How to Overcome Common Business Struggles: 12 Real Examples
In the quest to continually improve their businesses, twelve leaders, including small business owners and CEOs, share their personal experiences and strategies. They delve into areas they’ve struggled with, from improving online customer support to expanding business reach, and reveal the steps they’ve taken to address these issues. Dive into their insights to learn how you can tackle your own business challenges.
- Improving Online Customer Support
- Enhancing Communication, Retention, and Growth
- Transitioning to Remote Work
- Streamlining the Recruitment Process
- Boosting User Engagement
- Shifting from Product to Brand Focus
- Delegating Business Tasks
- Leveraging AI for Digital Marketing
- Attracting and Retaining Clients
- Optimizing Inventory Management
- Revamping the Hiring Strategy
- Expanding Business Reach
Improving Online Customer Support
One area of my business that posed challenges in the past was online customer support. We faced difficulties in providing timely and effective assistance to our customers, which led to frustration and dissatisfaction. To address this issue and enhance our business, we took several decisive steps.
First, we invested in a comprehensive customer-support system, integrating live chat, email, and phone support. This allowed us to respond to inquiries promptly and efficiently.
Second, we provided intensive training to our support team, emphasizing empathy and problem-solving skills. We encouraged them to actively listen to customers, address their concerns, and offer solutions.
Additionally, we implemented a knowledge base and self-help resources on our website, enabling customers to find answers to common queries independently.
Furthermore, we gathered customer feedback regularly and used it to make continuous improvements to our support processes.
Enhancing Communication, Retention, and Growth
Disjointed inter-team communication that slowed down projects, lackluster customer retention, and flat revenue growth were all issues that plagued our organization in the past. We resolved the issue by instituting coordinated cross-departmental meetings supported by user-friendly collaboration tools, which improved efficiency and communication. We redesigned our loyalty program after hearing from customers, and the results were impressive.
Meanwhile, careful examination of the industry and the formation of strategic collaborations with our suppliers allowed us to broaden our product offering and reignite the fire in our sales performance. These all-encompassing changes have breathed new life into our business, leading to improved productivity, stronger client loyalty, and a revitalized path toward revenue growth.
Hassan Sanders, CEO, Diabetic Insurance Solutions
Transitioning to Remote Work
The coronavirus pandemic represented a great challenge not only to humanity but also to business. In a short time, serious decisions about transferring employees and business to a remote format had to be made.
With an abundance of modern digital tools, uninterrupted work of the agency was ensured. Trello and Basecamp were used for project management, communication with colleagues was done via Telegram, and online meetings were held in Zoom. Not only current work tasks were discussed, but quizzes, open talks, and informal meetings were also held, which helped avoid burnout and improve corporate culture.
Getting to know each other much better than when working in the office was an added benefit. In the end, the problems were turned in favor—today work is done remotely from different time zones, which ensures smooth work and cross-regional cultural synergy for clients.
Streamlining the Recruitment Process
As a small-business owner, one of my biggest challenges has been finding the right people for positions. The cost and time associated with recruitment can be daunting, so I’ve taken steps to help streamline the process.
To start, I’ve developed an online presence on job boards and social media sites like LinkedIn and Indeed to reach out to potential hires. Additionally, I’m using a referral-bonus system to encourage my current employees to refer qualified candidates for open positions. This provides an incentive for them to help me find the right people and reduces the overall time spent on recruitment.
Boosting User Engagement
In our third year, scaling user engagement was our Achilles’ heel. It reminded me of those first-date jitters—you know, when you want to impress but just can’t find the right words? That was us, trying to keep our users engaged.
The numbers weren’t lying; only about 42% of users were returning to our platform after their first experience. Ouch, right? So, instead of drowning in sorrow (or too much coffee), we took a two-pronged approach: feedback and innovation. We actively sought feedback, straight from the horse’s mouth. Remember those annoying pop-up surveys? Yep, that was us.
We discovered that our user interface, though sleek, wasn’t as intuitive as we thought. Based on this goldmine of insights, we revamped the design and introduced features tailored to users’ needs. Like when you realize using a blender is way better than mixing by hand. And voila! Six months later, our retention rate surged to 73%.
