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Most entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to dig in and do the work required to grow their businesses. The problem is, most of the time they’re focused on the wrong things. We all get caught up in the falsity that effort equals results,” but that doesn’t make too much sense, when you think about it. Business owners who are getting 10 times the results, aren’t putting in 10 times the hours; it’s not possible. Yet, many entrepreneurs, and side hustlers, get caught up in the mantra that more work will equate to more pay off. But rather than more revenue, people just get burnt out.
So, if you’re putting in the effort, clocking lots of hours, overwhelmed with decisions about what to focus on each day (there are just so many options), and you’re still not seeing the results and fast growth that you want, you’re likely solving the wrong problem.
But, you’re not alone.
One of the biggest problems entrepreneurs have is they don’t actually know what the problem is. They’re aware of all the symptoms that the problem is creating, but they haven’t specifically identified the root cause. As you solve symptoms, you’re creating a Band-Aid solution, so you may feel better for a little while, but then a different symptom (or the old one) will reappear. That’s because we haven’t solved the right problem.
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As an expert in LEAN Six Sigma and SCRUM (think: efficiency and performance improvement expertise) and having worked with hundreds of clients — ranging from Fortune 500 corporations all the way to solopreneurs — this is the biggest obstacle to creating fast and sustainable growth in every business. This is true for every business at every stage of business, no one is immune. Everyone has problems or bottlenecks in their business that they can be actively working to solve — or actively ignoring.
There are three main bottlenecks that are the root cause of most business symptoms and one is blocking your growth right now. While you may feel you have all three of these, I assure you, one is the highest priority and causing the most trouble for your business.
The bottlenecks are:
- Leads: You do not have enough leads
- Sales: You have the opportunity, but you are unable to convert
- Scalability: You have the lead, able to convert the sale, but don’t have the capacity or bandwidth to serve the client or fill the order.
If you’re focused on solving all three right now, it’s probably why you’re feeling overwhelmed and stagnant in the results department. If you’re solving the wrong one, then you’re not focused on the real problem and will be disappointed with the results.
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To help you determine which bottleneck is hurting your business, here a breakdown of all three.
You have no lead generation system, meaning you don’t have a system that consistently brings in new leads every single month, is easy to automate and will continue to grow your base.
You won’t success if you have no customers. You need to create a system to consistently attract more leads and traffic to your offer, so that you have more opportunities to convert leads into customers to hit your revenue goals. Some of the go-to strategies include referral system, SEO, paid advertising, guest blogging and utilizing social-media platforms.
Keep in mind, this problem can often be mistaken for a sales bottleneck because you think you just need to sell more, but if you’re conversion rate is average or above, or you can’t possibly hit your revenue goals with the number of sales opportunities you have, then what you really need to focus on is bringing in more leads first.
You have enough leads coming in to hit your revenue goals if you convert at average or above, but you aren’t converting them into sales consistently. For instance you have 100 leads come in and you need to convert 10 to hit your revenue goal of $1,000. But you only convert three. This is a sales bottleneck, as you don’t necessarily need to focus on bringing in more leads. Rather, you need to focus on converting them better.
There are many ways to solve this issue but one thing you can definitely do is follow up. There needs to be about five to seven touch points, before a lead turns into a customer.
If you’re converting sales at average or above (compare to your YOY and industry benchmarks) and still aren’t hitting your revenue goals, then while you likely have a little room for improvement in your sales process, your bottleneck is lead generation.
Your current offer or operational structure are preventing you from growing your business and making more sales. This means that you have the leads, can convert the lead into a customer, but are unable to effectively serve them because your offer or operations are not scalable.
For example, you have lots of leads coming in, you’re converting them into clients, but you have to put a pause on it (maybe even a wait list or a backlog of orders), because you don’t have the time or bandwidth to properly serve them.
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One way to solve this issue is by streamlining your operations, so you had a workflow that involved less of your time. Also, it is important to delegate and automate more of the process.
Once you identify which bottleneck is currently keeping your business stuck, stagnant and overwhelmed, focus your goals, energy, actions and resources on solving this problem first. The secret to getting 10 times the results, isn’t working 10 times the hours — it’s focusing and solving your business bottleneck.