Top Business And Marketing Challenges For Each Business Stage – Which Stage Are You In?

on Blog May 06th, 2024

Every business, big or small, goes through ups and downs. But there are some common business and marketing challenges you will face at different stages. Knowing what is coming can make all the difference.

This article is here to be your guide. We will show you the most common business and marketing challenges at each of the 5 business stages so you can identify where you are and what obstacles you can encounter.

Page Contents

Identify Your Business Stage: Exploring The 5 Different Phases


Business Stages

Understanding which phase you are in right now can help focus on the right challenges and opportunities. Here’s a breakdown of the 5 stages most businesses go through:

Stage 1: Lifestyle

  • Revenue: This stage typically sees annual revenue between $100,000 and $300,000.
  • People: You are likely the owner with one assistant or a key person by your side. It is a small, close-knit team.

Stage 2: Steady Operation

  • Revenue: Revenue starts to climb, typically reaching between $300,000 and $1 million annually.
  • People: You have grown into a small team of 4-10 people.

Stage 3: 7-Figure Business

  • Revenue: Annual revenue typically falls between $1 million and $3 million.
  • People: You have multiple teams – sales, marketing, customer service – each with its leader. Your team size expands to 11-25 people.

Stage 4: Growth Company

  • Revenue: Annual revenue reaches $3 million to $10 million.
  • People: Your team size increases to 26-100 employees. You have a well-defined management team overseeing different departments.

Stage 5: 1 Percenters

  • Revenue: Annual revenue surpasses $10 million.
  • People: Your team size is flexible but typically has over 50 employees. You have a well-established executive team looking over major company functions.

Understanding Business & Marketing Challenges Across 5 Business Stages & How To Overcome Them

Let’s look at the main business and marketing challenges of different business stages. 

1. Business & Marketing Challenges Of Lifestyle Stage + Solutions

Even with a stellar product or service, getting the word out can be difficult in the ‘Lifestyle’ stage. Here are the main reasons.

1.1. Biggest Business Challenge Of Lifestyle Stage: Sales

In the Lifestyle stage, securing the first sales can feel like the biggest mountain to climb. You have a fantastic product but how do you get it into the hands of your target customers? Here’s how to tackle this:

Target The Right Audience

Before you start pitching, identify your ideal customer. Who needs your product or service the most? Research their demographics, interests, and online behavior. This will help you fine-tune your message and get the best results.

Let’s see how this beachwear brand would target the right audience. They feature 32 brands with thousands of products that are as versatile as it is chic. With so many options on the table, it is more important than ever to target the right audience.

For this, they should identify who needs your swimsuits the most. Is it young adults wanting trendy looks for pool parties, or families seeking durable swimwear for vacations? This lets them make a bigger impact on their target audience.

Create An Irresistible Value Proposition


The Process of Creating a Value Proposition


Why should someone choose you over the competition? Clearly list down the unique benefits your product or service offers. Focus on solving a specific problem your ideal customer faces.

Let’s look at this on-demand med spa service that brings treatments straight to your home. Now this is something quite unconventional and innovative. They solve a problem that their customers didn’t even know they had: the hassle of scheduling appointments, fighting traffic, and squeezing in a spa day between work and life.

Their value proposition wouldn’t simply be “We offer facials!”  Instead, they made it irresistible: “Pinch is the med spa that comes to you. Enjoy the VIP experience with treatments by top aesthetic healthcare providers without leaving your home.” 

This clearly outlines the benefits – convenience, privacy, and quality – that would be attractive to their ideal customer. Instead of just solving a problem, they are offering an experience.

Get Out There & Hustle

Network with potential customers, attend industry events, and build relationships. Let people know about your business and what you can do for them. Use social media platforms where your target audience is active.

Networking becomes all the more important for this composite decking board company. Unlike more generalized home improvement products, it caters to a specific audience – homeowners and contractors looking for durable, low-maintenance decking solutions

Now the real issue is many homeowners and contractors are still unfamiliar with composite decking and its advantages over traditional wood decking. This makes it important for the company to actively engage with potential customers and industry professionals.

