Three common business roadblocks and how to overcome them

There are a number of recurring issues that I have run into as I worked with small businesses over the past four years. I will preface this article by stating that by owning a business and operating for several years, you have already overcome the odds most small businesses face. Congratulations - recognize that survival in this world as a business is in itself is a great achievement that not all people experience. That being said I strive to make my business the best it can be. I am constantly thinking and experimenting with how to better serve my customers, their customers and the contractors that I work with on projects. I can imagine you have these goals as well. Here are three issues that you may be experiencing, initial steps on how to identify them and steps to move your business forward.

Roadblock One: Unaware that a solution is even possible.

All businesses face problems everyday. Whether it be processes, tooling or your employees - problems are never going to go away. Some businesses just accept their current reality as how it is. They have not stopped to think“what if there is a better way to do this”.

This usually stems from the following:

1. Lack of innovation /“this is how we have always done it” mentality.

2. Ignoring that there is problem and hoping it will go away on its own.

3. Failure to embrace that change is not bad.

4. Not fostering a culture of sharing new ideas and acceptance of new ideas.

There is always a way to make something better. Here are four steps you can take today to shift your mindset and overcome this roadblock:

1. Take some time to question what you are doing. Is what you are doing make sense? Are there steps that just don’t apply to your current work anymore? Is there a better way you can do this?

2. Do some research on your industry and whats happening. What are some common trends you see across your industry? Are there any tools or processes that have given others an advantage that you don’t have? Is there a shift that is actively occurring that you need to adapt to?

3. Accept there is a better way. This is a big one - the mindset. Truly internalize that there is a better way to do what you are doing, and if you have a big problem that needs solving, that there is a solution out there to that problem.

4. Take one action. Identify the next step you need to take to finding a solution to your problem.

Roadblock Two: Outdated tech / systems / processes.

Some businesses use the same processes they used when company was first started or small.Others are using the same tech they have used for past ten years. This leads systems that just don’t work, equipment downtimes, higher maintenance costs and higher payroll costs.

This usually stems from the following:

1. Rapid growth -“we just did not have time to update these things”.

2. “If it is not broke, why fix it” mentality. Times change, you need to adapt.

Here are a five steps you can take today to identify if you have outdated tech, systems or processes and overcome this roadblock.

1. Map out all tech - review its status. Is your tech stack working well? Are you spending time and energy on maintaining legacy systems? What is all of the tech your team is currently using? Keep in mind - tech can be hardware or software based.

2. Map out all systems and processes. How do you handle payroll? How do you handle new projects? Do you do post project reviews? How well do all of these work?

3. Identify which tech, systems and processes need reviewed. I think you know what needs fixed - its just a matter of actually writing this down and committing to making a change.

4. Identify which item has largest outcome based on effort. Sure, you could go around updating your old network infrastructure - but the way you quote projects might have a bigger impact on increasing revenue. Which item from your review list will produce the most disproportionate results to effort put in?

5. Make an action plan. Identify the next step you need to take. Commit to doing that first step.

Roadblock Three: Paper Based Systems

Ah the paper based systems. Every time I hear a business is using a complex system that relies on paper - I get truly excited. Why? Any paper based system can be eliminated and automated. This means saving thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours and making everyones life better. This might sound like an exaggeration - but I can prove to you that this is true.
Here are three steps you can take today to move away from paper based systems, increase productivity and overcome this roadblock.

1. Identify what paper based systems you are using. Payroll? Timesheets? Job orders? Those are a few common ones.

2. Identify the time and data error cost on your business. This might be difficult because you might not even be aware of it unless you dig it. Some examples of hidden costs to look for: copying data from one source to another, time spent filing paper, time spent retrieving paper from that disorganized filing cabinet, errors on first scribe, errors inputting from paper to digital currently.

3. Make a plan to eliminate paper. Identify the next step you need to take. Most time - you don’t even need to eliminate the whole system to see drastic results. What is one step you can digitize this month?

Take Action - Whats the next step?

After reading through these roadblocks - do you recognize any of them? Do any apply to you and your business? If so, the first step to solving a problem is identifying that one exists. Next, run through the initial steps outlined above for each section on how to take action. I have helped dozens of businesses take steps to make their businesses better by moving away from the three common issues above. If you need help doing the same, schedule a free consult with me today or send me an email and we can chat about how we can work together.

You can do that on my contact page here: