6 Business Growth Challenges Every CEO Must Overcome

13 min read
Dec 8, 2021

EVERY CEO is capable of achieving sustainable, long-term growth.  However, that doesn't mean that their journey doesn't come with its fair share of business growth challenges!

In fact, there is a set of challenges that just about every CEO is likely to encounter at one point or another during their growth process.

Whether you are the owner of a startup, small business, mature business, or somewhere in between, you will likely face at least one of these challenges and be forced to overcome it!

To give you a leg up on growth, we are sharing 6 business growth challenges that EVERY CEO must overcome if they want sustainable growth.  We're also sharing simple solutions to each one of the challenges.

Unless you as the CEO can overcome these obstacles, your odds of growth are low.

Bottom line: Business growth is simple, yet it does come with challenges.  Success comes down to whether or not you as the CEO will step up to the plate to overcome those challenges!


stages of business growth


1. Unmotivated Team Members


Unless you're doing 99% of the work at your company, you need motivated team members to help you.  And, particularly, motivated sales team members!

The whole solopreneur thing will only take you so far.  At some point, you have to accept the fact that your growing business needs more than just you putting in 100% effort all the time while everyone else gives just 50%.

To put it simply: You need motivated team members to grow!

Unmotivated team members will cause some serious negative consequences that are particularly bad for growing businesses, including:

  1. Slowing down the growth process
  2. Negatively influencing new employees
  3. Hindering customer relationships from forming

All of these consequences are bad for any business.  But, like we already said, they're detrimental to businesses that want serious growth.

Unless your team is hyped up, your odds of growth sink.


Use Motivational Tactics That Actually Work


Far too many entrepreneurs try to motivate their team members with tactics that end up doing little to nothing.

As a result, they're left scratching their heads wondering why.

Here's the thing: What motivates you might not motivate your team.  Therefore, you need to put yourself in their shoes... Ask yourself what it is that they really want.

It could be bonuses, new opportunities for advancement, or they simply would like to feel included in important business decisions.

Whatever it is that they want is what you need to use to motivate them.

If your motivational tactics never seem to do anything, ask yourself whether or not you're getting on your employee's level to figure out what they want.


Adopt a Growth Mindset Company Culture


Company culture is a bit of a hot button topic these days.  With top CEOs talking about the importance of culture, there's a lot of chatter about it.

But, this begs the question... What is the best kind of company culture a growing business can have to reinforce growth?

The best kind of culture for a new or existing business that wants serious growth is a growth mindset culture.

A growth mindset culture is one in which every person is dedicated to their own personal and professional growth in order to be the best version of themselves, and be the best contributor to the company mission.

Companies with this culture significantly increase the odds that they hit their growth goals.

People who are focused on growth tend to have more motivation.  Therefore, reset your culture to hype up motivation!


Make Sure You’re Setting the Right Example


Take a moment to be honest with yourself... Are you the hardest working person in your company?

If not, then you might be unknowingly setting the stage for a motivation problem in your business!

It's a simple fact: The CEO needs to be the hardest worker at the company, because they set the standard for what is and isn't acceptable behavior.

Therefore, if your employees are slacking, you must look in the mirror and ask yourself whether or not you're setting the proper example for everyone else to follow.

The moment you let your own personal standards slip is the moment everyone else's standards for themselves slip.


2. Not Knowing What You Don’t Know


It's one thing to know that you don't know something.

But, it's a whole other thing to not know what you don't know!

For example, you can have a business idea and know for sure that you don't know how to put together a solid business strategy.  But, nonetheless you know you need a strategy to become a successful business.

On the other hand, you can have a business idea and not have any idea about what you need to know or do to turn that idea into a thriving company!

Being in that spot of not knowing what you don't know is a place that just about every entrepreneur finds themselves in at one point or another.

Especially when it comes to business growth, many business owners confront the fact that, although they want growth, they don't know what they need to do to achieve it.

This often leaves them feeling lost (to say the least!).

While that is a particularly challenging spot to be in, there are simple ways to overcome it and come out 10x better on the other side.


Outsource Sales Talent & Expertise


While we will make the argument that just about every business owner is an intelligent person, they don't know everything there is to know about growing a company.

The most simple solution to this dilemma is to outsource individuals to help you determine what it is that you need to know in order to grow your business.

For example, outsourcing talented sales professionals is a great place to start because sales is at the core of every type of business growth!

That being said, identifying a top-level sales professional to help you uncover what it is that you don't know is a simple and straightforward solution.


Invest In CEO Coaching


While outsourcing is great, investing in a CEO coach is perhaps the best way to overcome ANY growth-related challenge, particularly helping you figure out what it is you don't know!


