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Hacking business growth isn’t rocket science- at least, not when it comes to laying out possible obstacles to achieving growth and coming up with solutions. The actual process of implementing the right solutions may be somewhat complex, but it’s usually the case that the basic principles involved are well known and widely used in one form or the other. However, the growth trajectory for a lot of businesses (probably the majority of them) is quite flat. They start off, expand to an extent, and then get stuck in a phase. If you’re concerned that your business isn’t showing any significant signs of moving ahead, you should look at the reasons for stagnation given in this article.  It’s almost certain that you’ll find the factors militating against its progress revealed here. You’ll also get suggestions on how they can be dealt with.
  1. There’s no clear vision for the business
Maybe there is a vision- or something like it -that your business officially runs with. Officially. But not in everyday processes, not in goal setting and in seeing through projects and campaigns, and certainly not in the analysis of financial records to find out what flaws could be holding business back. If a vision is going to be more than just a statement, then it has to be realistic, practical, and qualified by measurable indices. A venture that operates without a vision (or a poorly articulated one) is set up to fail.
  1. There’s a skills shortage at your company
This is a big headache for many employers. But it’s probably doing more to retard business growth in this country (and in other countries as well) than most people realize. Because many workers aren’t up to the tasks they’re assigned, they are unable to maximize the resources their employers place at their disposal to work with. The result? low productivity, waste, and struggling companies. The institutions charged with the responsibility of training people to be fine workers aren’t going to up their game soon enough, so it’s down to you to make things work. The usual way out of this problem is to train the people you hire, so they’ll know how to get the job done for you. Improve your company’s recruitment process by relying on more practical tests that reveal the suitability of applicants to the job they’re looking for.
  1. You’re getting choked by business costs
High business costs do more than just prevent companies from growing. They wreck enterprises. A large fraction of business failures in Nigeria is attributable to pressures exerted by high energy costs and multiple taxations. Other expenses could also build up with these to make venture survival a hard thing to achieve. While there are only a limited set of options available for people who want to tackle these costs directly, it’s much easier to cut down expenses from other aspects of the business. Barter products and services with other businesses, instead of paying cash; outsource in-house jobs to contractors and freelancers if it’s more efficient and cost-effective to do so; and find suppliers who charge less for office material they provide you with than you currently have to pay for.
  1. You don’t have a growth plan
Do you have a good idea where you want your business to be in five years? What about ten?  And how do you intend to make it happen? As you’ve probably already figured out, this point is closely linked to the first one: you’ll need a vision to run with (and towards) if you want to succeed in business, and you have to set out a plan that details the process that should lead to its achievement. The ‘how’ part is basically what the growth plan is about. A useful growth plan should break down the goal achievement process into smaller bits; the delineating factor should be milestones of measurable progress. For example, if your goal is to be the largest producer of traditional soap in Nigeria, your delineating milestones for various stages of the process could be becoming the largest supplier of traditional soaps to your town, your state, your region and then the entire country. Each milestone will be arrived at through the application of strategies designed to achieve them.
  1. You’re not selling the right way
There’ll be no business growth without sales growth. And there’ll be no sales growth if the selling process is inadequate. You need good marketing skills to sell your product. Of course, it’s much easier to sell a very good product that many people already trust. But not everyone’s task is that easy. Take care to make your product’s packaging appeal to your ideal buyer. Present it to the public in ways that they’ll appreciate. In communicating with them about your company and what it’s offering, use words and expressions that tick these boxes:
  1. Relevance to the demographic or psychographic group you’re targeting.
  2. Recognition of customer’s needs, and guarantees that they’ll be met.
  3. Commitment to making customer’s lives better (as the customer would likely define it, given their demographic group).
Don’t overlook the possibility that you’re not selling the right product in the first place. If it turns out that you aren’t (e.g. something that’s not really in demand where you’re at), you could offer something different to the public instead. If you’ve found one or more things here that could be hindering the growth of your business, you may get down to the business of sorting them out now. Get your growth engines running for good. We’ve just shown you how.

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This article was first published on 27th October 2017 and updated on October 30th, 2017 at 7:38 am


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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