The failure rate for new businesses is a well-publicised statistic and one that might scare off the more risk-averse potential entrepreneurs.
Still, despite all of the obstacles facing business owners today, new businesses are launching and rising all the time - and the small percentage that does make it have the chance to make it big.
So what is it, exactly, that sets the winning businesses apart? Read on for five of the biggest obstacles facing small business owners and teams (and the advice you need to overcome them).
Lack of strong leadership and innovation
The most successful businesses are just groups of people with a variety of skills and talents working together towards common goals, and it takes a strong leader to hold those groups together. That leader, whether it be a manager, a senior staff member, or an on-call C-suite executive, has significant responsibility for shaping the business, creating the culture, and inspiring innovation.
Ideally, the person in that top leadership position should be willing to think outside the box and trust in their own ideas and abilities while also listening to and nurturing others within the team. That’s when teams and companies realise the true power of effective leadership: unleashing the full potential of everyone on the team and synergy that is far greater than any one person’s contribution.
Failure to listen
Sue from CFO on Call says “Listening is a seriously underrated skill, particularly in business - so much so that it could mean the difference between success and failure.
Your customers and clients deserve your listening ear first. In the modern economy, connections come before sales, and if you want your market to choose you over your direct competitors, you need to communicate your aligned values and beliefs. Listening to find out more about those values and beliefs is a great start.”
It’s also important that you listen to your competitors if only to keep track of what they are doing, and to the market in general. This way, you’ll be prepared to respond to big developments and get ahead of the competition at every opportunity.
Lack of a USP
In simple terms, your Unique Selling Proposition is the one thing that would make your ideal client choose you over everyone else, and writing an awesome USP is pretty crucial to business success.
Without a USP, you will struggle to stand out in a crowded market - or even in a not-so-crowded one - because you won’t be able to articulate what’s so special about your offering.
The trick is to resist the urge to write just anything, and instead make sure your USP is rooted in genuine insight - the kind that comes after listening to and connecting with your target audience.
This way, you can drive the value of your business home with a single, pithy statement that responds directly to the needs and desires of your ideal customer.
Poor hiring decisions
Even in our burnout-ravaged economy, some people remain convinced that it’s possible to do it all on their own - and they would be right, but with that mindset, very few businesses ever last long enough to grow.
In most cases, creating a sustainable business means growing and delegating tasks, and in order to delegate effectively, you first need the right people on your team. Poor hiring decisions cost businesses a great deal of time and money, not to mention the impact on your internal team culture.
Although great hiring decisions are subjective, one thing remains true in every case: it takes time to work out who someone really is, so think carefully about the questions you ask and the tasks you set for potential hires.
Inability to adapt
Whether you’re dealing with market changes, new marketing channels, or staff turnover, the business world is in a constant state of flux. From this perspective, it’s easy to see why businesses without agility so often sink during difficult and tumultuous times.
Right now, the best thing you can do to future-proof your business is to work with a business coach who can help you develop your SWOT analysis on a whole new level and act on opportunities that you may not have anticipated. This way, you’ll feel better prepared to make informed decisions and movements that help rather than hinder your business growth and stability.
Here’s the bottom line: no one starts a business expecting it to fail or go downhill, but unfortunately, this is a common reality. Want to be one of the few who doesn’t just survive, but thrives in even the most difficult business markets? Build these five things into your operations at every opportunity, and move forward with confidence.