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Seven reasons your business isn’t growing

Business Growth

You’re working really hard, but it feels like you’re standing still and your business isn’t growing. No matter what you do, it’s really hard to get your business to grow and you can’t seem to break through the wall. Frustrating isn’t it?

There are many reasons why this could be happening.  Here are seven along with some actions you can take to make changes.

1. Trying to do everything yourself

As a solo business owner you will be doing everything from selling to marketing, invoicing, delivery, admin, bottle washing, you name it. You’re doing it all aren’t you?

What is it you’re good at?  What you set up your business for in the first place, right?
So why are you doing all this other stuff? Remember how much your time is worth, because if you’re busy typing your receipts into a spreadsheet, you’re missing out on selling opportunities.  Outsource, outsource, outsource.

– Identify those actions you could outsource – Download an admin checklist here to help you work out what those tasks are.
– Outsource as soon as you can.  It doesn’t need to be expensive.  Thus you could get a bookkeeper if you have lots of receipts and invoices, or a Virtual assistant to help you out for a few hours a month, and you should certainly have an accountant.

I now have a VA who does four hours a month for me and it’s made a vast difference to me. A load of tasks that used to clutter up my mind are now handled brilliantly by her. For a small fee I’ll tell you who she is! Or just email and ask me – that will work too.

2. Control freakery

Do you have staff, but feel you have to do everything yourself?
You may wonder why your staff aren’t as dedicated as you – you’re working 60 plus hours per week and your staff work a nice 9-5. That can’t be right can it?

Could it be because you’re too afraid to let go?  Are you worrying that no-one else can do it as well as you?  You are the centre of your organisation and nothing can happen without your say so. This means customers will only speak to you, suppliers will only speak to you, your staff refer everything to you. Which means you’re exhausted and you daren’t go on holiday. And your company can’t grow – it’s limited by you. This isn’t unusual and you’re in good company – it’s one of the biggest challenges for the small business owner.

But – If you hire the right people (who share your values) and empower them, you’d be amazed at how good they can be.

– Identify what you can let go.
– Then work with your employees to see what they can do, train them and let them do it.

It’s not about letting go of responsibility, but about giving others responsibility by empowering them and helping them grow. An additional bonus is you’ll have hugely loyal staff.

Learn to let go – honestly, your life will get so much easier if you let your staff share the burden.

3. No forward plan

This is a biggie.

Let me guess, there are more urgent things to be doing right now and you sort of know where you’re going anyway?

Consider this – Of 26,000 start-up business failures, 67% had no written plan. That statistic is quite scary don’t you think?

And you’ve heard it all before – if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there?

There’s a reason I (and so many others) keep banging on about it and that’s because it’s true. Having a plan is critical to help you succeed.

And yes, of course it does take time to work out and it’s not always easy to do.

– Block some time out of your diary, or take a day at the weekend (I know, precious time), but start thinking about what success looks like for you such as:
– How much money do you want to be earning?
– What types of clients do you want (the profitable ones who come back time and again)?
– What are your best products (your most profitable ones and the ones that generate recurring revenue).

These are just a few of the questions and there are many more that will help you work on what you need to do to grow your business.

This is one of those areas that it’s really useful to get someone in to help you. I can help you ask those questions and work with you to get the answers.

4. No focus on niche

This is particularly true of relatively new companies – the fear that if you don’t sell everything to everybody, you aren’t going to get enough/any business.

The opposite is actually true.  The more you can be laser focused about your business and who you are targeting, the easier your messaging is, the easier it is to find your customers and the easier it is for your ideal customers to find you.

Also you’ll become known as the expert in your niche which results in you being able to put your prices up.

– Look at your top 10 customers.  Is there anything that links them – do they share the same pains? Do they have a particular demographic e.g. they are all women aged between 50 and 59 who have just had all their hair cut off and who need help with their make-up? That niche may only have one person in it, and that’s me. But I bet you if you are offering make-up services – that kind of niche makes for very clear messaging wouldn’t you say?  And yes, I have googled it, because I do need that help having had it all shaved off for charity!
– Once you’ve identified any trends, you can use this to start honing your message.

5. Lack of systems

Everything is either in your head, stuck on post-it notes on your board,  your business cards are teetering on the sideboard and you have multiple spreadsheets you’re trying to juggle.

It’s really tiring having to re-invent the wheel all the time isn’t it?

A good system will really help!   This includes having a decent CRM (where you can capture your business cards and next actions).
I have one client who uses hers to run her business rather than uses it to email her database. They needn’t be expensive.

– If you don’t have one, invest in a CRM solution. Either of these are excellent and only cost £8 per month per user:
Capsule is the simpler solution and really good for workflow.
OnePageCRM has better integrations to Mailchimp.
– Get someone to put all your business cards in for you, or to help you import your contacts from your spreadsheet.
– Diary date repeatable actions – such as end of month invoicing.
– Get a decent accounting package – I use Kashflow – I produce my invoices from it and it does my automatic chasing for me. And it’s one of the cheaper ones to get – £13 a month.

6. Poor cash flow

Is money going out faster than it’s coming in? i.e. you’re having to pay your suppliers before your customers pay you. Is month end a knife edge of wondering if there’s going to enough money to pay your suppliers.

Try the following:

– Read this blog on managing cashflow
– Download this checklist and make one change.
And see above – get yourself an accounting package – this can really help you monitor what’s going out and coming in.

7. Lack of consistency

This is quite a big subject but for the purposes of this article, we’ll concentrate on sales and marketing activities.

You do a bit of marketing, maybe write a blog, post it, and then not do anything for six months, or occasionally post something on Twitter. Or you go to a network meeting, collect some business cards and go home – networking box ticked. Does this sound about right?

Consistency is key – doing the activities regularly and following up.

– Commit to a frequency with which you will write a blog and stick to it.
– Stack up a load of Tweets on Hootsuite or buffer so they go out regularly.
– Use LinkedIn once a day to comment on groups that you are part of, or to reach out to people.
– Make one to one appointments with people you met at networking.

8. Taking action

However, with the best will in the world and whilst you might be saying ‘These are all good ideas Karen’, we both know it’s very easy to get blown off course and get distracted by the day to day running of your business.

So rather than think you need to add all these actions to your already long list, why don’t you choose one action from the ones I’ve listed above and implement it this week.

Let me help you stay on course – I can be your sounding board and guide to help you take the bigger actions.

This is how to contact me:

You can book a 30 minute call to see how we might be able to make those changes and get results faster – book a 30 minute complementary call with me to find out how

Or contact me via my website

Business growth

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About the Author:

About Karen Espley, blogging for The Chameleon GuideKaren Espley of The Chameleon Guide works with ambitious small business owners on her Profit Accelerator Programme. She brings pragmatic and real world advice in a group setting to help her clients make a significant difference to their business through increasing profits and running a highly effective business.

Offering workshops and group profit programmes for companies wanting to reach their full potential.