How to meet the challenges of growing your business

Starting and running your own business can be a struggle. The challenges are endless. As your business grows new problems continue to emerge. How you deal with these challenges often determines whether your business succeeds or fails.

The ability to face and recover from these challenges is a skill you will need to develop. Every step and every decision could be what generates the next challenge. Effective leadership strives to make the most of these challenges by turning them into opportunities.

Let’s look at some of the most common challenges facing new businesses

Product and market fit

Developing a product that your target market wants and buys is a bit like predicting the future with a crystal ball. There’s a lot of uncertainty here. But, this is foundational for every business. Pick the wrong product or market and you’ll get nowhere fast. To succeed with this challenge you have to be thick-skinned and know how to recover from failed ideas quickly. One trick is to approach this phase as a learning experience. This strategy removes judgment and allows you to be super curious about the process. It is this ability to study the problem and learn what works that leads to ultimate success.

Problem-solving

Startups often operate in a constant state of crisis mode relying on shooting-from-the-him decisions. At some point, (hopefully sooner rather than later) leadership needs to establish a structure and processes that transition you from the “hair on fire” stage to the “we’re running a business” stage. How long this takes depends on how well leadership is able to make crucial decisions, and how good those decisions turn out to be.

Decisions in the early stages often entail a great deal of uncertainty, so you’ll need a method for easily and repeatedly making decisions where you have little data. Talk about a challenge. Most people rely on expert opinions from external professionals. That’s not a bad way to go, but you don’t want to be dependent on others for all your business decisions. Long-term success depends on your ability to build this in-house capability.

Finding and keeping top talent

People are the most important asset of your business so the ability to find and retain top talent is important. In the early stages, many businesses hire friends and key staff with the foundational skills for developing their products and services. There are no employee practices and everything is informal. This is the honeymoon period. Everyone is excited and the future looks bright. But, inevitably the honeymoon ends as new people are brought on board, conflicts arise, and the winds of change sweep in. Your long-term strategy should be to develop your business in such a way that the risk posed by any single person’s departure (or multiple people) is minimized. The quicker you can implement this the sooner you’ll have stability in your growth.

Financial management

Money is the lifeblood of the business. If you’re not making a profit you won’t be in business very long. The ability to balance income and expenses is only the first-level challenge for a growing business. The larger challenge is identifying and mitigating the risks that threaten that balance.

There is a constant stream of potential threats that can topple your financial position. Insider threats, data breaches, employee turnover, supply chain risk, theft and fraud, customer litigation, and the list goes on…

Failure to plan for these potential financial losses could lead to your insolvency.

Planning vs strategy

What’s the difference? A strategy is a blueprint, a set of choices that collectively lead you to your desired objective. The plan is the execution of the strategy. It’s the details of who, what, how, and when. Strategy is “what can we do” and the plan is “how do we do it”.

A successful business employs effective strategies and executes well on its plans.

Strategies and plans rely on critical thinking. Critical thinking is all about analysis, logic, and reason. In other words, when developing your strategies and plan you should first engage in a research and analysis phase. Base your strategies and plans on an analysis of the situation and the anticipated outcomes of various options.

Want to know how you can get better strategies for dealing with your business problem? Contact Charlene@fismacs.com and schedule a quick chat.

CISO Strategy

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