As a purpose-driven small business owner, we usually have something that keeps us up at night. We want to make an impact with our business and have a million ideas we want to implement. Of course, most of those ideas come to us in the middle of the night when the actual operational tasks don't occupy our minds.
As a solopreneur, I wear all the hats and have a never-ending to-do list. I wake up in the middle of the night with new ideas (or while driving or exercising). I have been bombarded with information and ideas on how to grow my business, and I want to do it all at once.
However, when we try to do all the things at once, it becomes difficult to address our challenges successfully. We will make a much more significant impact by identifying our business pains, prioritizing them, and focusing on 1-3 at a time. Read on to find out how to decide what pains you should address and how to begin progressing.
What is a business pain?
In business, "business pain" refers to a significant and persistent challenge, problem, or difficulty that a company or business owner experiences. These pains can impede the smooth operation of the business, limit growth, and negatively impact its overall performance. Identifying and addressing your business pains is crucial for the success and sustainability of your company. Some examples of common business pains of small business owners include:
Overwhelm and Stress: We often wear multiple hats, from marketing to operations, which can lead to overwhelming workloads and stress.
Unclear Strategies: We may need a clear strategic plan or struggle with executing our plans effectively, which limits our ability to achieve our long-term goals.
Time Management: Our time is limited, and we need help to use our time effectively to achieve our objectives.
Adapting to Change: We may need help to stay up to date with trends like AI or specific industry trends.
Leadership Challenges: As a team leader, we may need help with leadership skills, team management, and decision-making.
Work-Life Balance: Balancing work commitments with personal life is a constant struggle because we feel like we are constantly working, which can lead to burnout.
Networking and Building Trust: We may need help building a solid network, and establishing trust with potential customers can be challenging.
Resource Constraints: Limited budgets and resources can make it difficult for us to invest in training, tools, and marketing efforts to grow our businesses.
Measuring Impact: We are passionate about making a difference in our communities, but we may need help to measure and communicate the impact of our work.
Now that you know possible business pains, set a timer and conduct a brain dump of pains you are currently experiencing in your business.
Top Tip: If pains keep you up at night, schedule a 'worry time' every night to write down all these thoughts. It will release the thoughts from your brain and help you sleep better because you won't try to remember them if you know they are written down.
How to prioritize pain points for action
Small business owners often face multiple challenges. You may have a hefty list of pain points now, but it won't be easy to make progress on them if you try to tack all of them at once, so let's narrow down which ones to focus on.
1. Use Data to define your most pressing pain points
Research which pains could make the most significant impact on your goals if you were to address them. Some ways you can gather some data:
SWOT Analysis: Complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
Data Review: Identify trends or patterns that could indicate areas of improvement or challenges. If you need data or performance metrics, that might be a pain to address. Think about what you can track and how you will track it.
Feedback from Beneficiaries: Gather input from the community you serve. Insights from your clients can highlight pain points that might not be immediately apparent to you.
Validation through Research: You could research to help you discover pain points or blockages common in situations like yours.
Goal Alignment: Find the pains that are blocking your overarching goals.
2. Consider what is at risk if you do nothing
Hopefully, you have narrowed your list down, but you could still have several items. Next, consider the cost of not addressing this problem. What would be the risk to your business? Which issues would be the most costly to your business if you do not address them? By thinking through the consequences, you may see your most pressing business pain more clearly.
For example, you may consider that you have missed deadlines and lost customers because you cannot effectively manage your time. You know that is damaging your reputation and will have long-term implications for your business. Recognizing the consequences to your business of your ineffective time management stresses the importance of learning some strategies to manage projects and client requests so you can build your reputation and complete more client work.
3. Finally, Focus on a pain that will either give the most significant impact or the quickest win!
The key is to move forward and take action. If there is something simple you can do today, start there. The immediate success will help provide momentum to face your other challenges. For example, a quick change could be outsourcing some of your processes like marketing, accounting, web maintenance, etc. or buying new software to ease your processes.
On the other hand, if you have a pain that is so large it is blocking all progress, you must start there. Think of the next action you can take and accomplish within the next 3 months, and start there. For example, suppose you don't have a sound system to track your customers' journey, and you aren't able to keep the customers you have. In that case, you know that needs addressing immediately.
Make a plan to implement your solution
Download my personalized learning guide to identify what pains you need to address and develop an actionable plan to learn how to overcome your challenge.