Growing a business is no easy feat, and there are numerous challenges that entrepreneurs face along the way. To provide you with valuable insights, we’ve gathered 15 expert opinions from CEOs, founders, and other business leaders. They discuss the hardest parts of growing a business, ranging from maintaining work-life balance to task prioritization.
- Maintaining Work-Life Balance
- Handling Increasing Competition
- Scaling a Cohesive Team
- Preserving Quality During Expansion
- Challenges With Distributing Equity
- Hiring the Right Leaders
- Building Brand Credibility
- Validating Niche Ideas
- Changing Obstacles Stemming from Revenue
- Competing with a Limited Budget
- Securing the First Deal
- Cultivating a Strong Company Culture
- Adapting to the Market
- Managing the Cash Flow
- Ensuring Proper Task Prioritization
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
As an entrepreneur, there are few things more difficult than finding a sustainable balance between your business and your personal life. It’s not a cliché that when you’re growing a business, you never really stop working—there have been plenty of days where work has followed me home, around the house, and even to bed as I think things over.
This is not sustainable and can actually hurt your business in the long run. You need to find a balance where you can power off the part of your brain that’s responsible for the business and engage with other aspects of your life. Easier said than done, of course, but havinga small physical ritual to separate the two works wonders.
Try physically closing your computer and putting it in a drawer at the end of the day— it doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it’s something you do every day to mark the end of your work.
Handling Increasing Competition
One of the hardest parts of growing a business is navigating increasing competition. As a business expands and gains success, it inevitably attracts the attention of both new and established competitors in the market.
This heightened competition demands constant innovation, adaptability, and vigilance to stay ahead of the curve and maintain market share. To effectively manage the competitive landscape, a growing business must stay up-to-date with industry trends, foster strong customer relationships, and continuously invest in research and development to differentiate itself and create a sustainable competitive advantage.
This challenge is particularly difficult because it requires balancing resources between addressing immediate needs and planning for the future.
Scaling a Cohesive Team
As a business of one, I struggled for years to scale my time. It didn’t make financial sense to pay someone else to do the things I could do, especially on non-revenue-generating activities. In the first few years, growth took the form of price increases and offering new services.
A few years ago, I started looking more closely at ways I could grow my business without raising my prices. I built a team of writers who could support more client work as well as new services I could offer that didn’t require huge time investments. These ideas seem obvious now, but the path to growth isn’t always black and white. I feel like these next steps to growth revealed themselves when the time was right.
The longer you work on your business, the better you’ll be able to spot these opportunities.
PreservingQuality During Expansion
Scaling my business while retaining the standard and integrity of my products has to be the most challenging aspect of any expansion. This demands thorough preparation and execution, as well as considerable time and resource commitment.
I make sure that my staff is the appropriate fit and has the knowledge and experience needed to enable growth. In addition, even as my company grows, I need to keep my focus on providing excellent customer service. This can mean integrating new operational management methods and procedures and coming up with fresh marketing and promotion strategies for my company.
Overall, the fundamental challenge is consistently balancing expansion and sustainability, while keeping the needs and preferences of my customers at the forefront of my business strategy.
Challenges With Distributing Equity
It’s difficult todecide how much equity each owner of the business should receive. Additionally, if the business takes on additional investors or partners, it can become even more complicated to apportion equity appropriately. This is because ensuring that everyone gets an equitable stake in the company requires thorough research and analysis of what percentage of ownership would be fair and advantageous for all parties involved.
It’s important to make sure equity is fairly split in order to prevent future disagreements and ensure everyone is properly compensated for their investment or contribution. Furthermore, it’s vital to review the company’s ownership structure periodically as the business grows and evolves.
Hiring the Right People
Finding the right leaders, delegating work, and finding the right employees. Building a business is all about finding, evaluating, and hiring the right people to do the job better than you.
However, this is the hardest mind-switch for entrepreneurs, because in most cases, you think you can do things better than the people you hire. In some cases, this is true, but in others, you have to let it go.
