Common Challenges that Can Stunt the Growth of Your Business

As your company grows you will inevitably hit a few roadblocks. Even if you have a great product, killer website, and top-notch customer service, your growth will likely stall at one time or another. You might feel like your business is stuck in a rut and you’re not sure how to get it back on track. If this sounds familiar, you’re in good company. Lots of great businesses have stalled at different points along their growth trajectory, and it’s perfectly normal to struggle when scaling up your business. 

There are a lot of different things that can hold your company back, but we’ve rounded up a few of the most common challenges business leaders face. Read on to learn more about the pitfalls to avoid, and tips for taking your business to the next level. 

Maintaining Company Culture

“As your company grows and takes on new employees it becomes harder to maintain your company culture – but it is crucial that you do. When you started your business you likely had a clear vision for how your company would operate and what you expected from your employees and partnerships. As you grow, that vision has to be adapted and continually prioritized. Make sure you are consistently communicating your values to your new employees and external partners, and building a strong framework around those values.” – Heather Pulier, CEO of Outset Financial

Lack of Communication

“When companies get started they typically only have a few employees and communication happens naturally. But when those companies grow and take on new staff they sometimes neglect to formalize communication channels and strategies. This can lead to siloed information, and departments that don’t communicate well with one another. This can be very damaging to growth, and it boils down to the fact that those communication channels were never clearly established. To avoid miscommunications and missed opportunities, be sure to reassess your internal communication strategies often and take steps to break down barriers between teams and departments as your company grows.” – Brandon Adcock, Co-Founder and CEO of Nugenix

Fear of Collaboration

“As your business grows you will come across a lot of opportunities for collaboration. Be thoughtful before entering into partnerships, but don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from joining forces with others. Some business owners are very hesitant about collaborating with like minded partners because they don’t want to relinquish control, or they’re worried about the long term implications. Perform your due diligence and research potential partnerships thoroughly, but remember that partnerships are a key strategy for growth, and neglecting them can quickly lead to stagnation.” – Michelle Arnau, CEO of Rowan for Dogs

Inconsistent Marketing

“To effectively grow your company it’s important to be intentional and consistent with your marketing efforts. Many companies will invest in occasional marketing to promote a sale or special offer, but then they’ll drop off the radar for a few months before jumping back into their marketing channels again. Marketing efforts typically take time to mature and generate traction, and evergreen marketing campaigns generally perform a lot better than a series of one-off campaigns. If your team has invested time and resources into developing content and establishing customer relationships, it’s important to maintain those assets.” – Trey Ferro, CEO of Spot Pet Insurance

Setting Unrealistic Goals

“It’s good to have high expectations for your business, but you have to moderate those expectations with facts and data. Some businesses struggle with growth because they’re not accurately assessing the market and their competition. Make sure you set realistic short and long-term goals, and continually reassess those goals as situations change. Adaptability is key, especially as you’re scaling up, and you may find that your goals have to be adjusted or reprioritized over time.” – Leo Livshetz, Founder and CEO of UnHide

Managing Your Time Effectively

“As a business leader it’s important that you know how to manage your time effectively, especially as your business grows. You have to learn when to delegate tasks and operational activities and when you need to get involved. Knowing the difference between when to delegate and when to step in is an important distinction to be aware of, and it’s something a lot of business leaders struggle with. It’s tempting to want to be involved in everything and have a say in every matter. Have faith in your team and utilize their strengths.” – Cole Steverson, COO of Hybrid2Go

Supply Chain Holdups

“Manufacturing and supply chain holdups are very common challenges for new businesses to deal with, especially as your business begins to grow. You may find that you have to reassess long-held partnerships if growth exceeds your supplier’s capacity. Always be on the lookout for the most efficient and cost-effective options, and make sure you’re conducting thorough market research. Proper forecasting for market trends will help you plan out your supply needs in advance, and will be crucial as you scale up.” – Liza Kirsh, CMO of Dymapak

Continuing to Operate Manually

“One of the biggest growth killers I’ve seen is when companies continue to do things manually as they expand their operations. While there are certainly many tasks that require manual oversight and input, a lot of processes can be automated. Data collection and payment processes, for example, can be automated. Talk to your team about what regular tasks they perform that can easily be automated, and invest in the resources needed to take routine manual tasks off their plates.” – Jim Marggraff, CEO of Kinoo

Not Knowing the Numbers

“Many businesses we talk to simply don’t know their numbers. Whether it’s their lead-to-sale close rate, their lifetime value, or any other important number, knowing each makes a huge difference for business growth. If you don’t know your numbers, you won’t know if you’re making the right decision or not. A good example is if you set your lifetime value too low, or don’t know what it is at all. You’ll optimize your marketing campaigns for that low lifetime value and end up switching off campaigns that were actually making a profit, reducing sales and growth.” – Duncan Jones, Head of Strategy and Growth at Web Profits

Cash Flow Management

“Cash flow problems are the second most common reason why small businesses go bust, according to research from CB Insights. Owners have to spend money to make money during a growth period, but this concept can quickly get out of control and leave you in a precarious position. Manage your cash carefully during these times. Turn to your channels that produce consistent sales and work to maximize their contributions to your bottom line. Negotiate favorable payment terms with partners and vendors too.” – Firas Kittaneh, Co-Founder and CEO of Amerisleep

Growing your business can be tough, and even the best businesses stumble once in a while. If you want your business to succeed, you have to focus on growth and long-term sustainability.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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