Stefano Maifreni, founder of Eggcelerate
What is standing in the way of your business growth?
No matter how passionate you are about your business, and no matter how many hours you log in, you are going to face many obstacles along the path to success.
Today’s world is moving faster than ever before. Businesses must operate against a backdrop of evolving technologies, disrupted markets, massive shifts in consumer demand and with the emergence of GDPR, new territories in legal compliance. Furthermore, the level of uncertainty and economic turmoil in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis has reached a fever pitch.
In such an environment, how can you mobilize and maximize your business resources? How can you not only respond to shifts in the market but anticipate them? Most importantly, how can you identify and implement the right strategies to deliver stable, sustainable growth in our uncertain world?
The obstacles your organization is facing may be systematic, and many may not even be in your control. But the truth is the most effective solutions will often involve simple changes.
Below we’ll examine 5 of the most common barriers to business growth and how today’s forward-thinking businesses are overcoming them to not only maintain their revenue but work to increase it.
No Unified Brand Strategy
Running a modern business means being on top of numerous operations and systems – all of which need to be working efficiently to be competitive. With so much going on, leaders can get stuck micromanaging while losing sight of the messages they are explicitly and implicitly sending to their customers, employees and business partners.
Having a unified brand strategy will help you and your management team make decisions that align with your business’ core mission and set of values, so you are always presenting a clear brand promise to your stakeholders.
Your business’ brand is the foundation of your business. It will affect every area of your operations from marketing, sales and customer support, to your supply chain management, your IT systems and future strategic decision-making. A growing body of research shows the clear relationship between business values and customer brand perception, employee engagement, and increasing profitability.
Creating a clear brand strategy means getting back to the basics by answering several key questions, such as:
- What is the brand and core competencies?
- How are your operations supporting your mission and goals?
- Who are you targeting?
- Which channels and mediums are your organization using to reach current and potential customers?
- How will this affect the hiring and career development processes at your business?
An Out-Dated Business Model
A decade from now, we may look back on this period and conclude that the most fundamental change to the business world is the businesses themselves. Today, we are witnessing a pivotal shift in business models and business partnerships like the digitalization of commerce, the rise of the gig economy, as well as the growing influence of software and infrastructure as a service. Business partnerships are also evolving into adaptable, organic ecosystems.
To be successful, your business must create a flexible, adaptive environment that can respond to things like sudden shifts in demand, supply chain, cash flow and even the competitive field. The break from rigid hierarchies and decentralized, rapid decision-making gives your business the ability to offer personalized, on-demand products and services.
The process of aligning your business model to today’s realities begins with assessing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and looking for the easiest, most profitable path to your customers.
Short-Sighted Decision Making
The pace of business has dramatically increased. Many crucial business decisions now need to be made in a shortened time frame, even in real-time. Quick, effective decision-making is now a known competitive advantage. A study by Bain & Company shows the relationship between the speed of decision-making and business performance in the market.
There are three key elements you need to have in your business to get to effective, rapid decision making:
- An effective management team. A dysfunctional team can’t properly exchange ideas, analyse information, or best utilize available resources.
- Collecting useful data and knowing how to analyse it. Data collection, organization and analytics, is what drives modern operational strategies on all levels.
- Getting the right tools. Your business can benefit from intuitive technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that can organize and analyse data and, in some cases, act on data patterns.
Not Fully Utilizing Available Technology
Outside of the business world, we see a blending of technology with everyday life. Just think of the impact of mobile devices, smartwatches and fitness trackers, as well as the expanding Internet of Things. Customers today are in search of sophisticated personalized purchasing experiences, not just online, but offline, too.
The business world is following suit. Although advanced technologies, such as AI and ML, are prevalent in big corporations, today even SMEs can tap into advanced platforms for cash flow management, marketing, personalized experiences, optimization of operations.
Most people may think of outsourcing as using an offshore call centre. Today, outsourcing has exploded to virtually every area of business administration and operations. Many smaller companies may baulk at the idea of outsourcing their operations for fear that it will cost too much and make them lose control over their business. But outsourcing some time-consuming, resource-heavy tasks has helped many SMEs become more profitable.
The truth is, pouring resources into systems you don’t have the time, money or workforce to manage and maintain, such as IT and data security, is more often than not a mistake. It’s a mistake that can put a big damper on growth since so much is tied up in inefficient systems and processes.
Getting past the barriers that are preventing your business growth and development requires taking a good, hard look at your business as well as the resources you have at your disposal. Doing so may open your eyes to opportunities you never knew existed to take your business to a whole new level.
An engineer by education, product manager by role and expert at achieving growth by career, Stefano has an outstanding track record in business strategy, operations, product and marketing, with extensive P&L management and international expansion experience.
His professional journey includes Senior Manager roles in global Blue-chip companies, Growing Businesses and Start-ups in technology-intensive and innovative industries (IT, Telecom, Technology Manufacturing, Drones, IoT and and FinTech).