Common business problems – and how to address them
However great your product, team and customer service, there are ALWAYS going to be challenges. Many of the common business problems have a tendency to disguise themselves as something else, making it difficult to see where you might be going wrong.
Failure to understand your market is one of the most common business problems, but often disguises itself as innovation. If nobody’s ever released a product like yours before, ask why – there might not actually be any demand for it. In order to launch and sustain a successful business, you have to have a product that people want.
Similarly, a strong business plan is an essential for any business, but too many startups skip this vital step. Have you seen the address of this website? If you don’t have a plan, you don’t know what you need to do, so how are you going to be successful? Some smart-alec business owners argue that a business plan is stifling, that they can achieve more by thinking outside the box and running things on a more immediate day-to-day basis. This is a one-way ticket to Disasterville. Of all the common business problems, not having a business plan is one of the most dangerous, but one of the easiest to solve – sit down, work one out, and then put it into practice.
Decisive leadership doesn’t happen by itself – it takes determination and a good deal of teeth-gritting. The decisions you make as a business leader won’t always be popular, but you can’t shy away from them. Too many business owners think that they can be nice to everyone, and the world will give them success as a reward – this is one of the most insidious of the common business problems, as it taps directly into our human instinct to be friendly to one another. For every one of the idealists, though, there are hundreds of disillusioned business owners who avoided conflict, only to store up more difficulties for themselves in the long run.
Stubbornness is also one of those common business problems which dresses itself up as something else – in this case, as strength of character and focus on the bigger picture. There’s a difference between following a plan with clarity, and in retaining a blind single-mindedness that refuses to see obstacles. In order to be successful in business, you have to be able to make adjustments along the way. Far too many business owners have spent so long at the grindstone that they can’t see beyond it, and won’t acknowledge when they might need to change things.
Of all the common business problems, the most important is that of communication. It’s the heart of any successful business, and the stumbling block for countless failed ones. Too many business owners make assumptions about their communication culture, many of which run like this… There’s goodwill all-round. Everyone’s on the same page. There’s always a great atmosphere here. People know where I am if they need to discuss anything. These are all wonderful sentiments, but in so many cases they’re utterly unfounded. Creating effective communication takes hard work; it doesn’t happen overnight, and every business owner should look regularly at how effectively the communication channels within their organisation are being maintained.
Another of the common business problems faced by owners of startups is in thinking that they’re alone, and that nobody has ever been in their position before. This simply isn’t the case. Even the most cutting-edge modern business has to follow certain processes, so although the nature of the product or business might be different, many principles are completely universal. When you make a mistake in business, chances are someone’s made it before – cold comfort perhaps, but true nonetheless.
Thankfully, most – if not all – of the common business problems faced by startups and established companies alike can be avoided, if you know what forms they take. Forewarned is forearmed, so take a little time to consider what might be on the horizon, and you can make sure you’re on the right path to success.