For this, they should attend home improvement expos and trade shows. Networking with contractors, landscapers, and homeowners associations also increases their reach. Another great way for them would be to offer free consultations or educational workshops about the benefits of composite decking.

Offer Incentives

Offer introductory discounts or free trials to entice customers to take a chance on your business. It is also a great way for businesses that sell not-so-essential items. Let’s take the example of this custom greenhouse kit company. The issue is gardening is a hobby and a passion for many people. For them, investing in a custom greenhouse kit can be a big expense.

Plus, it requires a bit of education and practical experience to fully appreciate this product. So getting people to take that initial leap can be a bit tricky. To help with this, the company can offer a limited-time discount on kits or a free seed starter kit with every purchase

This incentivizes customers to try your product and see the quality and ease of use of your greenhouse kits. 

1.2. Biggest Marketing Challenge Of Lifestyle Stage: Fundamentals

In the early days, your marketing efforts lack a solid base, mainly because of the minimum digital marketing budget. You might not have a website that converts visitors into leads or a clear strategy to attract potential customers. This can make it difficult to generate interest and build momentum.


Here are 3 marketing strategies to strengthen your foundation:

Invest In Website Education

Spend time learning the basics of website creation and management. Explore free online resources and affordable courses on sites like Udemy and Coursera to help you build a user-friendly and informative website. 

Create Quality Content

Blog posts, social media updates, or even short videos – share your expertise to educate potential customers and showcase your brand personality. This builds trust and establishes you as a thought leader in your industry.

Start Building Your Lead Flow

Start capturing leads through contact forms on your website, email signups for newsletters, or business cards at networking events. Even a small list can be a goldmine for targeted communication later.

2. Business & Marketing Challenges & Solutions Of Steady Operation Stage + Solutions

Your business is gaining traction but new challenges arise. Let’s see why it can be tricky.

2.1. Biggest Business Challenge Of Steady Operation Stage: Marketing & Service Delivery

As your business expands, reaching a wider audience requires more sophisticated marketing efforts. This can eat into your limited resources. When the number of customers starts to grow, fulfilling orders and providing excellent service can become even more challenging. Maintaining quality while scaling up can feel like a constant battle.

Here’s how you can tackle these issues:

Streamline & Systematize

Easy Ways to Streamline Your Business Processes

Take a step back and analyze your current operations. Look for ways to streamline processes and tasks, especially in service delivery. Prioritize them based on their importance. Implement systems and tools to manage workflow, customer interactions, and inventory. 

Let’s look at this company selling bariatric multivitamins. The issue is the products they offer are specialized and perishable. Because of the limited product lifespan, they have to carefully monitor stock levels and rotation.

To resolve this, they can invest in inventory management software like Zoho Inventory or NetSuite instead of manually checking stock levels every day. 

Plus, these products require special guidance from experts. So the company can also develop a knowledge base with FAQs and troubleshooting guides. This will help customers find answers on their own and reduce the load on your support team.

Delegate & Empower

You can’t do it all anymore. Delegate tasks to your growing team and empower them to take ownership. Invest in training and development to ensure your team has the skills to deliver exceptional service consistently.

For instance, a software development company could assign a dedicated project manager for each client. This person becomes the point of contact that handles communication and keeps projects on track. They can also offer coding boot camps or online courses to help developers stay up-to-date on the latest technologies.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Data is your friend. Use customer data and sales metrics to identify your most profitable customer segments and marketing channels. With this data, you can decide where to allocate your marketing budget and resources for maximum impact.

For example, an eCommerce company can use customer data to identify which products have the highest profit margins. Then, they can focus their marketing efforts on those products. 

To optimize the pricing strategy, the company can also use sales data to see which marketing channels generate the most sales. They could also use tools like Aura to help them automatically adjust their prices

Another important strategy for them is to sell on multiple platforms. Using data, they can explore other marketplaces and social media channels to reach a wider audience. The key here is to diversify their sales channels.

