Before I tell you the #1 reason businesses fail to grow I must stress that this is just my considered opinion. You may disagree with my conclusions but hopefully I will lay out a convincing case to support my claim.
Most new businesses fail in the first 3 years let alone expand and grow. Assuming that you have survived those difficult first few years it may be that your business has reached a plateau or even started to stagnate. It’s an extremely common problem for most SME’s and the reason should be obvious but is surprising how much it is overlooked.
Growth provides a sense of purpose and direction; however, it is not always essential. I’m no fan of the ‘grow at any cost’ mantra and there are many businesses who choose to be ‘great and not big’. However, if you want to grow but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for you, this is the #1 reason why – YOU HAVE THE WRONG PEOPLE WORKING FOR YOU
Now I know that people will say that to grow you need a strategy…a plan with clear KPI’s, targets and a plan as to how you will achieve them. This is very true, but ask yourself this question: who will be executing this plan? The answer is either yourself or the people you have hired. It doesn’t matter how well thought out your plan is; it is people who will be implementing it. It may be slightly uncomfortable but you also need to look in the mirror and ask if you are also the right person for the job too.
Not every business owner or MD is good at creating growth for their business, in fact most are not nearly good enough. To acknowledge this in yourself is fine just as long as you bring in the right people to do it on your behalf…but they really need to be the right people or you simply won’t make progress.
Growing is about keeping your existing customers happy whilst continually finding new customers. The first part of that requires you hire people with excellent customer service skills who know how to look after your customers, creating quality relationships and always adding value. The second part requires you have sales focused people in your team who are confident in promoting your products and services and incentivised to win you new customers.
Focusing on sales is something most SME’s neglect without realising the risk it creates. Having an ever present pipeline of potential new customers is the absolute best way to protect your business against the risk of failing. If you do this and keep all your existing customers happy, you will grow…. it’s that simple. But to create a sales pipeline first requires the right kind of activity that has been carefully thought about and planned.
Always remember that it is then people who will undertake this activity, so whatever you do, make sure you have the right people in your team.