You cannot build a business without being great at hiring and finding the right people.
Building Brand Credibility
I run a digital marketing company that primarily acquires clients through a variety of digital channels. That means having a positive online reputation and appearing credible is crucial for successfully signing new clients. But establishing your brand can be very difficult when you’re starting from nothing.
We have the domain expertise and experience that potential clients are looking for, but the upstart company simply doesn’t have the same brand recognition and hard-won reputation as more established players. This is a problem that can be overcome. It just takes a lot of work to get out in front of customers and demonstrate your unique competencies when you’re relatively unknown.
Validating Niche Ideas
Knowing if your niche idea will fulfill the industry need that you’ve envisioned, and creating a product or service according to that idea.
An idea can sometimes misunderstand its industry, and sometimes a product or service gets lost in translation from idea to creation. It can be a challenge to not only take a great idea but also translate it into real life and make it work for the industry need that you originally sought to fulfill.
Changing Obstacles Stemming from Revenue
Drawing from my experience as a founder, investor, and operator, businesses face distinct challenges depending on their revenue levels:
$0-1M revenue: At this stage, businesses consistentlystruggle with finding product-market fit. The challenge is to figure out what to sell, identify the target audience, and reach them in a reliable manner.
$1-10M revenue: The hardest part here is ensuring consistent quality in service delivery. Businesses now understand what to sell and who to sell it to, but they must establish processes and secure the right talent to deliver their products or services at a larger scale. This can be particularly challenging for businesses offering non-standardized services.
$10M+ revenue: At this level, businesses often find that their primary channel plateaus, limiting further growth. Consequently, they need to discover and develop secondary and tertiary channels to maintain growth, which can be as demanding as finding product-market fit multiple times.
Competing with a Limited Budget
Competing with larger brands on a smaller budget is one of the hardest parts of growing a business.
As a business owner, it’s important to make a living from your business but also to generate profits you can reinvest for further growth. While some entrepreneurs strike gold and quickly reach that reinvestment stage, most must build their businesses slowly and steadily.
Established brands often have the advantage of investing more easily in areas such as conversion rate optimization, content writing, link building, and pay-per-click advertising. This enables them to grow even faster, making it difficult for smaller businesses to catch up. Finding creative ways to stretch limited resources to compete with big brands can be a significant hurdle for entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses.
Securing the First Deal
The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is making those dreams a reality—closing your first successful deal. It is a milestone that every entrepreneur has to get through, and it can be incredibly daunting.
Despite investing time and money in building a wonderful website, I was nervous about how clients would respond and perceive my product. I was worried about whether the marketplace would be accepting or not.
But once I closed my first successful deal, that apprehensive feeling was replaced with tremendous confidence and motivation. Everything henceforth was about making improvements, scaling up, and branching out.
Cultivating a StrongCompany Culture
Maintaining a strong and cohesive company culture can be challenging as a business grows. The influx of new employees, processes, and locations may dilute the organization’s core values.
To mitigate this, businesses must actively communicate and reinforce their culture while fostering an environment that encourages open dialogue and empowers employees to contribute.
Adapting to the Market
Adapting to market changes is one of the toughest business growth aspects. It requires high flexibility, willingness to change, and constant vigilance. The market is constantly evolving, and keeping up with new trends and emerging consumer needs can be challenging.
Staying ahead of the curve requires a deep understanding of your industry and a willingness to invest in new technologies and techniques. As a business owner, you must always seek opportunities to improve and innovate. It’s a never-ending process that demands hard work and a willingness to take risks. Adaptability and staying ahead of the curve are the keys to success in business.
Managing the Cash Flow
One of the hardest parts of growing a business is managing cash flow.
Cash flow refers to the movement of funds in and out of your business over a period of time. It is necessary for any business, regardless of size, to maintain adequate cash flow as it pays for everyday operations, such as inventory and payroll. Failure to manage cash flow properly can lead to serious financial problems, which may even put the future existence of your company at risk.