So, the lesson from this saga? Listen to your users.
Shifting from Product to Brand Focus
In our early days, we were so inclined to market our products that we failed to see how important it was to establish our brand as more than just a bunch of offerings. Soon enough, we began working towards plans that propelled our brand as an industry leader. Our current standing in the paintball business bears testimony to the success of this thought process.
Today, most of our content is industry- and customer-specific and doesn’t even discuss selling. We give out information and tips, present honest reviews, and dish out paintball-related entertainment that is more fun than sales. Yet, we enjoy a strong market position. We have accomplished all this only because we had the foresight to grow as industry leaders and not just a sales-oriented business.
Delegating Business Tasks
In the beginning of this business, I was taking care of everything, from bookkeeping to fulfilling orders and all points in between. After getting into a routine of controlling every tiny aspect of the day-to-day, it became difficult to make time to hire, delegate, and outsource. This is a crucial step for every startup, and it can’t be delayed.
So, if your business feels like it’s all you all the time, carve out time to find the best people to help your business grow. We get into the groove of taking care of everything ourselves, and it’s difficult to get out of it.
Leveraging AI for Digital Marketing
We have struggled with digital marketing in the past, especially when AI rose to fame. Since everybody already went digital, almost all businesses crafted their own marketing strategies. Hence, competition was very high. This was further pushed by the success of AI and its application to marketing.
Since we believed we were lagging behind, we made sure to train our marketing team on how best to use AI to improve our digital marketing strategies. This has greatly helped our business and improved our customer reach.
Grace Magalit, Head of Research, PhD Molecular Biology Candidate, Culture.org
Attracting and Retaining Clients
Struggling with attracting and retaining clients is a common issue.
The belief that the best way to attract new clients is to do more work for free is a misconception. After doing a lot of free work for friends, it becomes clear that this isn’t sustainable. It’s hard to be competitive when not charging a living wage.
The solution is to take good care of current clients! When good work is done for them, they’ll recommend you to other people and stay engaged with your business. They’ll also become a source of referrals for new clients.
Working on a retention strategy involves making sure every client knows exactly what they can expect from the partnership. This includes specific deliverables (the number of posts they would receive per month), their total cost (including all fees), when they would receive these items, how long each item would take to produce, how much time it took to produce it in the first place… basically everything!
Optimizing Inventory Management
In the past, our business struggled with efficient inventory management, leading to stockouts and excesses. To address this, we implemented a robust inventory-tracking system, integrated with our sales and procurement processes. Regular audits and demand forecasting now guide our purchasing decisions.
This improvement has minimized disruptions, optimized stock levels, and enhanced overall operational efficiency.
Revamping the Hiring Strategy
We encountered a notable challenge in the past with securing top-tier developers. The immense competition posed by industry giants often puts us at a disadvantage. However, as we delved into understanding the dynamics, we recognized a pivotal factor that led to our transformation.
Our realization was that while big tech companies offered substantial packages, many professionals were yearning for more than just financial rewards. It became clear that work-life balance had become a paramount consideration for individuals seeking job opportunities.
In response, we took proactive steps to address this hurdle. We revamped our hiring strategy by placing a strong emphasis on providing a more flexible work schedule and embracing a fully remote work environment.
This transformation not only aligned with the modern workforce’s values but also enabled us to tap into a pool of talented individuals who were looking for precisely what we were offering.
Expanding Business Reach
In the past, our biggest challenge has been to expand our reach and get our products in front of more customers. We’ve addressed this issue by investing in digital marketing campaigns and engaging actively on social media platforms, both of which have allowed us to target potential customers.
Additionally, we’ve strengthened our relationships with existing partners and secured new collaborations with other businesses to better promote our products and services. All of this has enabled us to increase our reach and bring more people into the fold. We’ve also been able to take advantage of new technologies, such as AI and machine learning, which have allowed us to create more personalized content that resonates with customers on a deeper level.
Finally, we have modified our product development process to ensure that we are offering the best possible solutions to our customers.