Three Barriers to Business Growth and What to Do About Them

Keeping up with the pace of growth, or searching for ways to grow your business is a challenge. In the first case, keeping up with the pace of growth, people, processes, and systems that worked yesterday may cause problems today. While this is a problem bred from prosperity – your business is growing – it is still a problem.

In the second case, searching for growth, you may have a growth strategy, but you struggle to execute consistently against the strategy. Again, the cause can be people, process, or system, or some combination. Worse, you don’t have a growth strategy, and the business is adrift in a sea of opportunity with no ability to navigate.

Broken systems and processes, or people performing in the wrong roles can have a negative effect on customers, employees, and the bottom line if left unresolved. The remainder of this article discusses three barriers to business growth, and then discusses an approach to addressing the challenge.


Lack of Management Control

What if you could spend your time on things that would achieve your long-term vision for the company? Is there a long-term vision for the company? A business owner or management team that is “down in the weeds” on the details of every business transaction out of necessity to keep the business running is not controlling the business. The business is controlling them. Your management team should focus on delivering results that align with the business vision and strategic plan and empower the employees to manage the details. If you cannot let go of the daily details, you need to consider a new approach or business growth will suffer.

People Performance

Objectives are set, directions are communicated, yet nothing seems to get accomplished. Employees fail to act on the directions to achieve the objective. If this is the case in your business, it’s likely that employees are not held accountable for achieving objectives. Are objectives tracked on a regular basis to measure which ones are achieved and which ones are not? Do employees feel they own the objectives and are responsible for achieving them? If you are experiencing people performance problems in your business, growing the business will be a struggle.

Hit the Ceiling

You realized some success in your business, but you hit a ceiling and struggle to grow. You make progress one quarter only to give it back the next. Everyone is working hard yet achieving sustainable results remains elusive. Assuming this is not the typical cyclical nature of your business, it’s likely that some combination of people, processes, and systems is keeping you from achieving sustainable results.


Fortunately, there is a pragmatic, disciplined approach to improved business growth that involves long recognized best business practices and a framework to implement, monitor, and measure your progress. These practices and frameworks are referred to as management operating systems. Implementing a recognized and proven management operating system can be the remedy for lackluster business growth that has lasting effects. Making the decision to implement a management operating system in your business is a strategic decision and should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.

A management operating system implementation typically involves setting and communicating the company vision, values, and goals to the entire organization on a regular and cadenced basis. Is your management team well informed on the business vision, values, and goals? This exercise may open your eyes to one of the initial barriers to business growth. Implementing a management operating system also involves the development of metrics to measure your progress towards the goals.

Another phase of an implementation involves evaluating people in the organization as they relate to the vision, values, and goals. You will make an honest evaluation of your employees and the roles they are filling to get the right people in the right roles to realize the goals and vision. This can lead to some tough, and in some cases, necessary, but uncomfortable decisions regarding personnel.

In the process of implementing a management operating system, you will define the structure and timing for tracking and resolving issues. In addition, you will assign and track action items to knock down the barriers to achieving the objectives, and realizing the vision.

Operating within the framework of a management operating system involves a cadenced review of the vision and goals by the management team. It also involves the timely review of issues and action items impeding progress in achieving your objectives and overall business performance.

On the surface, it is easy to look at one of these systems and think that implementation will be easy. Many companies choose to implement a system themselves while others seek the help of an experienced business executive to guide them through the process and hold the management team accountable. Implementation involves following the processes and using the tools defined in the framework which will be new to your organization. There are organizational alignment and organization change dynamics to an implementation as well.  If you are seeking growth and sustainable results in your business, consider implementing a management operating system.


Jack Drahus has been the founder or co-founder of four start-ups.  He has also held executive management positions in venture capital funded startups and played an active lead role in multiple mergers and acquisitions.  He has P&L experience in privately held, venture funded, and publicly traded companies.  He has been recognized by his clients and piers as a consummate professional that operates with a high degree of integrity.