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8 Factors That Can Derail Growing Businesses


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Running a business isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. But when things are going well, it can certainly seem a lot easier than when you’re going through tough times. There’s nothing better than seeing sales and knowing that you’re slowly but steadily making your presence known in the business world.

Alas, while those moments are to be enjoyed, it’s also important to keep in mind that they may not last forever. There are always things that can come seemingly out of nowhere to derail your success. In some cases, it’ll be a minor bump along the way; in other cases, it will seriously impact your ability to function as a business.

In this post, we’ll run through some of the most common causes of business derailment, as well as guide you through some strategies to help minimize the impact.

New Competitors

You’ll be doing well now, in large part, because you’re ahead of your competitors. But what if a new competitor pops up that threatens to take some of your customers? It’s something that businesses in all industries have to contend with. There is, of course, nothing you can do to stop people from opening up a rival business (in most cases, anyway). The way to ensure they don’t impact your success is to have a mindset of constant innovation and growth. If you’re always being the best that you can be, then it’ll take a lot for someone else to overtake you.

Supplier Issues

It’s unlikely that you’re operating entirely independently. You’ll have a network of suppliers that you need to work with in order to function correctly. Normally, this system works exactly as it should, but from time to time — such as when Covid struck — the supply chain becomes backed up. To ensure that you can continue working regardless of global issues, it’s recommended to properly vet your suppliers before agreeing to work with them, and also have a backup plan in place. You may also consider stockpiling some supplies so you can ride out any issues.

Legal Matters

It’s easy to think that, as a business owner, you’re just doing your own thing. But of course, you have to work within the framework of the law. Depending on the industry you’re working in, you may be subject to a whole host of laws that you need to abide by. Similarly, there may be specific legal threats that you need to be aware of. Since this aspect of running a business can be complex, it’s important to work with a specialist legal expert or establish a legal operations management team. For instance, if you run a SaaS business, then a SaaS lawyer is recommended; if you work in the healthcare industry, then a healthcare legal advisor would be best. As with most things, it’s best to be ready for legal matters before they happen. If you’re not, then you could find that your business has significant obstacles to overcome.

Skill Shortages

You’ll need a team of talented staff to work at your full capacity. The problem is that finding such employees can be a challenge, especially for businesses that work in industries with a skills shortage. If you’re finding it difficult to attract the kind of talent you need to progress, then consider revising your hiring process. In many cases, it can be best to work with a recruiter that specializes in your area. You may also consider having an ongoing hiring policy so you can sweep up the best talent as and when they become available.

Departing Staff

As we’ve just mentioned, it can be difficult to attract staff, but once they’re on board, you’ll hope that they stay for a long time. If your employees are constantly leaving, then you’ll have to handle the problem of finding, hiring, and training replacement staff all the time. And that can have a big impact on your productivity and finances. If your employee retention rate is low, then it’ll be time to review things. Making your business a more attractive place to work, such as by improving the work environment, paying better salaries, and offering perks and benefits can all help.

Leader Burnout

Entrepreneurs have to work hard to get their businesses off the ground. However, while those long working days are essential at the beginning of the process, if the founder doesn’t eventually find work/life balance then problems can arise. It’s difficult for anyone to make accurate decisions and deliver their best work when they are overly stressed — and at that point, they’ll be at risk of burnout. If you’re an entrepreneur, then it’s essential to invest in your own well-being. It can seem unnatural to take a break when there’s work to be done, but you have to keep in mind that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

It’s also recommended to decentralize leadership so all the decisions aren’t in the hands of the founder. It can be difficult to relinquish some control, but if you hire the right people, then it’ll ultimately benefit your business.

Growing Too Fast

Many new business owners would be delighted to see many orders and sales come in within their first year of operation. But in many cases, this can actually be a problem. It takes time for businesses to get into the working groove, and if the small team is constantly trying to meet customer demands, then there won’t be the opportunity for things to grow organically. Plus, if too many orders come in, then there’s the chance that quality dips — and that can have a lasting impact on success. As such, it’s important to limit growth until you’re able to scale.

Failure to Adapt

Your business might be doing well right now. But that just means that it’s tapped into the current business environment. If things change, then success may begin to slip away. It’s important that businesses take an agile approach to their operations so that they can evolve with changing trends. Ultimately, the best businesses are ones that move with the times.

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