In order to successfully manage your cash flow, you must implement best practices such as tracking spending, creating budgets, monitoring accounts receivable and payable closely, paying vendors on time, pursuing debt collection in a timely manner, negotiating payment terms with suppliers or customers when possible, taking advantage of early payment discounts, and using financial software to gain better visibility into your finances.
Ensuring Proper Task Prioritization
When growing a business, there are a lot of different tasks that need to be completed in various aspects of your business. It can be challenging and overwhelming to prioritize different tasks and identify what you should spend your time and money on.
My one tip for prioritizing your business tasks is to define the current goal you’re working towards (i.e., gain more clients, become more profitable, increase conversion, etc.). Before starting a task, ask yourself if this task will bring you closer to your goal. If the answer is “no,” try to identify the right time to complete this task and focus on a different one that will bring you closer to your goals.
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Failure is part of the growth process. The toughest part of founding and running his own business, Bradley says, is dealing with the fear that he may so many times he'll want to give up. “Fail fast, fail often, fail cheaply – that's a startup motto and something high growth startup founders should follow.What is the hardest part about your business? ›
The hardest thing about starting a business is the amount of money it takes to get started. It takes money to rent or buy a space, to buy supplies, to hire employees, and to market your business. If you don't have enough money to cover all of these expenses, you'll have to find a way to finance your business.Why is business growth difficult? ›
There may not be enough space for everyone to work efficiently. Morale may drop if staff cannot cope with the extra work. Productivity can decrease. There may be a shortage of cash to meet expansion costs.What is the hardest form of business to start? ›
Mining, Oil and Gas Extraction Companies.What is the hardest part of being a business owner? ›
- Dealing With The Unknowns. One of the hardest things you'll have to face as a business owner is dealing with the unknowns. ...
- Being On 24/7. ...
- Saying No. ...
- Learning To Delegate. ...
- Scaling At The Right Time.
Managing people is the hardest, yet most underrated skill in the business world today. The ability to get people to not only listen and follow, but to think and execute. Many have said skills are innate.What is the biggest and hardest responsibility of an entrepreneur? ›
1. Financial Issues. The main challenge that all entrepreneurs face is to get their business funded.What problems do most businesses face? ›
- Maintaining quality customer relationships.
- Meeting customer needs.
- Preserving a good reputation.
- Retaining employees.
- Finding an effective brand.
- Marketing in a saturated marketplace.
The vast majority of businesses that fail do so within the first two or three years. It's true that the first two years in business are the hardest, especially for someone who is brand new to owning a business, and who has no experience managing staff or dealing with accounting or bookkeeping.How do you grow a successful business? ›
- Do Your Research. ...
- Build a Sales Funnel. ...
- Increase Customer Retention. ...
- Participate in Networking Events. ...
- Practice Corporate Social Responsibility. ...
- Form Strategic Partnerships.
Financial Assets and Cash Flow:
Gaining the maximum results with minimal capital and resources is the strategical plan of every business that desires to grow and make a profit for sustainability. For any business, cash management is crucial, since financial problems can limit or stop the growth of the business.
- Adjust your mindset.
- Set goals.
- Learn why customers are leaving.
- Understand your target audience.
- Perform a SWOT analysis.
- Take a hard look at your finances.
- Get funding if you need it.
- Pivot and change direction.
