Pain Points: What’s keeping company owners awake at night?

Pain PointsEntrepreneurs and business owners are known to be innovative, focused and highly motivated by nature, consistently nurturing their skills and talents to drive their business model. However the path to success can be rocky and doesn’t come without its challenges. Successful entrepreneurs quickly identify their pain points, the financial impact and implement plans to overcome them.

But just what is a pain point? Pain points are problems, issues, or challenges that entrepreneurs and business owners feel they need to overcome to achieve growth and success.

These challenges can often affect the business owner in different ways, physically and mentally as well as financially. Here we identify 5 of the most common working woes that are keeping business leaders up at night, along with some thoughts on how to address them.

Cashflow Worries

Nothing can be more worrying than financial problems. Cashflow problems can manifest in many different forms. Whether it’s having a business model that needs investment ahead of getting ideas to market, a customer’s defiance to paying outside your trading terms or costs having to be incurred (typically staff) before you can invoice a customer. These types of scenarios can put your business, employees and own finances into a state of vulnerability.

Here are some of the solutions that we would recommend:

  • Having a well capitalised company.
  • Ready access to additional funding such as savings, a private investor or debt funders.
  • Ensuring you have maintained a good credit history.
  • Constructing a cashflow forecast to see the problem before encountering it.
  • Making a healthy margin on sales of goods & services.

Competitor Activity

No matter how good your product or service, you will only have an edge for a while before competition becomes inevitable. Competitors can pose a serious threat to your business, but can also be the spark that lights new innovation and development flame. The challenge lies with keeping your business in a stable position to compete strategically.

Here are some of the solutions that we would recommend:

  • Conduct regular competitor analysis activities e.g. reviewing product & service range, marketing campaigns & news post activity.
  • Create a customer survey to find out what engages your target market, their buying habits and see what makes them tick.
  • Stand out from the crowd; be a leader not a follower in your sector.
  • Constantly innovate and invest in new ideas, processes and products.

Employee Performance

Business owners understand the importance of studying a customer’s needs and requirements when setting out on product development, but what about understanding the needs and requirements of the company’s workforce?

A pain point that can affect not just the business owner, but the whole company, is the employees. If your team isn’t happy or fulfilled, performance can be tainted and poor performance will lead to unhappy customers, a decline in sales and escalating employment costs.

Here are some of the solutions that we would recommend:

  • Be approachable, ensuring your employees are happy and looked after.
  • Praise-as-you-go can often be more effective than longer term pay rewards and bonuses.
  • Don’t assume pay increases & bonuses are the most important or only reward to motivate staff.
  • Initiatives like “flexi time” help give teams a sense of variety when it comes to working hours.
  • Align company and staff reward programs and incentives.

Virgin Group founder and business leader Richard Branson put this into perspective by saying:

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Business Connectivity

Technology in the workplace can help redefine your strategy and revolutionise your business model. But it can also be a great burden to a business owner when that same technology develops a fault, completely shuts down or becomes an out of date thing of the past.

Connectivity issues can be an extreme hindrance on the ability of a company to function properly. Business owners and the rest of the company’s team can be severely affected by tech faults and can stand to lose profits, time and in serious cases, customers.

Here are some of the solutions that we would recommend:

  • Redefine your business management policies & procedures and use cloud software.
  • Adopt best practice cyber essentials protection for your company’s cyber security.
  • Ensure your IT systems & software is regularly maintained by an expert. There are plenty of outsourced and on demand IT service providers.
  • Ensure software is regularly updated and only approved software is used on company & personal devices.

Marketing Impact

In today’s modern business age, business owners now have many new ways to market their company to their target audience. However, this also poses new challenges that can make or break a business. Customer expectations have changed over the years, and the competition is no longer local, but global.

Developing an effective marketing plan with your team to achieve the greatest return on investment can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know how to acquire and reach customers effectively or have the right budget or resources in place. Social media channels are free to set up, but it will cost you & your team time to build up an online community following. So as the business owner, how do you conquer this pain point?

Here are some of the solutions that we would recommend:

  • Focus marketing activity with relevant personalised & targeted newsletter campaigns, special offers and discounts.
  • Invest in the right CRM system to help effectively manage and build stronger customer relationships.
  • Assign ownership of marketing activities to one person to keep a track of budget task management & build a monitoring system to measure return on investment/effectiveness of all marketing spend.
  • Pick the right social media channels that are relevant and help you effectively communicate & reach your customers.

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur hitting pot holes on the road to success, EFM Ireland is here to help. Our team of expert business advisors and finance professionals are here to support you and provide the best solutions. Get in touch today by email or call 01442 8176.

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