Signs That You're Making Business Growth Harder Than It Needs to Be

12 min read
Oct 29, 2021

So, you want business growth?  Well, there's good news and there's bad news!

The good news is that business growth doesn't need to be hard.  While it is challenging, it is probably simpler than you'd think.

The bad news is that, if you follow most conventional business advice, you will believe that business growth is hard and use tactics that make it harder than it needs to be!

Regardless of where you are in your business journey, how do you know whether or not you are making business growth unnecessarily hard? 

Today, we are sharing 10 signs that you are making business growth harder than it needs to be.  If one of these signs resonates with you, then know that there are ways you can grow your business without you having to jump through hoops.

As a result, you can get yourself set up on a better, more straightforward, and less pull-your-hair-out business growth plan.

In the end, business growth is in your hands.  And, it doesn't need to be a painful process unless you make it that way!


Why Do We Make Business Growth Harder Than It Needs To Be?


If business growth really is simpler than what most people think, why are we so quick to make it harder than what it needs to be?

Straight-up: People make business growth harder than it needs to be because they think that complicated = effective.  When they see long and drawn out business growth plans, they automatically assume that they are effective!  If it looks intricate, it must be good... right?


It's the opposite that tends to be true!  The more complicated you try to make business growth, the harder it gets.

In fact, each of the signs below is rooted in business owners trying to make things more complicated than what they need to be. 

The truth is that business growth is made in the details.  It's all about focusing on the seemingly small things that end up making the biggest difference.

Moreover, if you can simplify your growth plan AND focus on the small details, then you will achieve growth. 

Remember... Just because something looks complicated doesn't mean that it works!  It might look impressive on the outside, but it's just jargon!

On the flip side, what is most important for business growth is simplicity.  When you follow a simplistic route, growth gets easier!


Business growth plan


10 Signs That Your Business Growth Strategy Is Too Hard


Remember, just because you are putting tons of effort and resources into stimulating growth doesn't necessarily mean that you will get growth.

Because, growth is often less about making crazy big moves, and more about small, calculated, and detailed changes.

Do you want to keep making things harder than they need to be?  Or, do you want to start saving time, energy, and resources while stimulating business growth to the max?  The choice is yours!

With that being said, here are 10 signs that you're making business growth harder for yourself than it needs to be.


1. You’re Using Unscalable Business Processes


One of the most common ways in which people make business growth harder than it needs to be is by using unscalable business processes.

Unscalable processes are those that don't continuously stimulate growth overtime.  In the worst cases, they actually do the opposite of stimulating growth!

A few of the most detrimental unscalable processes include:

  1. Refusing to hire more sales reps
  2. Using outdated software or CRM systems
  3. Having an extra long hiring process

First off, refusing to hire more sales reps slows down your entire sales cycle.  Not only that, but you leave out potential for more expertise at different points in the cycle. 

Second, using outdated legacy systems, specifically CRM software, can have a multitude of consequences.  For starters, it will certainly slow down your sales cycle and won't give you the kinds of insights you need to stimulate growth.

Lastly, if you do hire more sales reps, then don't make it a jump-through-hoops like process!  A few of the worst side effects of having a long hiring process include pushing away top tier talent and damaging your employer reputation.

Moreover, you can't scale your business if you're using processes that are impossible to scale themselves!  Using one of these unscalable processes is like shooting yourself in the foot in terms of business growth.


Types of business growth


2. The Marketing Strategy Is Too Broad


When it comes to business growth, the most fatal mistake that entrepreneurs make in terms of their marketing strategy is making it too broad.

By broad, we mean that their marketing doesn’t deliver a clear and concise message on what their company's primary product or service is.

What entrepreneurs and business owners should really be doing with their marketing strategy instead is making it very targeted.  In essence, their market strategy should be able to complete this sentence: "We are company ______ and we do/make ______.”

For example, Salesforce’s marketing strategy says... "We are Salesforce and we make CRM software".  

Sure, their software has many features, but nonetheless Salesforce is a CRM software company! In a single sentence, they can tell a complete stranger who has never heard of them before who they are and what they are all about. 

Why is it so important to be so definite with the marketing strategy?

When trying to expand to new markets or increase current market penetration, new customers need to be able to know exactly what your business's solution is.  And, if your marketing doesn't immediately tell them that, then they will be confused and turn away.

