In the course of working with business owners over the past few years, we have identified some gaps that many businesses are struggling to bridge. Most business owners are swarmed with daily operational tasks, running errands, meeting business prospects, managing existing accounts, pacifying unhappy customers, coaching/training staff, buying supplies and the list goes on and on.
In the midst of handling all these activities, they are also perpetually asking themselves these questions: Is my business heading in the right direction? Am I generating sufficient revenue to survive and grow? Where do I get new leads?
With these questions framed at the back of their minds and the daily hustle and bustle keeping their hands full, most business owners are losing the joy and passion that they first experienced in the early stages of the business.
For a business to grow and thrive, it needs to be built upon a clear vision and strong business strategy. With the foundation being laid in place, it allows for structures and operational frameworks to be built upon. When the structural blueprint is created, it enables resources to be acquired and channeled effectively into the right place at the right time.
During the course of your business journey journey, you probably would have wrestled with many problems and here are some typical scenarios which you might have faced:
1) Strategy - Implementation Gap
Have you often heard some "good advice" from well-intended friends, associates or even your customers at times? If you are desperate enough to fix the problem, you might even be willing to dig into your pockets to pay for business consultancy services. However, there may be occasions where the engagement may have left you hanging without any means to distill the findings or implement any of the recommended solutions.
Solution: Work with a consultant/coach on both fronts
Businesses need help in strategic planning, ensuring that the strategy is robust, realistic and is crafted to bring good returns on investment. Having a consultant/coach on board can provide you with an opportunity to test new ideas, measure the effectiveness of your strategy and identify potential blind-spots. Working with the same consultant/coach on both the strategic front and implementation phase will ensure that there is consistency and accountability.
2) Internal - External expectations Gap
In a bid to increase your revenue, have you approached an agency to implement some marketing campaigns? However, at the end of a 6 month Facebook engagement, you have garnered plenty of likes and shares but no actual increase in customers acquired or revenue?
Solution: Align communications and expectations
Always communicate your expectations and objectives throughout the course of every engagement or partnership. This will help to minimise the probability of conflicts arising or misalignment in expectations. Working with people or organisations with the same heart and vision will ensure that you can create success together.
3) Knowledge and Expertise Gap
Have you considered that getting a website done or revamped would be a good start to having an online presence? However, after the website is up, you start to wonder how you could drive traffic, reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates.
Through distilling some of our observations, we have discovered some insights which might help to alleviate some of these common issues.
Solution: Outsource to a "Project Manager"
Outsourcing to a project manager who is familiar with your strategy and setup may be helpful. Most SMEs do not have sufficient internal expertise and may not have the budget to hire a full time team or project manager to coordinate and execute certain projects, events or campaigns. For example, in order to execute a successful marketing campaign, it requires the internal team to have knowledge and expertise in the area of marketing strategy, content development, designing collateral, ad buying, copy-writing, photography etc. Should the company consider outsourcing to various agencies or vendors, they would have to ensure that they have ample budget and the ability to convey their vision, business strategy and expectations.
We think that you may resonate with some of these scenarios and hopefully through addressing some of these gaps, your business will experience more stability and would be able to build a deeper foundation for growth. If you have any thoughts and experience or suggestions to bridge these gaps, do feel free to share with us!
Contributed by: Sam & Bili
Photo credit: Golden Gate Bridge by Engel Ching