The challenges of growing a business – and how to meet them


Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might not be the best approach now. All too often, avoidable mistakes turn what could have been a great business into an also-ran.

Recognising and overcoming the common pitfalls associated with growth is essential if your business is to continue to grow and thrive. Crucially, you need to ensure that the steps you take today don’t create additional problems for the future. Effective leadership will help you make the most of the opportunities – creating sustainable growth for the future.

This guide highlights the particular risks and mistakes that most commonly affect growing businesses and outlines what you can do about them.

Ensuring you fully understand your growth market

Market research isn’t something you do as a one-off when you launch your business. Business conditions change continually, so your market research should be continuous as well. Otherwise you run the risk of making business decisions based on out-of-date information, which can lead to business failure.

The more you succeed, the more competitors notice – and react to – what you are doing. A market-leading offer one day may be no better than average a few months later. Loyal customers can be quick to find alternative suppliers who provide a better deal.

As products (and services) age, sales growth and profit margins get squeezed. Understanding where your products are in their lifecycles can help you work out how to maximise overall profitability. At the same time, you need to invest in innovation to build a stream of new, profitable products to market.

Information sources

Published information can provide useful insights into market conditions and trends. As a growing business, your own experience can be even more valuable. You will be able to build up an in-depth picture of what customers want, how they behave and which of your marketing approaches work best.

Taking the time to talk to key customers pays off. Your suppliers and other business partners can be important sources of market information. You should encourage your employees to share what they know about customers and the market.

Effective IT systems can also make it easier to share and analyse key information, such as customers’ purchasing behaviour and preferences. See the page in this guide on having the right technology and systems to facilitate growth.

You may want to carry out extra research as well – for example, to test customer reaction to a new product. You might do this yourself, or use a freelance researcher or market research agency.

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