The big questions every business owner asks

Article #1 in a series exploring the big questions that entrepreneurs ask as they’re starting up and growing their businesses.

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By way of introduction to the Business Breakthrough Network, back in June we outlined our three metrics of business success. What we didn’t do is explain how we came to these three focus areas.

Consultants love tough questions — they are why we exist in the first place. Over the years, we’ll often hear the same ones repeated over and over again. Good consultants have enough experience to be able to answer the easier ones quickly. Wise consultants know who to turn to for answers to the tougher ones before they open their big mouths. But the best consultants tabulate the questions and answers and try to build frameworks of understanding that help us categorize the questions into “pain points” and “solution sets.”

Over the course of our careers, the founders of Business Breakthrough Networks have answered a lot of questions. Many of these questions are existential and critical. Some of them are more practical. Here are just a few of them:

  • How am I going to make payroll this month?
  • Which tools can I use to better manage my personal time?
  • How do I scale my company?
  • Why isn’t my business as profitable as my competitors’?
  • How do I keep from burning out?
  • Who can I trust to help me grow my business?
  • How do I make sure I have enough leads?
  • Which technologies can help me streamline my business the best?
  • How do I generate more cashflow?
  • When should I say “no” to a customer or prospect?
  • Where do I find the capital to expand and grow?
  • How can I learn to delegate better?
  • Where do I find more customers?
  • How can I empower my employees to better serve our customers?

(By the way, we’ll try to answer each of these questions in more detail in this blog. As we do, we’ll fill in the hyperlinks above.)

We wrote these down on sticky notes and did some whiteboarding and brainstorming. After some discussion, we saw three big categories of questions emerge. The questions clustered around three critical leverage points for businesses: profitability, growth and productivity.

The majority of the concerns facing small businesses cluster around profitability. For example:

In second place were growth concerns, such as:

  • How do I scale my company?
  • How do I make sure I have enough leads?
  • How do I find more customers?

Running a close third was productivity — mostly of the personal kind:

  • How do I prevent burnout in me and my overworked employees?
  • How can I delegate better?
  • How can I better manage your time?

Of course, every business is different. But what we have found through our experience, research and brainstorming is that all businesses we work with share these common concerns. More importantly, there are explicit, specific tools, techniques and strategies you can deploy to break through each of these three potential stumbling blocks. And this is the place to find them. So stay tuned.

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