
Find and appropriate your market segment. If you are into clothes alterations, then ensure you know what sort of target demographic you’re aiming for. Start by segmenting your customers and creating buyer personas. This means accounting for their earnings, purchasing power, interest in services and so forth. Details like these can influence your location dramatically.
By understanding who your customers are, you can then begin creating content that appeals to them and approaching it the right way.
5. Spreading Brand Awareness
It can be scary, imagining how to grow your business. Given that mega-corporations are way ahead in the game, it can seem impossible for a small business owner to reach such heights. Can your business achieve that level of success? Perhaps, but remember that most companies had to start at a small level initially.
For the big companies, most of their failures are kept hidden behind the scenes. But there are ways of building your brand and reputation that you can begin working on from any level.
One way to get your brand recognized is to associate yourself with others who share your outlook. If you are producing content, for example, then featuring guest content will help you gain awareness from a new audience.
Another similar strategy is to get involved with local partnerships. Partner up with local business to host joint festivals, seminars or campaigns. This will not only open up more doors, but will help you get to know other future partners in the community.
As small business owners, there can be a whole lot to manage without the budget for larger staffing. This doesn’t mean it gets easier the bigger the company grows. Remember what scaling means – that as a company, your ability to manage the growing profits and responsibilities must follow suit. Roadblocks may appear along the way, but overcoming them is what truly makes helps us grow.
Growing a business is a patient process. Hasty decisions will almost always have a backlash. By learning more about general problems that arise, it makes it easier for us to take measures that can prevent or minimize these occurrences. While they may seem minuscule at times, just remember the “the devil is in the details“. In other words, large strides are made from small steps in the business world, so every effort plays a part to your company’s growth.