Startup Tip 37: How to spot your 3 best opportunities for business growth

Our biggest challenges are our best opportunities for business growth

business growthIt’s one of the quirks of our human nature that we tend to skirt around our biggest issues. Our biggest challenges are, by definition, the most challenging and hardest to solve. That’s why we tend to avoid them rather than do them first, because they are emotionally harder and take more effort.

We like to try and pretend they are not there – until life and our circumstances force us to pay attention.

My suggestion today, is not to wait until your hand is forced. Be proactive and make it a priority to solve your biggest challenges first.

Working on the biggest challenges in our business (and life) makes rational sense because they are the biggest obstacles to us moving forward and we are going to have to tackle them sooner or later anyway.

The upside is they are also our biggest opportunities for business growth.

Everything else suffers when you don’t tackle your biggest challenges

To illustrate this, I want to share with you a few examples from my own life.

I have been living with a serious chronic health condition since I was fifteen. For most of my life up till now, my strategy has been to ignore it and hope it would go away. I achieved a lot with this strategy, but it was through sheer bloody mindedness and I was just surviving, physically and emotionally.

Last year, I (finally) saw that nothing else in my life was really working the way it should because of my ill health. My family, work, social relationships – everything suffered. I knew there were some people who had recovered from this illness despite the doctors’ prognosis and I determined that I would find what I needed to know and do whatever it took to get well.

Since then, I have taken action and have made it a priority to focus on my health. I am about 300% better than before which is awesome. And, as an unintended side effect, I am seeing business growth. Other things in my life, like this blog, are gaining momentum because the health obstacle is now so much smaller than it was.

A confession – I am still learning this lesson

Last month, I set three goals for my work. They represented  the three challenges I needed to solve to move forward and grow the business:

  1. To invite some other experts to contribute to 365 Startup Tips
  2. To finish the opportunity evaluation for a new startup I am working on
  3. To do a quote for someone who wants me to research and write an investment memorandum and business plan for them.

My plan was to have them done in a week. It’s a month later. They are still not done. I have accomplished lots of other stuff in the last month, but not these three most important things.

Why not? I planned, I identified the tasks, but I failed to schedule them and set a deadline. In other words, I allowed myself to procrasinate. And life happened.

Here are my new strategies

  • Just do it.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration
  • Set a deadline and force yourself to stick to it.
  • Don’t do anything else till these things are done.
  • To keep in mind the reasons why these things are important.

In other words, be really disciplined.

By the next time you read a new post from me, these three goals will have been blitzed and I am sure I will be seeing business growth because of it!

Action: Identify and solve your biggest challenges to unlock business growth

First of all, in your life:

Is there anything happening that is affecting multiple areas of your life and that you need to deal with?

It could be your health, a relationship that is not working, your finances,  one of your kids who need your attention because they are going through a challenge themselves. Is it simply that you don’t believe in yourself and what you are doing?  What can you do to deal with it?

Even if you don’t know, determine to make it a priority until you can see a way through.

Secondly, in your business:

What are the three things you could do that would impact your business the most?

Make a plan to get them done, schedule them into your diary and get started. If you like, use the comments to tell us what they are and make yourself accountable. We’ll be supportive. 🙂

Further Reading:

I found this post by Darren Rowse inspiring. It’s about how he turned his blog into a business in 6 months, because he had a very compelling reason to solve his biggest challenge – no income.

Join the Conversation

Have your say in the comments – or use them to create a little bit of extra motivation and accountability to get your action task for today done.

And I would love you to join me on Facebook  or Twitter.

Image used under Creative Commons license courtesy of  Tomasz Stasiuk


  1. james says:

    great stuff, needed to hear it. I lack an income too and it is a really big problem my side. and also I lack focus in God. Those are my biggest challenges. I want to change that, focus on them. thanks a lot. keep you posted

    • Thanks for being honest James. You are in a positive place, even though it may not feel like it right now – you know what you need to change and you want to change it. All the best my friend.

  2. Great read I read myself into your planning insight .
    I also have an awful habit of procrastination but when I do finally finish a task maybe days after I set the deadline I have a real sense of achievement but then I beat myself up because if I had not put it off in the first place so much more would have been accomplished grrrrrr reading your post highlights I’m not alone thank you

  3. I’d like to share my top three must-dos this year:

    1. actively reach out to media and bloggers
    2. find one or more suitable mentors
    3. actively seek consignment opportunities

    I have a timeline and allocated time for each of the above. This helps me to stay focused on working on the most important aspects of my start-up.

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