6 Things That Can Hinder Business Growth

Whether you have a business idea or are in your first year, it’s never too early to consider growth. Every entrepreneur’s goal is to grow a profitable business.

To ensure your business is on track for growth, start with a detailed business plan. It serves as a roadmap for success, helping you think through the milestones needed to build a thriving business.

But even if you have a business plan in place, what are the common pitfalls that can derail your business? Marc Meyer, a business professor at Northeastern University and experienced software startup participant, suggests a few.

1. Unfamiliarity with competitors

To grow, you must know your business competition, Meyer says. Every business has competition, so understanding what they offer and how they operate is crucial to setting yourself apart.

"Customers need a clear reason to switch (and stay)," Meyer says.

Bottom line? Failure to learn about competitors and differentiate yourself will hinder growth potential.

How to learn more about your competition:

  • Analyze the industry to understand the market opportunity in your sector.
  • Create a competitor matrix for comparing and contrasting your business against top competitors.
  • Stay informed about your competitors’ activities and communications. Subscribe to their email lists and explore their online and physical stores.

2. Limited understanding of customers

When starting a business, it’s crucial to know your target market, says Meyer. Who are your customers? Are you targeting moms or fitness enthusiasts? How frequently will these customers make purchases? If your product is only needed once a year, you’ll need a substantial customer base.

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Gaining customer insight isn’t a one-time endeavor. As your business evolves, your ideal customer demographics may change. Knowing your customers is essential for growth.

How to gain insight into your target market:

  • Talk to existing customers through surveys or other feedback methods.
  • Explore alternative ways to gather customer data.
  • Solicit and respond to customer reviews.

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