The most complex for of business organization is the corporation. A corporation is a legal entity, or being, owned by individual stockholders, each of whom faces limited liability for the firm's debts. Stockholders own stock, a certificate of ownership in a corporation.What are 3 risks in opening your own business? ›
Entrepreneurs face multiple risks such as bankruptcy, financial risk, competitive risks, environmental risks, reputational risks, and political and economic risks. Entrepreneurs must plan wisely in terms of budgeting and show investors that they are considering risks by creating a realistic business plan.Which is the most effective form of business? ›
Correct Answer is: c. corporation.Is it hard to succeed in business? ›
Being a business owner is hard work, and it requires a persistent mindset to succeed. Many businesses have the potential scale, but many struggles to stay on top. It takes time for a small business or a startup to grow and create a name for itself. There are many business and business models to choose from.Why is owning a business stressful? ›
Running your own business is time consuming. With so many things that 'must' be done it may feel there is never enough time in the day. These time pressures force many small business owners into working extremely long hours. This puts enormous stress on your health and mental well being.What are the three most important thing in business? ›
No matter how bold or ambitious your plans are to grow your business, the key to your business's success lies in three critical, interdependent components: operational excellence, customer relations/communications and financial management.What four things do most successful businesses have? ›
In the case of a successful business, we have the leader as the maestro and four necessary components: a strong management team, a comprehensive business plan, a supportive company culture and the ability to work within financial constraints. Get them all right, and you could have the perfect symphony!What is considered the most difficult part in business planning? ›
“The most difficult part of writing a business plan is the financial section. It is difficult to project figures on a brand-new business with, possibly, a brand-new concept. There is not roadmap, no one to follow. The best you can do is find a similar company and try to gauge what they are making.”
The biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face is not from the outside. It is an internal struggle. The constant self-doubt keeps screaming at you and makes you question if you have it in you to succeed. If left unchecked, self-doubt can eat you away and make you a negative and depressed person.
Business growth and scaling.
Figuring out how to grow your business is the most obvious and daunting challenge of entrepreneurship. There are thousands of ways to grow a business, and deciding which way is best for you can feel like an impossible challenge.
The role of a business is to produce and distribute goods and services to satisfy a public need or demand. According to Business News Daily corporate social responsibility (CSR) is “a business practice that involves participating in initiatives that benefit a society.”What are the three major challenges faced by businesses? ›
Build Brave Belief In Your Business…
These challenges include the rise of technology, globalization, and the changing workforce. As a business leader, it is vital to be aware of these challenges and take steps to overcome them.
The most common reasons small businesses fail include a lack of capital or funding, retaining an inadequate management team, a faulty infrastructure or business model, and unsuccessful marketing initiatives.What are the 5 big entrepreneurial challenges? ›
- High levels of stress.
- Struggling to find product market fit and finding customers.
- Overworking and becoming burned out.
- Lack of cash flow.
- Finding the right business model.
The information industry sees the highest percentage of businesses fail in that first year. In this industry — which includes customer service representatives and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers — 26.4% of businesses fail within the first year.What stage do most businesses fail? ›
Data from the BLS shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.Why do most businesses fail within 5 years? ›
Poor Market Research
One of the main reasons small business ventures fall flat is due to inadequate market research. When entrepreneurs have a good idea, product, or service, they start dreaming big. Confidence is good, but too much of it can sabotage a business.
- Acquire New Customers.
- Increase Your Average Transaction Value.
- Increase Your Customer's Frequency of Purchase.
The seed, startup, growth, established, expansion, maturity, and exit stages. Each stage of growth in business is important because businesses are known to face different challenges at each stage. They also require different financial management practices at each stage to survive.What are 5 key things to running a successful business? ›
- Start with the why. Every successful business has a reason for being in business. ...
- Set appropriate goals. Your goals are essentially your definition of business success. ...
- Create a written plan. ...
- Keep reassessing your plan. ...
- Delegate as much as you can.
Business growth is a phenomenon that occurs when business owners, employees and outside factors influence the success of a company. A business grows when it expands a customer base, increases revenue or produces more product.What makes businesses grow? ›
Revenue: Revenue is a go-to metric in establishing business growth; after all, it's the amount of money your company is bringing in. Revenue growth over time can be good, as it generally means you're making more sales or higher-value sales.What is the most important factor for business growth? ›
#1 – Customer Loyalty
When company leaders strategize about sales growth, the focus is often on how to bring in new customers. While it is important to increase brand awareness and expand your customer base, you must also work to increase sales potential with your current customers.
