Overcoming growth obstacles for small businesses

Posted in Business and entrepreneurship.

Growth is a top priority for the majority of today’s small businesses, and this is a top priority for business owners. In fact, research shows that half of all SME owners are kept up at night thinking about growth opportunities, while around 36% are concerned about financial issues.

Prioritising growth is a hugely beneficial strategy for small businesses that aim to develop rapidly, although there are certainly a number of obstacles that can mean grabbing opportunities for growth is often challenging. Let’s take a look at common growth obstacles, and the best ways to overcome them…

According to a study by B2B insights agency B2B International, the biggest concerns for SMEs are:

Building Market Share

Market share is an important consideration when it comes to growth, as it is reported that a 40% market share generates two times the profits of a 10% market share in a B2B environment. Businesses struggling to build their market share may find that continuity across all business activities is key to playing a more significant role in the market: Continuity in product launch, product improvement, and in sales activity.

Innovating Products and Services

Innovation is cited as one of the key challenges for B2B businesses, with some organisations struggling to find the right forward-thinking talents to help them revolutionise their product and service offerings. Recruitment is key to overcoming this particular challenge, with businesses being urged to consider talent, interest, and skill equally alongside traditional qualifications in a bid to generate new ideas.

Retaining Customers

It costs the average business 5 times more to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an old one, which means that customer retention is a major focus for many small businesses. However, a number of businesses are struggling with this. According to insights agency Epsilon, the secret to overcoming this obstacle is data; collecting and analysing big data to gain a more in depth insight into customer needs.

Improving Internal Processes

In B2B International’s research, this obstacle is said to be becoming more apparent, affecting around half of all small businesses today, compared to just 30% a few years ago. If your business isn’t already adopting automated processes, then these are well worth considering. Automation in the workplace is becoming increasingly popular, delegating predictable tasks to computers, freeing up valuable resources.

Countering the Competition

Countering the competition is all about being in a position to be able to deliver more value to your B2B customers than anyone else. It sounds tricky, but experts say that ‘value’ can be broken down into 5 distinct aspects, giving you more manageable, bite-sized chunks to focus on: response, service, quality, price, and time. A business is more than just its products/services… give your brand its own voice.

It’s Not All Tricky…

Despite these obstacles, there are a number of aspects that, while appear challenging on the surface, are actually affecting fewer small businesses today than they were just a couple of years ago. Expanding into new markets is one such ‘obstacle’, which is proving to be easier to achieve for SMEs due to the rise in online B2B sales, digital communications, and virtual catalogues that remove geographical limitations.