Think of it this way... If you are going to tell a friend about your new business idea, then wouldn't you need to give them a definitive answer of what your idea is?  Don’t you think they would be confused if you couldn’t give them a clear and concise answer?

Furthermore, your marketing strategy should clearly convey your business's primary solution.  The more complicated you try to make the marketing strategy, the less growth you will see.


3. Throwing Target Market Out the Door


So, you want to grow your business to new markets or secure a greater proportion of your current market share?

In doing so, be careful that you don't blur the lines of your target market!  More specifically, be sure that you don't neglect who your ideal prospect is.

One fatal mistake the entrepreneurs make when growing their business is throwing their target market out the door!  When trying to grab up new customers, they forget about who their ideal prospects are because they want to grab a greater piece of the market pie.

And, it makes sense.  In their minds, they think that if they want to grow, then they should try to snatch up as many customers as they can get.  Even if they don't fit the target market, they're still a paying customer, right?


If you are trying to secure more customers... Instead of throwing your target market out the door, you should paint a new picture of who your ideal prospect in your target market is.

If you don't, then you will waste a lot of time chasing down new customers who aren't even a good fit for your product or service.

Growing businesses need to be just as strategic and definite in terms of their target market as any other business. 

With that being said, don't throw your target market out the door.  Instead, redefine it!


Stages of business growth


4. The Sales Cycle Is Exceedingly Long


Like we mentioned above, over-complication is at the heart of almost every business growth disaster.

Perhaps the area that entrepreneurs over-complicate the most in their business plan is the sales cycle.  Specifically, they over-complicate it by elongating it.  It gets longer because they add in many unnecessary steps and hoops to jump through.

Having an extra long sales cycle not only makes things more challenging for your sales team, but also for your prospects.

And when it comes to sales, you want to make things as easy on your prospects as possible.  The more work you make them do, the less they want to work with you!

Always remember that... Just because a sales cycle looks complicated doesn't mean that it is effective.

Don't be fooled by long and drawn out sales cycles.  Even though it may have a lot of fancy steps doesn't mean that it is going to help you get more customers.

In fact, extra long sales cycles give prospects a big reason to say 'no' to you!

Don't make your sales cycle harder than what it needs to be!  Instead, focus on making it clear and concise, so that there is less work to put into it.


5. Sales Pitches Are Also Too Long


Just like how you don't want an extra long sales cycle, you also don't want to have extra long sales pitches.

Put yourself in your prospects shoes: If you had to sit through a sales pitch, what things would immediately turn you off?  Given that you are extremely busy, wouldn't having to sit through a rambling presentation not only make you want to roll your eyes, but also be impossible to pay attention to?

When it comes to making your pitch, make sure that it is/does these three things:

  1. Is clear and concise
  2. Tells a story
  3. Demonstrates how your solution will solve the prospect's greatest challenges

That's it.

An effective sales pitch is usually between twenty and forty minutes.  But, even forty minutes is pushing it.  

Therefore, try and keep things at thirty minutes or less to have the greatest effect on your prospects.

The longer your sales pitches are, the more likely you are to ramble.  And the more you ramble, the less likely your prospects are to grasp your message.

Sales pitches can either be your key opportunity to stimulate company growth, or fail miserably.  Which one will it be for you?


Forms of business growth


6. You’re Using the Same Old Outreach Techniques


If you want to hit a high growth stage, then you need to be going hard on your sales techniques more than anything!

But, it's not all about just going hard.  Rather, it's about going hard using outreach techniques that actually work.

Here's a startling fact: Did you know that in most sales organizations, on average 10% of the salespeople make 90% of all sales?  It's a startling fact, but it's one that needs to be unpacked.

The reason why 90% of salespeople struggle to make sales is because they are used to using the same old outreach techniques that are mediocre at best and ineffective at worst.

And, the reason they use those outdated techniques is because they are used to following conventional sales advice.

On the other hand, the 10% of salespeople who make the vast majority of all sales deals employ unique techniques that only a few know about.  And, the best part is that these techniques are often the simplest ones!

Furthermore, if you want to stimulate business growth to the max, then sales must be your primary focus.  But more than that, your focus needs to be on using the kinds of techniques that only the 10% of successful sales reps know about!


7. You’re Not Setting Metric-Based Business Goals


There is a very true saying that says... "If something isn't measured, it isn't managed".

And, this statement couldn't be any more true for successful business growth!

In short: If you aren't measuring your business growth, then you're making it extra-hard on yourself to take things to the next level.

