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Did you know that only about one-third of businesses will survive to see their 10-year anniversary? Basically, it’s The Hunger Games of business out there — and the odds aren’t necessarily in your favor.
There are plenty of factors that contribute to a business failing: depleted finances, founders/CEOs giving up or burning out, changes in the industry/economy, and general market downturns. But many of the factors that kill off businesses are simply roadblocks an entrepreneur can navigate around with advanced planning.
Business owners and businesses have to be flexible, evolving and adapting with what is happening around them. Stagnation does not lead to growth, and having a staring contest with that roadblock won’t make it suddenly disappear. Instead, it’s all about having an action plan.
Author Mary Kathryn Johnson said: “Roadblocks, by definition, only block the road if you stop and let them. Action, action, action! Roadblocks don’t block you from going left, right, over or under. Assess your options, come up with more options, don’t stop, and stay focused on your journey. Keep true to your why, and you will find a way around.”
Too often when business owners approach a roadblock, they want to turn around. The path ahead looks too scary, too challenging, or too high of a mountain to climb. The other side of the roadblock can seem so distant that you might persuade yourself that it’s not even worth getting there. But of course, you won’t actually know until you do it.
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According to Lisa Crocco, a small business expert from Incfile, a resource that helps clients quickly and easily form an LLC and incorporate a business, you can “get there” by gearing up to overcome the most common business roadblocks that could lead to failure; here’s how.
Productivity (or the lack thereof) is a roadblock that most business owners face. How do you keep the momentum of your business going? How do you organize all your tasks and to-dos? How do you communicate with team members?
“Luckily, there are literally thousands of applications designed specifically to help you streamline tasks and increase productivity,” Crocco says. “Task and team management tools such as Asana, Trello or Slack help you keep everything and everyone organized. You also get feedback via real-time updates so you can hold team members accountable for their tasks. When you come across a productivity roadblock, just remember: there’s an app for that.”
“According to one U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of businesses that fail do so due to cash flow problems. Yikes!” Crocco exclaims.
Not thoroughly understanding finances and cash flow is a huge roadblock to success. It takes money to own and operate a business. Just think about your expenses every month: employee salaries, office rent, merchandise, marketing, legal fees, taxes, etc. That’s a lot of money streaming out of the door. But how much money is actually coming in?
“Don’t stay in the dark and hope for the best. If finance isn’t your strong suit, hire a financial advisor or invest in accounting software to help you build a solid cash flow game plan. A clear understanding of your finances is essential to overcoming money roadblocks,” Crocco notes.
Hiring the Wrong Employee(s)
All businesses are built on the quality of the people who work in them. Good employees equal productivity and positive output, while bad employees equal headaches and negative return on your investment in them.
“The wrong employees for your company are not only a time suck, but also a serious financial drain. You need to hire the best employees to help you to run and scale your business. Trust your gut instincts about a potential hire. Ask them tough questions, test them in real-life situations, dive into their references, and push for diversity,” says Crocco.
When you realize you’ve made a mistake, and hired someone who’s no longer a good fit, it’s time to let them go. If they aren’t helping, they’re hurting — and that’s a roadblock no business can afford.
Lack of Organization
“As the business owner, you walk into work each day wearing your invisible captain’s hat. You are responsible for everything. You are the captain of the ship, and accountable for all its moving parts. There are many balls to juggle and feeling overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated is common among entrepreneurs,” Crocco notes.
Yet if you start to slack off, so does your business. “When the going gets tough, you need to remain organized and stay on top of what’s happening around you. Planning for growth, paying bills, managing employees, making sure your business doesn’t fall out of regulatory compliance, getting and updating the business licenses you might need, or filing business taxes…the list goes on and on, but it goes with the captain’s chair,” she says.
A good captain knows when and how to delegate, what to prioritize, when to scale…and when to sleep (because sleep is important!). An exhausted and frazzled boss is prone to making bad decisions.
A leader with a chronic lack of organization is a significant roadblock for a business. You can start by knowing when to ask for help. Remember that you don’t have to climb that roadblock alone — you can use the strength, insight and support of trusted others on your team to navigate your way around it. That kind of triumph is an excellent team building activity, and it can be a crucial step for the future of your business.
Running a new business is complex, but enabling your team members to work productively when mobile doesn’t have to be. Download our guide to unlocking greater productivity and saving money with an effective mobile-enablement strategy.