The 10 most common “growing pains” of small business likely to leave a mark if unattended

Photo courtesy of Morguefile user  grietgriet

Photo courtesy of Morguefile user grietgriet

Every business – large or small – passes through four stages of business growth on its journey from core business development to organizational maturity. No matter what stage of business growth you strive to achieve for your small business, every small business owner must first overcome the common challenges – or “growing pains” – associated with the first stage of business growth.

The first stage of business growth – core business development – is described as $0 – $500,000 in revenue for a business in the service industry or from $0 – $1.5 Million in revenue for manufacturing. No matter the industry in which your small business exists, the major challenges are the same. And, the sooner you can blast through the challenges commonly associated with the first stage of business growth, the more quickly your small business will grow.

Small business stressors

The hurdles associated with the Core Business Development stage of business growth act much like sand in the machinery of your business. Although seemingly small and insignificant and, at times almost tolerable, they gum up your business. They’re quickly and quietly draining the three most critical resources needed to grow your small business – time, money, and energy. Once they are brought to a stop, the growth of your small business accelerates.

The most common and troubling challenges associated with the first stage of business growth and development include:

  1. Burnout – physical, mental, and emotional.
  2. Ad hoc Planning – the type of planning involving “putting out fires” and handling the “squeaky wheel”.
  3. Overly optimistic – commonly referred to as “unrealistic” related to setting improbable expectations and goals.
  4. Poor cash flow – when the money runs out before the month.
  5. Underpricing – pricing below what’s needed to keep you in business
    Under earning – the evil twin of underpricing.
  6. Poor system development – systems developed “as needed” or when current talent leaves your business – along with your business expertise and knowledge.
  7. Undefined roles – even “me, myself, and I” are uncertain of the next best steps.
  8. Inadequate funding – what your parents aptly labeled, “you can’t get blood from a turnip.”
  9. Missed opportunities – what happens while you’re dealing with the “growing pains” listed above.

Sound familiar? You bet! And, you’re not alone. Every service business with revenue less than $500,000 or manufacturing business with revenue less than $1.5 million experiences the same challenges.

Business growth ahead!

What’s a small business owner to do? Here’s where I’d like to wave a magic wand and make the pain of growing your small business disappear. Or, like Alice in Wonderland, administer a pill that shrinks the pain of gain. The solutions are actually very simple. Start at the top of the small business stressors and activate strategies that change your current trajectory.

Although the key to overcoming your growing pains is simple, they’re not necessarily easy to implement. Any changes that are worthwhile are seldom easy to put into practice. Dr. Henry Cloud put it in perspective when he said, “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”

Are you ready to throw off the consequences of growing pains and get growing? What are some of the most common challenges you face in your business?

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Guest bloggers for the TDS Business Blog.

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