From insights come answers.

A series of articles from the Insider Pro consultancy team.

Real examples that show how we orchestrate supply chains and operations to remove constraints to growth, eliminate risks and improve profitability.

3 barriers to business growth in the UK

Posted by Jeremy Bowley
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Few businesses experience the joy of uninterrupted, problem-free growth; most hit bumps in their journey.

Why is it that any two businesses in the same industry facing the same challenges can have completely different outcomes?

Why do some overcome challenges and others fail to fulfil their potential?

And what is the key to unlocking business growth?

Even with a strong vision, a realistic set of goals and a talented leadership team, some businesses struggle to grow profitably and reach their potential.  We think there are three main barriers to business growth:

1 Other business issues cloud their vision

There are lots of examples here:

  • The skills they need are in short supply so their attention is on recruitment and training.
  • Their asset base is costly, margins are squeezed, and the focus is on cost reduction.
  • New competition is causing them to rethink their sales and product strategy.
  • The technology they chose in the first place may not support their current size so the focus is on re-engineering the operation.
  • And more!

Making sure these issues don't detract from the overall vision can be a huge challenge.

2 The silo effect

For the sake of efficiency, each business function has its own set of goals.

The sales team is measured on revenue and margin, procurement is measured on costs, operations on efficiency etc.

The issue is that these goals drive behaviour that may not provide the best overall outcome for the entire business.

  • If you increase sales without reviewing production efficiency, or cut costs on raw materials, how can you be sure you aren’t creating problems elsewhere? Could you be impacting customer satisfaction, product quality, supply chain reliability or something else that’s fundamental to the success of your operation?
  • If you reduce the cost of uniforms, could you be adversely impacting safety and quality, or even employee satisfaction and therefore productivity?
  • If you reduce the cost of packaging, could you be reducing the potential to recycle? What impact would that have on your customers?
Of course, most sales or procurement directors would examine the potential impact of any proposed change and make a balanced decision. They would look to eliminate any potential adverse impacts before implementing a change.

But the key point here is that, because sales, procurement and operations traditionally work in silos, they initiate change within those silos. And they will always set out to work on the best outcome for their own individual KPIs.

Procurement directors will predominantly look at costs, sales leaders will look at sales productivity, pricing and marketing. 

And so it is that those entrenched in the business often miss out on ingenious ways to grow enterprise value, because inevitably, asking the same people the same questions will result in the same answers.  

The challenge is to look at the business holistically, then make smart changes that will have a significant, long lasting impact on enterprise value.

3 Goals don't match the potential

Anyone who has set ambitious goals and failed to achieve them knows how hard it is to repeat.  Instead, many decide to set more "realistic" goals that thy feel can be achieved.

But does that kind of goal setting really help a business achieve it's true potential? Or does it simply serve to soothe the nerves of those in charge?

And how can a business reach it's full potential, if the goals they are working towards are set too low? 

What’s the answer?

When the leadership team struggles to find an answer as to why the business is failing to meet it's potential they often seek outside help: 

  • Many businesses seek outside investment to deliver a cash injection that gives them some time to focus on growth and/or recruit experienced leaders without the immediate worry of cash flow.
  • Some chose to work with private investors who can also bring valuable experience to the table.
  • Others seek help from professional advisers or coaches who bring with them particular skills and a fresh viewpoint – procurement specialists, sales trainers, business coaches and the like.

Most seek someone from outside the business to provide either a "helicopter" strategic view and/or microscopic, objective approach.

Some will look for a "management consultant" or "business consultant" to help identify the issues. Where lack of profit stifles growth, many will look to a specialist procurement consultant to help them reduce costs. 

InsiderPro is a little different. 

We provide the expertise needed to identify opportunities AND deliver results FAST.

We work exclusively with UK businesses who have lots of people, property and processes.  These include retail, hospitality, care homes, manufacturers and other industry sectors where management of both internal operations and supply chains are critical to success.

We enable those businesses to maximise enterprise value by orchestrating their supply chains and operations to improve profitability, remove constraints to growth and eliminate risks.

We work with businesses who need help with:

  • creating a strategy for growth that harnesses opportunity both within the business and right across the supply chain
  • implementing that strategy, using our extensive knowledge and expertise in procurement
  • coaching and developing their in-house teams to continue to drive enterprise value long after our work is completed

We have a strong track record of delivering results QUICKLY through our clear 4 step approach and we guarantee a return on investment for all our work.

Call us to arrange a 30 minute exploratory call to find out whether we can help you unlock the key to faster growth in your business.

Contact me - Jeremy Bowley, Managing Director

Tel: +44 (0) 1926 316 791


P.S. Take a look at our eBook "5 ways to grow Enterprise Value" or our blog "5 ways to accelerate business growth" to learn more about the ways we have created astounding levels of enterprise value for our customers.

Click to download: 5 ways to increase enterprise value

Topics: How to grow a business