Jay Goltz knows a few things about small businesses. He started a picture frame business out of college and built it into the nation’s largest. When he speaks or writes -- like his archived posts for the New York Times’ “You’re the Boss” small business blog -- it’s worth paying attention. His practical, applicable advice resonates both with owners and executives while also helping employees understand why they do what they do.
A few years ago Goltz tackled a very common issue central to every venture: Why don’t small businesses grow? Why do some expand and mature while others are stuck in a rut? Goltz compiled a list of 10 challenges that put too many small businesses on ice (or worse):
1) Complacency. Some owners just don’t have the drive -- and their employees pay the price.
2) Not having the right people. Talent that fits your needs and culture makes all the difference.
3) Lack of standards or controls. Without ensuring quality output and management, you’re in trouble.
4) Company’s attitude toward its customers/clients. Ramping up business is tough when the people you serve aren’t superfans.
5) Technology. From not responding to tech quickly enough to misusing it altogether, tech can hurt as much as it helps.
6) Marketing. Small businesses often sacrifice marketing for fiscal reasons, while others aren’t very good at it and don’t get the help they need.
7) Lack of innovation and development. If you do the same thing every year, your business probably won’t have opportunities to grow.
8) Too little investment. Expanding does require investment, whether it’s new money or pushing profits right back into the business.
9) Being stubborn. Once you’ve made your business sustainable, it can be tough to deviate from what has already worked -- and that’s bad for growth.
10) Leadership. A business can’t grow without someone leading the charge. That includes everything from planning and decision-making to making sure employees are motivated and on board.
Goltz’s diagnoses are sensible. Virtually every business owner would agree that all ten reasons stifle growth. But in the years since he wrote the list, it’s become clear that working with professional employer organizations (PEOs) provide the resources needed to overcome most of these ten hurdles so your business can realize its full potential.
PEOs handle tasks that weigh down your business, from taking over burdensome HR duties to initiating full-scale recruiting and hiring. It’s easy to get complacent when you’re stuck sorting through passion-killing regulations or worrying about rolling the dice on a new hire.
Handing off payroll, workers’ compensation, and more to a PEO simply saves you time that can go into refining your strategy. You can pay more attention to developing relationships with clients/customers or really examine how you’re using technology. Companies who work with PEOs save as much as 25% more time, all of which can be devoted to the issues that are critical to your business’s growth.
Do you need help with marketing or do you want to fund a new campaign? Do you simply need to free up or attract more cash? What about developing a new product or service, or maybe taking a developmental risk? The efficiency and savings in a PEO relationship can be maximized by pursuing any of those routes to growth.
PEOs aren’t a miracle drug, and they don’t do everything. They can’t make your passion explode or give you the wisdom of a great leader. But they can make your business run more efficiently, help you improve operations, and cut this list of 10 growth-killing problems down to just two or three. Being able to focus on a handful of challenges instead of an overwhelming laundry list puts your business in the best position to grow.