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5 Business Pain Points Hurting Your Bottom Line

By Liz Froment, Contributor | February 20, 2020

Running an elite college football program isn't easy. Coaches serve as CEOs who need to manage everything from organizational culture, to player data, to building a team that can compete. Yet, there are always pain points. And missing or ignoring them can derail the season.

The same is true with businesses.

Every business goes through ups and downs. What separates the most successful companies from those that struggle is zeroing in on business pain points that directly impact the bottom line. Problem-solving means taking a hard look at the big picture, developing a plan, and making the necessary changes.

Here are five of the most common pain points that businesses need to address and how they connect to each other in unexpected ways.

Pain Point 1: Corporate Culture

In college football, having the right culture in a program can make all the difference. There's a reason why a handful of teams are consistently competing for the national championship each year, while others struggle to make their way up the rankings. Organizational culture plays a big part.

Culture also matters in the corporate world—and it starts at the top. Company executives need to set the stage for a healthy organizational culture. Otherwise, problems trickle down to every part of the business.

A negative culture can also impact both hiring and retention. Deloitte's Industry 4.0 Annual Survey found that 28% of executives prioritize attracting and retaining the right talent. The survey also noted that 74% of executives cite training and developing their workforce as priorities for organizational investment with Industry 4.0 and other initiatives.

Many executives take the right steps to avoid potential corporate culture pain points, including:

  • Encouraging an atmosphere of excitement and innovation.
  • Helping employees build new skills that can directly impact future growth.
  • Understanding the skills and tools that can help focus the company on the future.

One sign of a healthy corporate culture is a devotion of time and resources to developing the right talent to both fit the organization's overall goals and help the business grow in the long run.

Pain Point 2: Organizational Confusion

College football teams rely on organizational structures. Managing teams upwards of 100 players—plus dozens of coaches, trainers, and support staff—means everyone must have a well-defined role. Any hiccup in the chain of command can cause a break in communications that delay execution, cause confusion, and slow progress.

Unfortunately, for many businesses, organizational confusion and chaos are common. A non-structured approach can lead to inefficiencies, poor strategy, and decision-making issues.

Work from Bain & Company found that companies with low performance often struggle with issues that weaken their overall execution. Many challenges lie with organizational confusion, including strategies that are not aligned to company goals, complex decision-making processes, and competing priorities.

You can take action to help solve organizational confusion:

  • Look at the company's overall decision-making structure, see where there are bottlenecks and how to reduce or remove them.
  • Think about how your current framework impacts agility. Is your company losing ground to competitors because complex processes are weighing you down?
  • See if all stakeholders align with the overall business goals and strategies. Make sure everyone is on the same page for moving the business forward.

Companies need to take a hard look at organizational structure and fix it by examining the current system and identifying areas for improvement.

Pain Point 3: Siloed Data

The best football teams are those that get separate groups to work together in harmony. A big part of achieving that is successful collaboration. Coaches and players don't keep data to themselves. They share it to ensure everyone is working with the same information.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are several common problems with siloed data. Of primary concern is a negative impact on communication, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and innovation.

When important data isn't accessible by everyone to make informed decisions and streamline processes, your entire business can get stuck in a rut.

This situation is a perfect opportunity to explore the benefits of transparency and real-time data in cloud technology.

  • It provides access to key stakeholders quickly. Any new data added to the system is updated automatically for the best real-time information.
  • Cloud systems can also hold all your data in one place. It removes version control issues and inefficient searches for the correct spreadsheet. It's all right there in the cloud for anyone to access.
  • Having real-time data means more agility, which improves decision making for significant strategic initiatives.

The most effective businesses don't restrict data across the company. With the right tools and approach, organizations can ensure information is shared with key employees and groups when they need it.

Pain Point 4: Poor Messaging

College football has a passionate fan following. Programs, coaches, and players find themselves the topic of discussions around dinner tables all over America during the season. Successful programs tap into this passion and create marketing and messaging campaigns around it—often to great success.

Businesses need to do the same. But, many companies get stuck when it comes to delivering the right messages to their customers.

According to research from Forrester, 47% of brands surveyed say customer needs drove their marketing messages. Likewise, only 40% of companies prioritize solving customer pains over promoting products.

An approach that doesn't create the right message can directly impact the bottom line in a few ways:

  • Poor messages can directly relate to a loss of sales by not resonating with target audiences.
  • A marketing team that can't access sales data to see what's driving activity will be hard pressed to craft the right message. It's another consequence of siloed data.
  • Competing brands, even those with an inferior product, can scoop up competitors with better messages that speak to customer needs and pains.

Marketing is often about the message. The best organizations have systems in place to ensure that the right information goes into crafting that message.

Pain Point 5: Ignoring Innovation

Innovation has taken the world of sports by storm—and college football is no exception. Today's top programs are key proponents of technology and innovation. When a winning season can come down to moving the ball a matter of inches, competitive advantage makes a difference.

Digital transformation isn't something to ignore. The 2019 Epicor Global Growth Index survey found businesses that perform best are those that embrace technology and focus on integrating systems and processes into overall strategy.

Here are some ways embracing innovation can improve your business:

  • Innovation is a key driver of growth. You want to have the ability to remain flexible and adapt quickly to change.
  • Organizations are often able to stand out from the competition by creating dedicated project teams focused on driving innovation with new thinking and processes.
  • A culture that embraces innovation can drive better employee training and skill development, which benefits your company.

Organizations that embrace innovation and technology are a step ahead. They're often better at making decisions, more agile, and have access to data at any time.

The Bottom Line

In football and business, it's all about preparation, focus, and taking a hard look at potential problems—or becoming aware of your blind spots by welcoming open, honest communication. There will always be pain points that threaten your business. Don't turn a blind eye and hope for the best.

Develop a strategy to address and reduce your pain points. For college football teams, the reward is playing and winning in a bowl game. For you, it inspires a disciplined approach to winning—and beating your competition.

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