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5 major pain points and how to solve them
Get ahead of these pitfalls and keep your growth steady
When you start a business, you build and nurture it until it’s up and running. In the process, you develop a team and culture that often act as a second family.
Then it happens: you begin running into operational difficulties, or worse, you realize there has been a negative cultural change that you didn’t even notice.
Many entrepreneurs encounter these “problems of scale” as their business grows. Even successful growth can end up bottlenecked. Though some might call them good problems to have, if left unaddressed, these seemingly small pain points can escalate into major roadblocks to your continued success.
What is a pain point?
A pain point is a problem. Your customers may have specific pain points that your products or services try to solve, while your business may have pain points around daily operations or delivery.
As a business owner, you may face two kinds of pain points: those that affect your company and those that affect your customers.
Examples of pain points
Identifying business pain points – and then making the necessary adjustments to alleviate them – will go a long way in improving your company’s bottom line. Here are some of the common pain points you may encounter:
1. Process issues
Infrastructure problems appear frequently in rapidly growing businesses. In short, the operations that worked for a dozen employees no longer function properly when you reach 50 or more.
New management resources can be an effective solution to this pain point, as most entrepreneurs realize they can no longer handle everything on their own. Bringing in a CFO, adding some human resource managers and allowing specialists to take charge in areas where they shine can free you to focus on growth and development.
Issues with a growing business can often be attributed to control issues stemming from the leadership team, so you can avoid these common pain points by hiring and delegating.
2. Trouble with innovation
Innovation is key to the success of a new business, and most entrepreneurs maintain a great deal of enthusiasm for it during the start-up years. However, once they are at the helm of a growing business, they sometimes stop focusing on what they can do new and different and fall into a rut.
This leads to a variety of pain points including stagnation, lack of enthusiasm from the team and the danger of disruption or a competitor taking over their market share.
Running a sustainable business means consistently reevaluating the needs of your customers and tweaking your product or service as time passes. Your product or service might have been perfect for customers when you first started selling it, but how does it meet the needs of your customers six months, one year and five years down the road? Not anticipating the future needs of customers is one of the most frequent business pain points, and one of the most difficult to correct once you’ve gone too long without making a change.
How can you better help the people you’re selling to? Dig deep into your customers’ lives to see what they are struggling with. It’s only when you identify their pain points that you can develop products or services that address those issues and turn them into raving fans of your company.
Not only do you as a leader have to keep being innovative, but you also have to cultivate innovation in your team. Keep your mind open to change, embody the core values of your company and understand that setbacks lead to successes that will fuel your continued growth.
3. Trouble with the culture
Your organizational culture sets the tone for the entire organization – how your employees treat each other is also reflected in how you treat your customers, shareholders and everyone in your sphere of influence. Cultural problems may start out small, but they will grow if left alone. Eventually they reveal themselves, which can lead to even bigger problems down the line.
As your company grows and changes, your long-term employees may lose some of their initial spark or enthusiasm. Previously engaged and positive team members can turn toxic and start infecting others with their negativity. Why? Because their feeling of significance decreases and they now have to adjust to new processes. Common cultural pain points include internal team conflicts, bad attitudes and decreased productivity.
So how do you transform your culture and overcome these issues? Make sure your purpose as a company is always front and center. Make sure your company values are at the forefront of every employee’s mind. When everyone is committed to a larger purpose, they’re less likely to feel threatened by new team members, as they know everyone is rowing in the same direction. When you make sure that purpose is always at the core of what you do, you’ll avoid cultural pain points and set yourself up for successful growth.
4. Funding problems
Insufficient capital puts many companies out of business. Not only do you need an initial infusion of capital to start your business, but you always need an additional source at the ready, should it be needed. This can come in the form of money saved in the bank, a line of credit, a small business loan or an investor.
Continually finding a way to increase profits is the best way to address most business pain points, but you also need a back-up plan. Find as many streams of capital as you can, increase your profits and watch your expenses. When you try to scale too quickly, you can overspend on staffing and equipment, which leads to trouble when sales are down. Do your best to scale mindfully by outsourcing or having a cross-functional team that can be flexible in your early years of growth.
5. Problems with marketing
Lack of budget for effective marketing campaigns is a classic example of a business pain point. How are you supposed to stand up against businesses with a great deal of money to spend on advertising?
There are a multitude of inexpensive marketing options that are effective when implemented correctly. Try developing buyer personas and marketing directly to your ideal demographic instead of spending large sums of money trying to appeal to the general public. You can target your ideal customer with content marketing strategies, social media ad campaigns and email marketing. You can also look into influencer marketing as a potential channel to tap into, along with customer testimonials or reviews.
How to identify customer pain points
Determining what causes your customer pain points is an ongoing process. Your business will change as you grow, and the needs of your customers are going to change as well.
With that in mind, here are some questions to help identify where you can best help your customers:
- What is your biggest current challenge?
- What has prevented you from overcoming this challenge?
- Would a product or service that is or is not currently available help you solve that challenge?
- What takes up the most time in your day?
- What roadblocks prevent you from achieving your top two business goals?
When you ask open-ended questions such as these and deeply listen to the answers, you can identify the pain points that will help you innovate better products and services and successfully grow your business. It will also help you learn which questions to ask yourself and your internal staff to identify your own business pain points.
A growing company is bound to face numerous pain points. But you can anticipate some of these problems and even avoid them if you put proactive measures in place to address them before you reach crisis level.
Working with a business coach is another effective way to identify and address business pain points. When you work with a Tony Robbins Business Results Coach, you tap into the best minds in the business who can help you develop the strategies you need for success.