3 Questions to Identify Roadblocks to Business Growth (and How Strategy Can Clear Them)

What challenges you most about your management and leadership role as business owner? Do you think about it? Our observations suggest too many business owners work according to learned practices which they do not renew. The result is company financial performance staying well below potential. Good and reasonable performance can become a hindrance to excellent and exceptional results. It’s easy to think ‘we are doing OK, there’s no need to change.’ Consider your response to any of the following questions:

• Please explain your marketing strategy and how all the methods tie together.

• How does your business use strategic planning?

• Describe your long-term strategic plan.

• Do you have an effective written business plan or marketing plan?

• What are the key elements of your staff training and development program?

The first step to facing uncertainty and challenges is to admit there are potential roadblocks to creating business growth. The second is perhaps admitting ‘I need help to remove the roadblocks’. If you take the second step to seek help, you are in the top 25% of business owners. Most resist help. A recent classroom experience at a prominent Australian University highlights this. A working student from India observed Australian business owners seem to be very independent and commonly have the view it will all work out in the end. ‘She’ll be right mate’ still prevails. This attitude may cost your business significant profit performance.

There is a key understanding every business owner needs to grasp if consistent growth is to become normal. We all have blind spots and beliefs we hold onto and thereby restrict success, breakthrough and improvement.

Will we confront and remedy our blind spots? Gaps in vision, strategy planning, marketing plans, leadership and management practice, our experience and even how we view our own industry or product groupings can form craters of restriction.

Let me suggest 3 questions every business owner could answer to start to identify gaps and reveal blind spots. You may find the questions confronting. None of the answers are necessarily easy to find, let alone the solutions simple to implement and establish in your business. Don’t put aside the questions if you are overwhelmed by the multi-faceted specifics required to instigate change and create growth. Consider the exacting specifics of research and change required in industries such as airlines, development technology, communications, security, automation, medical practice and more, where blind spots or neglecting systems can cost lives.

Q1. What time, energy and money are you prepared to invest in research, relationships and skill acquisition to begin or accelerate business growth?

Any change or adjustment will upset routines, historical practices, processes and systems, or the current lack of them. This is often the reason change and improvement is avoided. It disturbs routines, the status quo and demands careful change management. The easier part is usually discovering what is required but the high level challenge is in execution and implementation of the business plans to be introduced.

We’ve observed so many businesses try to create a strategic plan using basic goal-setting practices, but the day-to-day pressures pull staff back to operational and more urgent matters. There is no overriding business plan in place to maintain accountability and ensure target achievement. Strategic planning is not only the realm of large companies.

Q2. How will the required changes be achieved and what process will be used to advance all facets of a new business plan?

A Harvard Business School study found that 70 to 80 per cent of small businesses fail to see the projected return on investments due to the inflexibility or lack of strategy. Many small to medium business owners ignore or resist strategic planning for growth because it’s too hard or perceived as irrelevant. Hence, there is no certainty of business practices or clarity of company purpose beyond basic revenue generation and continued existence.

A successful business plan begins where we are and moves us towards where we want to be. Strong implementation and execution must articulate how we are going to move there. Clarifying goals and expectations is part of the process and ideally should be in light of relevant product and market life cycles. Plans start with small, deliberate steps for what’s important now and then create projects with longer-term specific action plans. Maintaining team focus on the desired outcome will then happen.

Q3. When was the last occasion your senior team members spent dedicated time with you as business owner to grapple with the high level thinking, leadership and creativity needed to see a breakthrough into new ways of running the business?

We worked with a company that supplied and installed a hi-tech product with increasing demand. The company had a staff of 10 people and the business was growing quickly. The director of this company argued in an elevated tone that he needed no one’s help, he was self-sufficient and no person can change how they operate. He was certainly right about himself. Discussions with staff showed he was blind to the true needs in the business and most staff were cruising well below capacity. A strategic plan would have accelerated the business into exceptional growth.

Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, authors of The Strategy-Focused Organization, identified in larger businesses, 85 per cent of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing business strategy. Too many SMEs never even mention a strategic plan. To lead a business into high-level thinking, leadership and creativity the key team must be reading, studying and keeping up to date with what is happening in their industry and business at large.

“Pay special attention to evidence that contradicts your beliefs” – Charles Darwin

Decide to push through those long-held beliefs screaming at you ‘it’s the only way something can work’. Remove the roadblocks, fill in the gaps and move forwards with certainty and clarity.

The Ultimate Importance Of An Organisational Business Strategy

Every business owner should develop a written guide that presents The Importance Of An Organisational Business Strategy for the company. The role of this article is to evaluate the appropriateness of each operational and marketing activity undertaken in relation to the overall business goals.

