What were the biggest business challenges my clients had in 2018?

business challenges

Since we are just starting our new year, I thought it would be interesting to reflect back on 2018 and share with you the reoccurring themes and biggest business challenges that came up time and time again during my coaching sessions with clients.  So here are my top 5 (I would bet most of these were and are relevant to you in 2019).

1. How do we become more profitable?

This is usually a question that is asked early on and one of the reasons for engaging with a coach such as me.

In the agency world, there seems to be a constant mismatch between being super busy, working long hours and yet, not being profitable enough. This results in lack of investment in the business, not enough hours for the owner to work on their business, high staff turnover (if you have staff) and burnout.

As my clients know, the answer to this, whilst it’s not one thing, is definitely to sell value, outcomes and transformations and NOT time.

2. How do we win more business?

This kind of goes hand in hand with one because if you are run ragged servicing low paying challenging clients then you will have little time for new business.  So firstly, get that right so you have time to look for new business.

Secondly, know your customers (define your customer personas).  Understand their challenges (that you can solve) and market yourself against these challenges (rather than telling them how wonderful you are).

Understand their buying habits so you know where they ‘hang out’ (networking?, LinkedIn?, Facebook ads? (yep they can work for business) and so on).

Give away some value for free to demonstrate your credibility (such as a blog like this one) and build rapport with them through regular communications.

3. How do we attract and retain the best staff?

Like all the issues, this is a big one with a long answer.  So let me give you a few quick thoughts on this:

  • It starts with recruitment. Make sure you have a clear roles & responsibilities and recruit against not only the R&R but also your culture – to get the best fit
  • Have a strong induction place (there is no room for a ‘sink or swim’ mentality) – giving them and you the best chance for success
  • Have regular check ins – once probation is over you still need to create a safe space; regular 1-2-1 meetings to give and receive feedback
  • Train and develop yourself and your team
  • Make sure you reward, and recognition schemes are fair, competitive and balanced (and consider the needs of the demographics within your organisation)

4. How do we cut through the noise of competition in the market place?

  • GET A CLEAR NICHE!!!!!
  • It’s so much easier to be successful when you have a clear niche rather than trying to be a generalist
  • A niched business has a clearly defined market place and clear competitors

5. How do we grow in a sustainable way?

This is all about getting your structure/infrastructure right, so you have room for growth. I always tell my clients to build their business structures today for the business they want to be tomorrow – that way you can grow in a managed sustainable way. If you don’t have the structures in place and grow rapidly, you are just as likely to shrink as rapidly – and have a stressful time in doing so!

So they are the top 5 challenges that I helped my clients solve in 2018.  Will they be the same in 2019?  Did I miss anything?  Do let me know by dropping a comment or sending me a message.

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Rob Da Costa

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