The unexpected challenges of growing a business
When you first set out to launch a business, you’re prepared for the many beginner pitfalls. You might not know what they all are, or where they’ll all come from, but you know that it won’t be easy – primarily because everyone tells you so. However, something that’s talked about less often is the difficulties you’ll face once your business is fully established and you’re ready to start growing
By that point, you’ve done all the hard work. You’ve built your brand, established your product, and formed a team to be proud of. Growth, in theory, should just come down to finding the right investors, but there’s much more to it than that. Whilst finding the right investors leads to acceleration of your business, growth is so much more. Growth is about the partners, cofounders, and the team. However, with growth and expansion comes greater, and perhaps unexpected challenges.
Four challenges you might not expect to face when growing your business
Selling your vision
If you’re going to grow, you first need to convince industry leaders and investors to recognise the value in your desired market. For my business, that came down to showing banks that the 97% of businesses with less than a £1m turnover were an important market to serve. An historically ignored group, united, this sector contributes a massive amount to the economy.
Taken individually, however, they are small-fry, and it’s the individual level that most banks work on. Selling the value of the market was really difficult early on, but now the industry is recognising the enormous value that comes with SMEs. This was my vision to sell. Yours will be something different. But whatever it is, selling your vision always comes with hurdles.
Team buy-in and adaptation
I’m incredibly proud of my team. They understand where the company is going and why, and they’ve brought a huge amount to that table. When you’re attempting to change your business model, however, team buy-in isn’t always easy. When you’re faced with adapting and shaping your team to your growth across different geographies, finding the right balance can be extremely difficult.
Industry red tape and antiquated systems
Every industry comes with its own set of red tape and infrastructure that make growth difficult. Although new players, tools, and services come into play in any market, these challenges remain and can be hard to fight through. Fintech, for example, has evolved at an incredible pace in the last five years.
Globally, we’re in a better place than we’ve ever been before, but infrastructure challenges remain. One being open banking, which has proven to be a little less open than many of us had hoped, with trust issues surfacing, and questions being raised over whether the promised democratisation of the space has really been achieved. This is an issue impacting thousands of businesses, and it’s one that can be really hard to address.
Self-belief can be problematic enough at the best of times, and as humans, our default setting is doubt. So, if you’re constantly being told that your plans aren’t viable, it’s natural to begin to lose confidence, regardless of how much researching and planning you’ve put into your strategies. There is no simple way to help yourself to keep believing in what you are trying to achieve, you can only keep on checking the numbers, assessing your projections and how you reached them. If you are not confident, you’ll never convince anyone else to believe in you. So, maintaining belief in your plans is integral for success.
Growing a business can be deeply rewarding. However, it’s important to go in with the understanding that just because your business is stable and ready to grow it doesn’t necessarily mean that the journey will be easy. Successful growth takes time, self-belief, and the ability to confront challenges head-on.