What Management Need Hurts Your Business The Most?

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Hello,

I will be honest about the reason of my question: I am trying to start a consulting business - working remote - and offering services for companies everywhere. My kind of company would be small business/startups. I don't know whether it's viable or not, but I want to work for small businesses. I cannot explain why, but this is something I always wanted to do. I have many years of experience, recently a degree in business administration, and now I am seeking for an answer to the question: WHAT SHOULD I OFFER?

This is the reason I would like to hear from actual entrepreneurs around the world:
  • What do you feel is hurting your business?
  • What kind of help in management would you likely want and pay for?
  • What do you recognize as a need for a consulting in management?
I also appreciate any other insights you might share with me!!
 

Essentialist

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1. A lot of businesses struggle with quality lead generation. What else...

2. Exactly the problem that you are having right now. Small businesses don't often know what product to offer to the marketplace.

3. When it comes to my business the hardest thing right now is building credibility and establishing trust in the world full of noise and junk
 
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Hello Essentialist, thanks for your insights. I appreciate a lot that you took your time to provide me some response!

Indeed, the problem 2 is very common. Even though I'm just researching at this moment, I have really seen a lot of small business owners struggling with that in the past.

About item 3, would you mind if I ask you what is your business? It will help me a lot to deeply explore my options.

Thank you again!!
 

Essentialist

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Hello Essentialist, thanks for your insights. I appreciate a lot that you took your time to provide me some response!

Indeed, the problem 2 is very common. Even though I'm just researching at this moment, I have really seen a lot of small business owners struggling with that in the past.

About item 3, would you mind if I ask you what is your business? It will help me a lot to deeply explore my options.

Thank you again!!
Helping businesses and organisations build high-performing teams and improve systems.
 

PatrickM

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1. A lot of businesses struggle with quality lead generation. What else...

2. Exactly the problem that you are having right now. Small businesses don't often know what product to offer to the marketplace.

3. When it comes to my business the hardest thing right now is building credibility and establishing trust in the world full of noise and junk
1. and 2. are closely related - how do you develop quality leads before completely understanding your customers? Where they hang out, what they are looking for, etc

2. is interesting as it is exactly why so many businesses fail. The process of developing a product and then looking for customers is the wrong sequence. The first step should be looking at potential customers, understanding their problems/desires and then building a suitable solution/product. The process of doing intensive customer research is challenging and out of most people's comfort zone ... so it gets ignored.

Building or researching products (finding a focussed niche) is much easier when you understand what your customers really want/need.

3. it will be easier to create credibility when you know your customer and understand what "noise and junk" they don't like.

In summary, there is far too little emphasis placed on the finding and understanding the customer and too much effort and money spent on solutions/products that end up not being commercially viable.
 
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Another thing you can offer is management consulting on how to scale up, especially micro enterprises going up to small business or small business expanding to medium scale.

I noticed a lot of the struggle for microbusinesses has been it's hard to scale up operations while maintaining the same efficiencies of a small operation. There're more people and processes involved. More decisions have to be made. Business owners often would have difficulty relinquishing control causing tension with management and staff on what the new roles would be. Worse if it's a family business.
 
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Hello!!

First, thank you for taking your time to answer my question, Essentialist, PatrickM and Julia Sta Romana

To be honest, I've been reflecting on your answers for the last couple of minutes, and I think Patrick touched an important aspect of this question.

1. and 2. are closely related - how do you develop quality leads before completely understanding your customers? Where they hang out, what they are looking for, etc

2. is interesting as it is exactly why so many businesses fail. The process of developing a product and then looking for customers is the wrong sequence. The first step should be looking at potential customers, understanding their problems/desires and then building a suitable solution/product. The process of doing intensive customer research is challenging and out of most people's comfort zone ... so it gets ignored.

Building or researching products (finding a focussed niche) is much easier when you understand what your customers really want/need.

3. it will be easier to create credibility when you know your customer and understand what "noise and junk" they don't like.