Because, a CEO coach has been in your shoes before... At one point or another, they were also trying to grow their business and didn't understand what it would take.

That being said, having someone who knows what you need to do because they have been in your shoes before is extremely valuable for growth.

And, that's not to mention all of the other benefits that come from having a CEO coach.

A CEO coach can be the difference between stagnation (or even negative growth) and thriving growth!  What will it be for you?


3. Trouble Finding New Customers


If your business growth strategy is either increasing your market share or expanding to new markets, then you're going to need to find new customers.

This is where the most pervasive growth issue comes about... Having what feels like a terribly hard time trying to snatch up new buyers. 

While gaining new, high-quality customers is a simple and methodical feat, it becomes a problem for most CEOs because they think it is extremely difficult.

Because they think it is difficult, it inevitably becomes difficult.  Their mind creates the thing that stands in their way!

Therefore, to find leads and convert them into customers, CEOs need to start by setting their limiting beliefs aside.  They need to see finding new customers for what it is: A relatively simple process.

Once they do that, then following a simple process that includes high-quality inbound and outbound sales tactics will do the job!

Always remember that… if you believe something is difficult, then it will likely end up being difficult as a direct result of your belief!  

So, start by thinking that things are simple if you want to increase your odds of finding perfect customers.


Improve Market Research


Having trouble finding customers?  If so, ask yourself this all important question... Do you know who your ideal customers are?

More specifically, do you have an ideal prospect profile (IPP) drawn up for your target companies, AND a buyer persona of the head decision-maker at those companies?

If not, then that is a great place to start!

The whole point of market research is to configure who your perfect buyers are.  

After doing your research, using it to develop both an IPP and buyer persona make that research tangible, so that you know exactly who to target.


Ask for Referrals


Perhaps the easiest way to find new clients is to ask your existing customers for referrals!

Given that you've built strong relationships with them (more on that below), asking for referrals is a simple, no-nonsense way to find potential new buyers.

And the best part is, your existing customers have an outsider's perspective of your business.  So for them it's easy to identify who would and wouldn't be a good fit for you.

If you're not asking for referrals, then you're leaving a lot of unused potential on the table!


Focus on Quality Over Quantity


Finally, if you're working your absolute hardest trying to find new clients but still not hitting quota, remind yourself that having just a few high-quality customers is better than having many low-quality ones.

What makes a customer high-quality?  High quality customers are ones who:

  1. Respect your needs in the business relationship just as much as their own
  2. Give you referrals when asked (given they have them)
  3. Have a company identity that aligns with that of your company
  4. Are seeking a long-term relationship with you 

On the flip side, a low quality customer probably won't have any of these traits!

In the end, having fewer high-quality customers in your pocket will serve your business growth better than having many low-quality ones.


challenges for growth of business


4. Building Relationships With Customer Base


Relationships, relationships, relationships!  B2B business development and growth is about building solid, long-term relationships with customers.

B2B business isn't about just finding new leads, converting them into customers, and then hanging them out to dry.

If you do that... then expect them to either walk out the door early or stick it out and never return again!

Moreover, if you want sustainable, long-term growth, then building solid relationships with customers should be one of your top priorities.

Unfortunately, while many CEOs have excellent selling skills, that doesn't necessarily mean they know how to handle robust customer relationships. 

If you are one of those CEOs who has great selling skills such as giving sales pitches but doesn't know how to foster excellent relationships, then you could be in for some trouble in terms of business growth!

However, the good news is that just like any selling skill, you can learn how to build and foster great relationships.  Even better, most relationship-building skills are less about learning anything new and more about simply being yourself!

In the end, having solid relationships will do you more good than any selling skill ever will.


Be Quiet and Listen


When it comes to building relationships, there is usually a set of boxes that need to be checked in order for someone to say, 'Yep, they're a great person to work with!'.

Perhaps the first and most important box to check is the trust box.  If your customers don’t trust you, then all bets are off because trust is the foundation of any relationship.

Now you might be asking... What is the best way to build trust with customers?

There are two things you must do, including:

  1. Talking less and listening more
  2. Backing your talk up with action

First and most importantly, you need to let your clients do most of the talking!

When you ask them questions and then allow them to have the floor, in their minds it makes them feel as if you care about them.  And when they believe you care about them, they naturally trust you more.

Then, when you back up your listening skills by being accountable for your words, you're on your way to having a solid, long-term relationship.


Just Be a Genuine Person (Not a Robot)


While professional B2B relationships aren't a copy and paste image of the relationships you have with your weekend pals, there are many similarities between the two.

For starters, both your B2B clients and regular friends want you to be genuine!  They aren't looking to have a relationship with a robot... They want a relationship with a real, likable person.

