What is the toughest challenge in your business?

High Jump Meeting 2008
High Jump Meeting 2008 (Photo credit: jmb92)

I suffer from self-limiting beliefs just like every other business owner does.  I work hard to get past mine and to help my clients get past theirs.  This is the toughest part of my job as Business Coach; not to mention as a parent.   When you can get past them, great success is there for you!

Enjoy the post, John

Some of the biggest market shifts of the past 15 years happened when people challenged the existing assumptions.

Through the course of business experience, people tend to develop a set of assumptions that solidify into the way in which they frame their business. These often become absolutes–they hold onto these beliefs even when clear data proves a change is in order.

Some of these assumptions, when shattered, have changed a market landscape. A few examples that might sound familiar:

  • “No one will pay for water in a bottle when they can get it out of the tap.”
  • “You make the money on the food; the coffee just gets them in the door.”
  • “IT departments want to have their own servers and hardware on site.”

Some of the biggest companies and markets that have been created in the past 15 years happened when people challenged the existing perspective of the marketplace.

That means the biggest obstacle to your company‘s growth may, in fact, be you.

So ask yourself: What are the self-limiting parameters you have constructed? One of the biggest areas to tackle is your view of the market: prospects, customers, and competitors. The answers are actually easily found.

Questions to Ask

To break out of your own constraints, you need to honestly examine some of the key “truths” that made you successful up until this point. Ask yourself these questions.

1. What was true about the market a year or two ago that is no longer true?

2. Why are new competitors in my market getting traction?

3. When are my customers most vulnerable to offers from my competitors?

4. How do prospects find us now compared with a year or two ago?

5. Which new market opportunities am I failing to take advantage of?

6. Who is my new buyer?

Answering these questions will help you look beyond your traditional framework.

Success Stories

I’ve worked with a lot of companies that have asked these questions and made some dramatic shifts. Here are a few examples:

  • One medical supply company recently shifted its targeted buyer from the head of nursing to the CFO. By doing so, it shortened its sales cycle and increased both size of purchase and margin. There was a lot of internal resistance, however, because the company had always sold on the clinical side.
  • A professional services company moved from dollars-per-hour consulting to joint-venture partnering with clients on new projects and facilities. Top-line opportunities were 10 times greater, and potential margin was higher as well.
  • A technology services company expanded its offering from on-demand service to a “cradle to grave” package, which includes installation, optimization, application implementation, and 24-hour operating platform support. Customers were looking for more comprehensive support.

These were all successful companies that nonetheless felt that they had become stuck in their approach to the marketplace. By working through their own assumptions and testing them for gaps, new opportunities became apparent.

Author, speaker and consultant Tom

Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, he’s helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Tom’s weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales@tomsearcy

About Kelly Business Advisors, LLC

Early in his career John started-up and sold 7 years later a Moving and Storage Company in Milwaukee. He acquired and was President of Kelly Pickle Company f/k/a Bond Pickle Company, in Oconto, WI for 12 years. Built a monthly round-table networking group of manufactures in Oconto. Developed marketing plans, sales plans, products and implemented lean manufacturing practices with many North American companies. Worked with non-profits as both a front line leader and behind the scenes. He is active in his church, a member of the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce,Business Networkers International (BNI) and now is joining the Green Bay Downtown Rotary.

2 thoughts on “What is the toughest challenge in your business?

  1. Good stuff. I recently heard a liltte nugget of wisdom: from an investor stand point, the idea is worth around 8%, developing the product is worth about 25-30% and the capital to fund it all is worth the balance. The problem that comes into play is that the person with the idea thinks these numbers should be reversed. Seek people with experience to help you get your perceptions and expectations in line with reality, the sooner the better.

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