In summary, there is far too little emphasis placed on the finding and understanding the customer and too much effort and money spent on solutions/products that end up not being commercially viable.
Well, understanding the customer is somehow what I am doing here (and I thank you all a lot for bringing me these answers, which are also insights from my perspective). You know, at college we learn a lot about it. I had 2 courses in Marketing Research where we did actual research for actual businesses (supervised by professors). Most of them were small business, and they likely wouldn't have hired a research unless it was free (they loved it AFTER I've done, though). So, with that in mind, would you three mind if I share my real problem and ask you a question that perhaps may sound "too direct" or maybe "too much"? I hope you don't mind.

Here's my actual problem: if you ask the business owners I know, 11 in 10 will strongly agree that "an entrepreneur" should really know their customers. However, -1 in 10 would actually be willing to put any effort on that, and -10 in 10 would pay anything for that. Obviously I made up these numbers, but in my experience reality is somewhat close to that. There are several things most people would likely agree to be important in a "third person" perspective (yeah, I learned most of the important tools at college, and all my professors told me about how "an entrepreneur" should use any of them - but if they were entrepreneurs they would likely don't act like that).

So the delicate question I have for you is: are these answers things you are currently struggling with (as a "first-person" struggle that you consider a priority at a past or present moment)?
- If the answer is yes, how much more are you willing to tell about this to help me? Could you share your story?
- If the answer is no, could you share a store about something else that you are currently experiencing as a struggle?

Thank you again, and indeed I appreciate all current and future answers - it means a lot to me. And I mean all of you (even though Essentialist's item 3 sound like very current - I would love to know whether you actually struggled with the first two points). Your answers will help me to structure a future survey on this topic.
 

PatrickM

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I am currently looking to create a financial course for SMB owners taking them beyond "accounting" into the financial management elements that they should understand and manage. The market is the same as the one you are looking at - people with ideas and skills to build/sell products or services but with limited/no knowledge of building a business. For most people a concept that they don't understand.

Your made up numbers above correlate with the failure of SMB's within the first 5 years ... something like 80% fail. Either they built the business on quicksand (too little research) or they failed in the management of the resources (not understanding the dynamics of the cash in the business).

My view is that this market is so vast that there are enough business owners/potential business owners who want help who are the target market. Also, some of their success stories may convince others that doing the "right things" may increase their chance of business success. It seems strange that with all the unknowns in starting and running a business one of the things that are within your control is totally neglected!
 
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Yeah PatrickM, in my country these statistics are absolutely the same. For a long time I thought it was a "Brazilian thing", and thought in developed countries entrepreneurs were more technical about management, but in the last couple of months I learned that's not the reality at all. Well, maybe you are right and some part of the other 20% are the companies who would be the "best clients".

Maybe my starting point, instead of openly asking, should be to spot these companies and contact them individually to ask. But, in an international scenario, how could I identify these companies (those willing to do the "right things")? How do you usually find the right ones, in your experience, Patrick?
 

PatrickM

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Bruno Moreira-Guedes that's a very good question. You could try LinkedIn groups and other forums like this one. Another option is to contact small business organisations in the countries you want to survey - maybe trying to contact with owners who have failed in one business and are now planning to start another one?
 
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1. and 2. are closely related - how do you develop quality leads before completely understanding your customers? Where they hang out, what they are looking for, etc
This is really great advice. If a business was transitioning from one kind of customer to focus on to say another, as part of their mission, how would you generate leads in a way that didn't come across as "fake" or pretending to be interested?
 

PatrickM

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If you plan to serve a new group of customers you need to do the research from the beginning so that you fully understand them. You need to engage with them to make sure they want what you plan to offer and you are presenting the offer in an optimal way.
The most important thing in building trust is not to be "fake" - if you are genuinely interested then it will come through. Ask questions and listen to the answers! Make sure that the first stage is research, not a disguised sales pitch!
The best option is to actually speak to them but it is also possible to engage through forums or social media and a short quiz can also work.
Once you understand them and have built some degree of trust you can then start building your sales funnel.
 

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