Successful small businesses are run by passionate entrepreneurs who also possess strong business acumen. To maximize your chances of success, keep accurate records of all transactions, cut costs wherever possible (without sacrificing product quality) and focus on providing an outstanding customer experience.What are the four ways to grow a business? ›
- Attract New Customers. Bringing in new customers is important for every business, especially startups. ...
- Engage Your Existing Customer Base. ...
- Pursue New Distribution Channels. ...
- Grow Your Business Through Acquisition.
- Think Like A Coach. Forgive the sports metaphor, but it definitely fits the idea of staying positive. ...
- Avoid “What Ifs” ...
- Be Happy When You Work. ...
- Keep A Sense of Humor. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Stay Open Minded. ...
- Stay Flexible. ...
- Be Proactive.
A complex business model addresses a broader, more complex value proposition through one or more products and/or services or a combination of it. Multiple business models address multiple value propositions through one or more products and/or services.What is the simplest form of doing business? ›
It is the simplest form of business organization. Proprietorships have no existence apart from the owners. The liabilities associated with the business are the personal liabilities of the owner, and the business terminates upon the proprietor's death.
What is business complexity? Business complexity refers to the formation of a large, interconnected network of technologies, data, products or services, and people within an organization. It's often a byproduct of positive business changes like innovation, growth, and expanding product portfolios.What would be the 5 scariest challenging and biggest risks about starting your own business? ›
- Product risk. Decide what you are selling. ...
- Market risk. ...
- Financial risk. ...
- Team risk. ...
- Execution risk.
Common business risks include: market acceptance, time-to-Market, incompatible product fit, difficult-to-sell and loss of political support. Use this list of the top 50 business risks to identify the risks that you may face in your business.What are the three main risks? ›
Types of Risks
Widely, risks can be classified into three types: Business Risk, Non-Business Risk, and Financial Risk.
A sole proprietorship is the easiest and simplest form of business ownership. It is owned by one person. There is no distinction between the person and the business. The owner shares in the business's profits and losses.What form of business is the most popular one to start? ›
A sole proprietorship is the most common form of business organization. It's easy to form and offers complete control to the owner.Which growth strategy is the toughest? ›
Diversification. This is the hardest and potentially the most risky, it involves developing new products to sell to new markets.What are the major problems in business? ›
- Recruitment, Retention of Employees, and Labor Quality. ...
- Changing Operations in Response to the Market Conditions. ...
- Lack of Capital/Cash Flow. ...
- Administration. ...
- Time Management. ...
- Marketing and Advertising. ...
- Managing and Providing Benefits.
There are four main organic growth strategies. They are known as market development, market penetration, diversification, and product development.What is the best growth strategy in business? ›
Organic business growth is generally the best type of business growth strategy. In fact, most successful companies will do extensive research into their target market in order to generate growth organically and sustainably. One of the benefits of organic growth is that it has a strong impact on brand awareness.
Some common growth strategies in business include market penetration, market expansion, product expansion, diversification and acquisition.What is the biggest challenge for most business? ›
- Maintaining quality customer relationships.
- Meeting customer needs.
- Preserving a good reputation.
- Retaining employees.
- Finding an effective brand.
- Marketing in a saturated marketplace.
- Experiment Before Investment. ...
- Rethink Your Marketing Strategies. ...
- Find Balance In Product Development. ...
- Create A Stronger Team. ...
- Make Virtual Events More Personal. ...
- Communicate Your Short- And Long-Term Objectives. ...
- Collaborate With Your Team. ...
- Have Fun.
- Inadequate job descriptions. ...
- Lack of training. ...
- Ineffective job performance reviews. ...
- Lack of two-way communication. ...
- Ineffective employee recognition. ...
- Lack of job-related accountability. ...
- Improper or excessive company policies. ...
- Lack of equipment and facilities.