The Biggest Thing Holding Back Small Businesses
Updated: Apr 11
A small business might choose to remain small, but they might also be chasing the wrong kind of growth. In truth, when you are first building your company, this is an easy trap to fall into.
Logically, most small businesses have a core demographic that needs, wants, and understands how your product or service solves their problem. Let’s say this group is your inner circle. They were your first customers, your evangelists, and they’ll likely be with you to the bitter end.
When you venture outside of that inner circle, your influence becomes diluted. The further afield you go, the fewer referrals you’ll have, and the less those people understand the value you bring.
Playing Out of Bounds
So, why do business owners make that out-of-bounds journey?
Easy. When you are building the company, you’re talking to everyone you can. You might not have a huge advertising budget, so you’re making the most out of your passion for the product and putting the word out, far and wide.
Maybe you have a customer who told one of their colleagues about you, and perhaps that person loved your idea but had a few of their own that would make your product better for them. You think to yourself, “why not?” and you proceed to customize your awesome thing to suit their needs.
The next thing you know, that new customer is telling their friends how easy you are to work with and how willing you are to make changes to accommodate their needs. Before too long, your customer base is so far outside of your inner circle that you might be ignoring the very people to whom you owe your success.
Making such changes to accommodate new customers outside of your target group might seem like a good idea on the surface, but at some point, it will compromise your growth.
How is that possible?
It all boils down to simple mathematics. If you are attempting to do something that is beyond your scope, you need to bring in experts, hire new employees, or deploy technology that can do what you can’t. Sure, you might have the understanding and the aptitude, but like anything, a new skill takes time to master.
The more time you spend on trying to master this new approach, the less time you will have to focus on your core customers, your bread and butter. Every time you switch gears, it’s like learning a new skill all over again, and eventually, something will suffer. Your old customers probably don’t care much about your new approach, and your employees’ heads will be spinning from all the different directions you’re sending them in.
Is Your Company Too Reliant on You?
When customers are unhappy, and employees are confused, it means that you, the owner, will have to step in and fix the problem – and therein lies the next conundrum. If your company is too reliant on you, even for basic day-to-day decisions, it will never achieve the growth you desire.
A company that is too dependent on its founder will eventually run aground.
To avoid this scenario, focus your efforts primarily on the customers in your inner circle. Hold that focus for longer than you feel like you should and resist the temptation to grow until you have the bandwidth to do so. Focusing on the outer reaches of your circle can be tempting, but it is often a waste of time.
What’s holding your small business back? Set up a call with me today, I’d love to learn more about what you do and show you how I can help.