Have you ever stared at your business bank account and wondered why it doesn’t reflect the level of effort you’ve been putting out? Or at your list of potential and actual clients or even your sales numbers and felt allllll the frustration?
There is no doubt that most business owners are working hard. In some cases too hard. A simple internet search for “work smarter not harder” will bring up thousands of articles, tips, and tricks. But if I had to guess… you don’t need more information. You’re drowning in it.
That’s why this week and next, we’re going to dive into 10 Barriers to Business Growth. I hope you’ll use this to practically diagnose your own business challenges and identify a path forward.
Barrier #1: You have holes in your sales and marketing system
Every business needs a solid sales and marketing systems. You have to be in front of new people in order to see real growth. So, take a look at your numbers – your email list growth, how many people are joining your online communities… – and start tracking your growth. If those number are stagnant, that’s a good indication that your marketing efforts may have some gaps.
If those numbers are growing but your revenue doesn’t match, then that’s a sales problem. This is where you have to get very clear on what your offer is, who you’re offering it to, and why they need it.
Barrier #2: Burnout because you’ve tried to do everything yourself
This is one of the biggest challenges I see with newer businesses and businesses that aren’t generating the revenue they really want. It’s worth taking a solid inventory of where you have the most stress. Childcare? Cleaning? Cooking? Business support services? Marketing support? Website maintenance? The list is unique to each business owner, and while in some cases, you may not have a choice but to do all these things, I want to challenge you to get creative.
Reach out to your network. See who may be willing to swap services or recommend someone within your budget. Remember, freeing yourself up to do the things only YOU can do is often worth significantly more than the cost of paying someone for the service.
DIYing everything in your business is costly. In time, energy, and effort… and without real help, you will burnout. Ask for help and really focus on the heavy hitters here. It will make a difference. I promise.
Barrier #3: Not investing in mentoring or coaching
Like barrier 2, for many, this is rooted in scarcity. When you look at the 2019 Amex State of Women in Business Report, the numbers for female business owner revenue growth are staggering… and not in a good way.
75% of female-owned businesses are generating less than $50,000 gross revenue, and many of those are making less than $30,000.
Only 12% are breaking 6 figures.
3% are hitting 7 figures.
Why is that? In many cases it’s because of barriers 1 and 2, but it’s also a lack of purposeful investment in your business. I know that can be hard to hear, especially if you’ve dropped a lot of cash over the years on classes, coaching, and other services. But these experiences aren’t the end all be all of your business investment. And as I mentioned in barrier #2, DIYing everything is just as costly.
Hiring a coach or mentor can be an absolute game-changer. I know it has been for us at 2 Smart Girls. Good coaches and mentors help you achieve your goals. You’re their sole focus as your goals are their goals. They want to make you successful. They provide a safe space for you to be vulnerable, to tackle those challenges that you may feel embarrassed about. They provide real perspective on your blind spots (e.g. holes in your marketing and sales system), hold you accountable for taking real, purposeful action, and are your biggest cheerleader.
Don’t allow bad experiences with coaches or mentors in the past prevent you from making a real investment in your business. Do you research. Ask for referrals. Interview them. Follow your gut. You and your dreams are worth the investment.
Barrier #4: No systems in place to protect your brand
Do you have business trademarks? Simply using your business name or owning the domain name isn’t enough to protect your business or your brand. The process and cost of applying for a trademark, copyright, or patent is nothing compared to the loss of your proprietary information.
There are loads of examples out there that you can use. While this might be a boring “some day” activity in your mind, it really should be an important “right now” activity.
Take stock of what you have in place to protect your business. This is one area where it helps to consult an attorney. As you grow, you will need to have all your ducks in a row, and this is a good place to start.
Barrier #5: Self sabotaging beliefs about your potential clients
I know women can’t afford much.
I don’t think anyone would actually pay that.
Here’s the truth: Your judgements about a client’s willingness to pay are really a reflection of your willingness to spend.
Read that again.
Your judgements about a client’s willingness to pay are really a reflection of your willingness to spend. If you’re unwilling to make the investment – see barrier 3 – then it’s going to be hard for you to show up in a way that will give your potential clients the confidence in what you have to offer.
People buy based on perceived value, not price. Lower prices do not equate to sales… just look at Mrs. Field’s Cookies and the gourmet model. When you make assumptions about what your clients can and are willing to play, you end up playing small and limiting your possibilities.
Evaluate your pricing model. Look at the cost of doing business – everything from supplies, utilities, marketing, sales, and anything that requires funds to run your business – your years of experiences, annual revenue goals, hours you’d like to work per week, the quality of your work, and your level of expertise. Be really honest with yourself. This is hands down one of the biggest barriers for most business owners.
Charge your worth, and stop making assumptions about what others can pay. People will surprise you.
As you take some time to review the 5 barriers, be honest with yourself. And if you need help, reach out to someone you trust to get their perspective. If you’d like to schedule a time to talk through your challenge, let’s do it! I’d be more than happy to give you my honest feedback.
Smart Girl, once you remove these 5 barriers, your business will soar.
P.S. Are you a part of The Smart Girl Community? If you’re looking for a group of driven, heart-centered female business owners and professionals, then look no further! Together, we tackle challenges, encourage through the hard times, and celebrate all the things!