No measurable growth plan = added difficulty for you.

But more specifically, you need to set business goals in your business plan that can be tangibly measured.  By doing so, you are able to not only track your process, but get insights into what is and isn't working well for your business.

For example, like we mentioned above, sales is at the heart of business growth.  Therefore, you should set specific business goals having to do with growing sales.  Measuring the number of sales made and cash flow are just two metrics you can use to measure how well sales are going.

When you don't have measurable business goals based on metrics, a few things happen:

  1. You don't know whether or not your growth tactics are actually working
  2. It's difficult to know what else you can do to stimulate growth

Moreover, if you want to see growth in your business, set specific and measurable goals!  It's a simple step that can make the biggest difference.


Business growth strategy


8. You’re Not Resetting Your Business Model to Reflect Growth


Business growth takes strategic planning.  While this is common knowledge, so many entrepreneurs forget that they need to strategically reset their business model to reflect their anticipated business growth.

For example, one of the most important pieces of a business model is what your specific product line is.  But, if you want to see your business grow, then you need to update your product line to reflect the growth you want.  Whether you want to expand your product line or simply generate more products to sell, then strategic plans in your business model need to reflect that growth!

Again, while it sounds like common sense, you would be shocked at how many business owners plan for growth but don't update their model to reflect it.

As a result, when their business does start to grow, they cannot absorb the shock because their model wasn't prepared for it!

Furthermore, if you are setting your business up for growth, then go back and strategically update every part of your business model to reflect the anticipated growth.  

Otherwise, you will have to deal with unexpected shocks down the road, which will only throw off your growth.


9. You’re Trying to Grow in Several Ways at Once


Entrepreneurship is a game of motivation, hard work, and ambition.

If you want to have a successful business, then you need to have all of those traits!

But sometimes, your motivation, hard work, and ambition can actually stand in the way of you achieving business growth.  

Specifically, we mean that those three traits can sometimes cause you to over blow your business growth plans.

Here's the thing: Most entrepreneurs overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in five years.  With that being said, we encourage you to be strategic with your business growth, by taking things one step at a time.

Instead of trying to create new products, diversify, and grow your customer base all at once, work on them in phases.

We're not saying that it's impossible to work on things like product development and diversification at the same time.  

But, what we are saying is that by doing so, you might make things harder on yourself than what they need to be.  Not only that, but you might stunt your business growth results because you aren’t putting 100% into each aspect of growth.

In business, it is often best to focus hard on one core challenge at a time and make it perfect, than it is to focus on several challenges at once and not do each one at 100%.

While some businesses can make tons of growth changes at once, it isn't realistic for most.  And, that's okay!

Remember, growth is quiet and calculated, not loud and overblown.

You may think that going crazy trying to do this and that to grow each and every aspect of your business is a good thing.  But, it may just result in a disaster.

With that being said, be strategic with your business growth by taking things one step at a time.  You will get to where you want by phasing your growth out.


10. No Honesty With Yourself


So, you want to grow your business?  


What is it that made you want to accept the challenge to take things to the next level?

Believe it or not, but many entrepreneurs and business owners have a hard time answering this question.  When they look inside themselves, nothing jumps out at them in terms of why they want to grow to new heights.

Starting a business is challenging enough as it is.  But, growing a business tends to be even more challenging.

Without firm intentions and a purpose behind your actions, those challenges only get worse.  Not only that, but when faced with a major challenge, if you aren't fully invested in it, it will be nothing short of painful and a waste of time. 

Therefore, business owners could same themselves a lot of potential stress if they ask themselves the following:

  1. Do I actually want to scale?
  2. If so, why do I?

Knowing the answers to those two questions helps align your intentions.  And if your intentions are in the right, then business growth will be a much smoother process for you.

Do yourself a favor!  Set your intentions up now so that you don't make the challenge of starting a business a painful internal struggle.


Final Thoughts on Overcomplicating Business Growth


Every business owner and entrepreneur is capable of achieving high business growth.

However, many people would probably say otherwise, because they are used to using the kinds of overcomplicated tactics that do the opposite of simulating growth.  Hence, why they think growth is impossible for themselves and others!

But as we've explained, most people make business growth harder than it needs to be because they think it is more complicated than what it really is.

If you feel like you're jumping through hoops trying to make growth happen, then you're doing things wrong!

The difference between easy and hard business growth is in the hands of the business owner.  Keep things simple and straightforward... and growth can be in your sights!

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