Overview: Business Growth Inhibitors

In this series on enabling business growth, I will discuss some of the major factors which inhibit business growth, and some of the ways to overcome these challenges.

When I talk to executives that feel their business growth is being inhibited, I always recommend we start by answering a few questions to get some background, and assess if the business is on the right trajectory to meet their goals. Far too often you see executives so worried about growing their bottom line that they neglect to start at the beginning. Keeping your eye on the prize is a great motivator, but be careful not to wander toward it aimlessly.

First and foremost, it’s important to be clear on the direction of the business. Working on your business growth requires planning. Start by asking yourself:

    • How wide is the gap between what we’re targeting, and where we currently are?
    • What’s the magnitude of the challenge – how much work needs to be done?
    • What are our business values?
    • Does my business plan track toward the right goals?
    • What is the broader business vision, what is the objective?

Once you’ve identified where your business is today, and where you’d like it to be, you can start working on a plan to get it there. Sometimes eliminating just a few of the major barriers to growth is all you need to bring your business vision to reality. Sometimes, it requires more work.

Some of the most common growth inhibitors I see when talking with clients and other executives are:

Changes in your industrial landscape: Unless your business is new, chances are your competitive landscape has evolved since you first opened your doors. If you’re not considering the impact of those changes, you’re limiting your ability to effectively compete.

Compliance complexities: Without really understanding the regulatory and compliance environment of your business, you put yourself at risk. Growth can be constrained when compliance issues negatively impact churn rate, or cause distractions.

Incomplete business plans: The business plan you developed when you started your organization isn’t enough to keep you on a path to perpetual growth.  As your business evolves, it is important that you regularly engage in planning exercises which include people plans, financial plans, quality control plans, sales and marketing plans and more.

Static organizational dynamics: Every business reaches a point where the organizational dynamic needs to change, in order for growth to occur. It can be hard to change roles or encourage executives to step back and get out of the entrepreneurial mindset that everything has to be done by them.

A lack of technology, or underutilized technology: We see this often at Rand Group. A company is either trying to facilitate growth with accounting or business solutions that simply do not support a business of their size, or they have a great solution but aren’t using it to its full potential.


The topic of business growth inhibitors is vast and complex. Every business has its own set of constraints which go beyond the common themes we see in the business world. To really meet your growth goals, you need to address as many of the inhibitors as possible, and be aware that there isn’t necessarily a one-time solution. As you grow, common inhibitors will reappear in different ways, and will need to be continually addressed through planning exercises and more.

In my next post, I will dig a little deeper into your changing competitive landscape, what that means for your business, and how you should approach it.


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