Therefore, when it comes to building business relationships, it's so important that you be yourself.  There is zero need to put on some type of front for your customers!

Because, the truth is that they want to get to know the real you! In the end, putting on a front will only set you back in their minds.

If you want strong relationships, start by un-learning any information that has conditioned you into thinking that you need to be anyone but yourself.


5. Team Members Without the Right Kind of Education


Do you have excellent, hard-working team members yet you aren't achieving the growth results you want?

This is frustrating to say the least, but there's usually a simple answer to this dilemma.  And, that answer is education!

You might be saying to yourself... My team is full of highly-educated individuals, so that couldn't possibly be the answer.

Here's our response: Not all education is created equal in terms of serving your business growth needs.  While someone might have received a traditional education (which is excellent) and has a lot of knowledge, that doesn't mean they know how to apply that knowledge to real-world scenarios.

To put it simply... The modern day education system is failing CEOs and their teams because, while they do a great job of teaching people knowledge, they never teach them how to put it to use!

As a result, you end up with a world full of highly-educated people who don't know what to do with the education they have.  

This issue inevitably makes its way into the business world by crushing business growth potential.

That being said, if you have a team of well-educated and dedicated people yet growth isn't taking off as it should, ask yourself if you're one of the many CEOs who has a team that could use a boost in their education.


Invest In a Sales Training Program


The most simple and effective answer to the education challenge is to invest in a full-proof, top-tier sales training program for employees.

And, we're not just talking about your basic pre-recorded webinar... Rather, we're talking about a program that focuses on empowering people with the tools they need to put their knowledge to use!  

It's not about teaching them more skills.  Instead, it's about teaching them how to use the skills that they already have.

The major difference between a traditional, subpar training program and a top-tier one is empowerment.  A top-tier program recognizes that most people already have the goods, they just need to be empowered to know how to use those goods!

Keep in mind that sales is at the heart of all business growth.  Therefore, sales training can make a world of a difference in your growth potential.


challenges facing businesses today


6. The Urge to Create Complex Business Plans


Here is something you probably won't like to hear: Many of the biggest and most problematic business growth challenges CEOs face are self-inflicted!

And if there is one self-inflicted challenge that tops them all in terms of how difficult it is to overcome and the countless problems it creates, it is developing unnecessarily complex business plans.

By business plans, we mean business models, business strategies, and business processes.

Believe it or not, but the more complicated you make your business plans, the slower growth you're going to have!  Even worse, you could experience negative growth.

What is it that makes complexity so detrimental to growth?

Think of it like this: By developing complex business plans, you fill them with many extra boxes that need to be checked in the form of extra steps that must be accomplished.  The more steps there are, the more places there are for things to go wrong.  On the other hand, if there are less steps, then there are fewer spots for problems to arise from!

Moreover, the simpler your plans are, the fewer breeding grounds there are for problems to grow from.

That being said, every CEO needs to get it out of their head that if something looks more complex that it is better!  

The truth is...  The more complex your plans are, the more they will set your growth back.


Opt for Sustainable Growth Over Short-Term Growth


Contrary to what you might see in mainstream media, entrepreneurship is a long-haul game.  

It's not a simple matter of rapid, short-term triumph followed by ensuing world domination.

Rather, it's a process in which you learn on the go in an effort to achieve long-term, sustainable growth.  During the process, there will likely be hills to climb, but nonetheless growth keeps going upwards.

While rapid-growth isn't a bad thing, it isn't always sustainable!  

Therefore, it is better to shift your mindset to one of sustainability, rather than one of a quick and steep upward climb.  Because, the truth is that most quick and steep climbs are almost always followed by even quicker and steeper falls.

Do yourself a favor by switching your mindset from one focused on short-term gratification to long-term impact.


Opt for Simple, No-Fail Plans Over Complex Ones


Once you get it through your head that sustainability and simplicity lead to success, you need to let those beliefs guide your actions.

By that, we mean you need to put your money where your mind is by developing simple, no-fail business growth plans.

The more simple and straightforward they are, the better!  Like we already mentioned above, with simplicity there are fewer opportunities for problems to arise.

Even though you might have the urge to opt for complexity, you need to check your thoughts by keeping things simple!

No business ever grew sustainably from complexity, so don't sabotage your odds of growth by shooting yourself in the foot with complex growth plans.


Final Thoughts on Business Growth Challenges You MUST Overcome


The good news in all of this is that… Nothing can hold you back from overcoming any of these challenges with the exception of yourself.

That’s right.  The only thing that will hold you back from overcoming these obstacles is YOU.

While overcoming business growth challenges isn’t necessarily easy, it is simple if you use one of our no-nonsense solutions.

Growth is all in your power.  Are you going to step up and face these challenges head on, or walk away defeated?

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