Once you start a business your life starts to revolve around it. The more you progress the more it consumes you and the more you get led by the roller coaster of entrepreneurship. You enjoy the successes while the mistakes keep you awake, and as your business grows you start to reflect on the decisions you have made and which hurdles you have encountered. Time goes so fast and everything changes constantly until you find yourself stressed out and dissatisfied. Been there and done that. This is because, even though businesses face different challenges, many of the pain points are very common.
Here at Mind for Business we have the privilege to work with many businesses, which gives us the opportunity to learn from their successes and failures. We see their struggle and we see the actions they take to tackle them. Therefore we have listed the most common pain points of growing a business including effective solutions we have discovered ourselves to ease the pain.
1. Attracting Customers
One of the most common challenges that brands are facing is attracting and retaining customers. In order to attract your customers you need to understand who they are and what their motives are to buy from you. Learn about your current customers and people that have shown interest in what you offer to find people that are similar. Once you know who they are, what interests them, and how they like to be spoken to, you can do promotions and targeted advertising to reach them.
Here at Mind for Business, we start with creating a customer profile by getting in the skin of your ideal customer and identifying what it is that drives them. What are their pain points and what is it that you do to solve them? Our marketing strategy revolves around this.
2. Create a good marketing strategy
Online marketing is the activity that most small businesses struggle with and therefore neglect. This is a shame as this is what brings your product or service to attention and can propel your business forward. Many business owners overthink their marketing strategies and think it has to cost a lot of money before seeing results. You can start reaching your potential customers with low budgets on various online platforms like Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and others to quickly make an impact. The beauty of these online marketing channels is that they quickly provide you with data that gives feedback on the performance of your marketing efforts and your business.
Many business owners decide to outsource their marketing strategy to a specialized marketing agency. They don’t feel like they have the skills or time to make effective use of their marketing budget and rather give control to professionals. However, you need to be very careful with selecting a marketing agency as they can make or break the growth of your business. Here are some things to look out for when choosing a marketing partner.
3. Making customers come back
It is important to find new customers, but getting your previous customers to come back is what gives your business the advantage of compounding repeat purchases. If you can get a steady percentage of new customers to repeatedly come back and buy from you again you will build and grow a base layer of revenue. Succeeding in customer retention will exponentially increase your return on your marketing budget. However, brands often find it quite difficult to retain loyal customers after the first purchase.
In order to develop a strong customer base, you have to keep a few things in mind. An unhappy customer will most likely not come back. Therefore you need to stay on top of your customer service channels. Keep an eye on the quality of your product and the way it is packaged. Ask your customers for feedback so they feel like they are taken seriously and that they are involved with your business. This also helps you to improve your product or service. Moreover, customers need a reason to come back: Are there other products or services they can buy from you, or is there a reason to buy their initial product again for themselves or friends? Lastly, customers have to stay aware that you exist in order to remember to check out your offerings again.
At Mind for Business we utilize our free marketing channels like social media pages and email lists to nurture previous customers as well as retargeting them with relevant advertising.
4. Lack of time
Small business owners usually find themselves in a continuous and increasing lack of time. This is because they are working on the business and in the business at the same time.
If you reflect on your daily tasks you will probably quickly conclude that you are not any different. When you start your business you probably don’t have any choice other than doing both, but as the business grows you will be forced to isolate yourself from the daily operations and start focussing solely on managing the business. If you don’t, you will not be able to scale. Disconnecting yourself from the business will give you the opportunity to analyze every aspect of your business and improve it. Simultaneously you will find that while you free yourself of operational tasks, you suddenly have a lot of extra time and a clear mind. In order to be able to do so, you need to create a structure for your business where you can outsource and delegate the different tasks of the operations. This brings us to the following two pain points.
5. Finding good employees
Employees are more scarce than ever and selecting the right people is still a massive challenge. Especially for small businesses it is more difficult to select employees based on specific skill sets as often, roles at small businesses require them to do several tasks when compared to big companies they have job descriptions based on very specific tasks. This limits them to hiring people that have the necessary personality to succeed in a small business environment, where change is common.
Even though these conditions are challenges, it is crucial to still be very selective with who you hire. The success of the business lies on those who run it. Only with the right people are you able to create great products or services and streamline the processes and strategy of the business.
Attracting people who want to work for you is similar to attracting your customers. You need to create a working environment and a brand where people want to work. Creating an attractive company to work for is done by investing in your company culture, having a clear path for career development and by making people feel involved with the success of the business.
While talented and motivated potential employees are often scarce, there are many businesses that specialize in taking the same tasks out of your hands (often more efficiently, with more skill and for a better price) that are eager to take you on as a client.
At Mind for Business we have learned how to grow an ecommerce business without having any employees. Read more about the power of outsourcing.
6. Implementing and optimizing systems and processes
Lacking the right systems and processes is something that will keep you from scaling your business. If you can not duplicate your business processes without running into problems you have bottlenecks to resolve. Keep analyzing and simplifying your current processes and look where you can implement systems such as IT solutions to become more efficient. Sometimes you have to look for new resources, whether it be human, capital, physical, and financial. Just remember that the solution should be based on your current situation and needs. Don’t buy costly equipment and bring on new employees without the proper basis.
7. Lack of capital or cash flow
You can’t go without capital and you shouldn’t expect your business to instantly bring in money when you start it. So it is important that you have enough financial resources to get started and keep running. You can however keep a good eye on your resources and make sure you don’t run out of cash.
You can try to be creative with when you spend your money versus when you receive your money. There are plenty of success stories of businesses that fund their business with customer money. Think of doing a pre sale before actually spending the money to manufacture your product. In some niches it is normal that customers pay before their product is created.
If you do keep an inventory, don’t keep your money on the shelves for too long. Make sure you order enough to not run out too quickly but also not too much for you to sell quickly to get cash back. Also make use of payment providers that help you collect your revenue quickly so you have money at your disposal. We like to use shopify payments with our ecommerce stores which pays out within 3 business days.
Lastly, don’t make any unnecessary expenditures or underestimate how fast you burn through your capital. At Mind for Business we try to keep our spending at a minimum and evaluate whether it is the right time and the right investment. With advertising for instance you can quickly burn through large amounts of money without having a return. We test our advertising strategy on small budgets and increase only when we find success. To learn more about utilizing paid advertising as a powertool to grow your business you can read the article we wrote about it here.
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