Scaling Growth: Top 5 Challenges Business Owners Must Overcome

How to build your business without dropping the ball in the process.

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How to build your business without dropping the ball in the process.


Scaling Growth: Top 5 Challenges Business Owners Must Overcome

How to build your business without dropping the ball in the process.

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Building a successful, sustainable business is hard and the journey is fraught with potential pitfalls. While there might be industry specific differences overlaid on top, the core challenges we encounter in scaling our businesses are universal and faced by us all.

Here are 5 challenges that often afflict businesses of all shapes and sizes, and how you can manage or prevent them altogether to position your firm for growth and success.

  1. Being dragged back into day-to-day operations

Too many business owners fall into the trap of working in the business, not on it – creating an ‘owner’s trap’ that can be difficult to break out of without cash and the right resource.

To progress beyond the 8–12 employee level you need to be able to remove yourself as the bottleneck and develop leaders ‘behind’ you. This means finding ways to delegate even the things you think only you can do in the business – or that no-one else could do better.

You should be actively and regularly looking for ways to delegate things off your ‘plate’. If you don’t, not only will you not be able to scale, but you will also run the risk of burnout and not enjoying running your business. It will become a chore rather than a vocation.

  1. Generating leads of sufficient quality

In BizSmart’s own research, generating a reliable stream of quality leads is cited as one of the key challenges in scaling up, and having and executing a repeatable and reliable way of generating leads is a key requirement of a sustainable business – it is worth your time and focus!

If you want a bigger business, you need more high-quality leads on a consistent and predictable basis [someone who has in some way expressed interest in something you have for sale]. In fact, a study by Marketo showed that companies with sound lead generation practices achieved at least 133% more revenue than enterprises that didn’t have good techniques in place.

Creating a winning strategy takes effort, so don’t be afraid to outsource this portion of your business to a third party if you lack the skills or capacity to do so in-house.

With a stronger and consistent lead generation effort in place, you can secure all important prospects and see your business grow.

  1. Having the right staff in place to support growth

One of the most common and biggest challenges we see with growing businesses is finding the right people and getting them on board. This has always been a challenge for small and medium-sized businesses competing for talent with bigger names. And often they leave it until they need someone urgently – which of course puts extra pressure on them and is likely to lead to taking anyone with a pulse!

As a small business you are never going to be able to outspend a big company – either in terms of your recruitment spend or probably the salary that you can offer – so you need to think differently and systematically and give it the attention it requires.

Don’t limit yourself to what everyone else does. Recruitment platforms such as Indeed and other tactics can be great, but what can you do that would get you in front of hard-to-find people earlier?

  1. Getting staff to think, act and take responsibility

As a business owner it’s easy to assume you should be seen to ‘take control and attract followers’, and that you should make the decisions and issue instructions.

What you really need to do is ‘give control and create leaders’. You need to trust that others want to do a good job and find ways to empower them within the business. If you can’t do that, then you will remain the roadblock

You can’t just ‘abdicate’ everything and expect it to work, though. You must provide the environment and framework for people to be empowered effectively.

It’s not just about telling people what to do, it’s about inspiring and aligning them so everyone believes in where they are heading and wants to get there.

  1. Keeping on track with the plan

Whilst you may have devised an impressive business plan detailing your goals and how you will achieve them, the plan is no use if you don’t stick to it, and this can be a huge challenge for many businesses.

Your business plan needs to be reviewed on a regular basis - that’s why monthly or quarterly targets are so important. Regular reviews give you the chance to get yourself back on track and ensure you stay accountable.

That said, your business plan shouldn’t be set in stone. It is there to guide you and keep you on track, but circumstances will inevitably change, and opportunities will present themselves. So, keep an open mind and, if necessary, be prepared to adapt or rewrite your business plan accordingly.


Scaling a business is not easy. To quote the military, ‘the important things are simple, but the simple things are very hard’, and this is the case with trying to overcome the above challenges.

Whilst there is not one simple tip that is suddenly going to deliver success, by recognising these common pitfalls and putting plans in place to prevent or combat them, your company will be able to scale efficiently and successfully.

Kevin Brent is director of business support provider and franchise, BizSmart, and author of The Entrepreneurial Scale-Up System.

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Scaling Growth: Top 5 Challenges Business Owners Must Overcome

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