What To Consider When Strategizing For A Business

If the actions of a company are not found in the marketing strategy that was previously portrayed, this means is that we are firstly dealing with a crisis, motivated by actions of the competition or the changes in the market. Secondly, it could be about a strategy that did not meet the needs of the company.

In any case, the development of sporadic marketing activities that don`t include any consistency can have a negative impact on the company’s image and sales.

A marketing strategy should have clear objectives and must include the following aspects:

  • A description of the targeted audience or final customer
  • A description of the competitive environment in which the company operates
  • The used distribution channels
  • The way in which the company is positioned in relation to the competition
  • Aspects related to the authenticity of the product and the reason for which customers may choose it over the products offered by competitors
  • Pricing strategies in relation to those offered by the competitors
  • Marketing expenses – advertising and promotions
  • The conducted market research and the final outcomes.

Why Do You Need A Strategic Plan?

A business, regardless of its type, should be based on a clear strategy and should have a strict plan of actions in terms of financial resources, offers, objectives etc. The strategic plan is the synthesis of the key data of the business, including the business idea, its development project, and related calculations.

For a business plan to achieve the goals of the company, it must give due consideration to the following:

  1. Individual business profile
  2. The economic environment in which the business will be conducted
  3. The objectives proposed during the business development
  4. The purpose for which it was designed (presentation of the company, attracting partners or financiers for an already existing business or launching a new business).

The operating plan is a document designed to determine the development of an enterprise during a certain period of time. It is used to establish the mission, objectives, and strategies for the effective implementation of specific activities during a specified future interval. The utility of the plan is both internal (as a tool for managers) and external (to obtain financing or to achieve a strategic partnership with another company).

This organizational plan is the preferred method of communication between entrepreneurs, potential financiers, and investors. It is used toarticulate the business strategy, explain the meaning of all the established attributes of the employees, and the role they play in the company. The business plan is, on one hand, a tool to control the entire process of starting and supporting a business. On the other hand, the business strategic plan is an important indicator of the maturity of the business in relation to its operating environment.

Tips To Creating Your Own Marketing Strategy

Developing and creating marketing strategy is an essential for any types and forms of business. If you do not have one, it is a must that you create one, your efforts, time and money are likely to be inefficient and useless.

You should create your strategy which focuses on making sure that your products and services meet what the customers want and needs. This is important in order to develop a long-term and profitable relationship with your customers.

The main goal of a marketing strategy is to identify and to communicate with what benefits of your business could offer to your target market. Quite genius!

In order to achieve those goals you have set in your mind, you will need to create a smart strategy which can respond to customers’ perceptions and demands.

Tips below could help you define your key objectives and goals in reaching your customers, on the other hand, this could help you identify which customers you should focus on. Smart list for smart and effective action.

  • Identify your Key Elements. The acknowledgment that your existing customers will fall into particular groups or segments is one of the key elements for a successful marketing strategy. Characterize them by their “needs” and “perspective”. Market research could help you identify these groups and especially their needs, address them in a more fruitful way than your competitors, this should be the center of interest of your strategy.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses. Your strategy takes account of how your business’ pros and cons will affect your marketing. A genuine Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis could be a great start, to begin with. This one is a substantial idea to conduct market research on your existing customers, it will also help you to build a more genuine portrait of your reputation.
  • Developing your Marketing Strategy. Understanding your business’ pros and cons and the other external variables to consider, you could develop your strategy that engages to your own strengths, match them to the transpiring opportunities. These questions below could possibly help you develop your marketing strategy:
  1. What changes are taking place in the business’ environment?
  2. Are these opportunities or threats?
  3. What do I want to achieve?
  4. What are the customers’ demands and needs?
  5. How do I target the right potential customers?
  6. Which are the best way to connect with my customers?
  7. Is there something missing with my customer service? Do I need to improve it?
  8. If I change my products and services, could it be possible that it will be more profitable?
  9. How do I price my products?
  10. Which is the best way to promote my products?
  11. When can I finally conclude that my marketing is effective?
  • Tips and Drawbacks. Think about how you can get the most out of your existing customers before looking at new markets. It’s more economical and swift than finding new customers. Take time to think and consider, could it be possible to sell more to your existing customers? You could always search for ways of improving the possession of customers. Your marketing strategy document should:
  1. Examine the different needs of different groups of customers
  2. Focus on a market niche where you can grew rapidly
  3. Goal to put most of your efforts into the 20 percent of customers who provide 80 percent of profits

Avoid these:

  1. Makes assumptions about what customers want.
  2. Ignores the competition.
  3. Trying to compete on price alone.
  4. Relies on too few customers.
  5. Trying to grow too quickly.
  6. Becoming complacent about what you offer and failing to innovate.