2.2. Biggest Marketing Challenge Of Steady Operation Stage: Lead Generation

Keeping the momentum going requires a steady flow of high-quality leads. Marketing tactics that worked when you were small might not be enough now

You might not have a dedicated marketing team yet or your budget might be tight. Allocating 8-15% of your revenue to digital marketing is typical at this stage but that might not feel like a lot. If you rely solely on 1 channel to generate leads (which normally companies at this stage do), you are setting yourself up for trouble.


Here’s how you can overcome this challenge:

Use All Mediums

Explore social media advertising, content marketing (blog posts, infographics), search engine optimization (SEO), or even email marketing. Each channel caters to a different audience and lets you showcase your expertise and generate leads. Let’s see in detail.

  • Social Media Advertising: Reaches a broad audience based on demographics (age, location, interests) and behaviors
  • Content Marketing: Targets people already interested in the topic you are writing about.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Gets you noticed by people actively searching for your product, service, or related information.
  • Email Marketing: Connects directly with a pre-interested audience who has already opted-in to receive your emails
Content Is King

Benefits of Content Marketing


People are looking for valuable information before they buy. So create high-quality content that educates and solves your target audience’s problems

Content marketing challenges are real but this doesn’t have to be a solitary struggle. Platforms like Genius can connect you with the top 1% of content writers who will craft content that speaks directly to your customers. Their rigorous selection process ensures you receive exceptional quality

Don’t just limit yourself to text. Customized videos are the most effective way to get your audience’s attention. The best part is services like Vidpros make videos accessible to all. They assemble a team of professional video experts who will take care of everything for you and deliver a polished and engaging final product.

Nurture Relationships, Not Just Leads

Don’t treat leads like numbers. Personalize your communication. Tailor your content and messaging to each audience segment. Respond promptly to inquiries and nurture relationships to turn leads into loyal customers.

3. Business & Marketing Challenges & Solutions Of 7-Figure Business Stage + Solutions

Bigger isn’t always easier. Here are the major hurdles of this stage:

3.1. Biggest Business Challenge Of 7-Figure Business Stage: People & Systems

You have grown from a small, close-knit group to multiple teams with dedicated leaders. Keeping everyone on the same page and motivated can be challenging. The systems that worked well when you were smaller are not efficient for a larger team.

Shifting from a “do it yourself” mentality to delegating tasks and trusting your team requires a mindset change. You need to focus on strategy and leadership, not daily operations. But there are business solutions to handle these growing pains:

Standardize & Document

Develop clear processes for core business activities across all departments to ensure consistency and reduce errors. Documenting these processes in a central location like a shared drive or a cloud-based platform makes them easily accessible to everyone.

Let’s take an industrial machinery company, for instance. They should document the entire order fulfillment process, from the moment they send a quotation to when the machine is delivered and installed. Details like quality checks, shipping protocols, and even a troubleshooting guide for common installation issues should be included.

This way, everyone involved – sales reps, production staff, and even the installation team – knows exactly what to do at each stage, making the entire process efficient and transparent.

Prioritize Communication

Hold regular team meetings to discuss goals, challenges, and progress. Encourage open communication and information sharing across all departments. Use communication tools like Slack and Zoom to keep everyone informed and aligned.

3.2. Biggest Marketing Challenge Of 7-Figure Business Stage: Building A Multi-Channel Customer Community For More Leads

At this stage, your digital marketing budget could be around 5% to 8% of your total revenue. But simply generating leads isn’t enough anymore. You need loyal brand advocates who spread the word and keep your sales team busy.

Only concentrating on getting new leads is like running in circles forever. Building a loyal community can turn first-time buyers into regulars. Their happy experiences and recommendations can be incredibly persuasive. However, you have to be highly organized to manage multiple marketing channels.


Here are the ways to make it happen:

Cultivate 2-Way Communication

To create a sense of belonging and make your customers feel valued:

  • Spark Conversations and engage with your community.
  • Respond to Comments, answer questions promptly, and address concerns.
  • Encourage Discussions and user-generated content.
Invest In Your Marketing Team

Building a multi-channel community requires skilled marketing teams. Invest in training marketing team members on the latest social media strategies, community management best practices, and content creation techniques so they can interact effectively and nurture relationships with your customer base.

Use A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System


Benefit of CRM

A CRM system helps you track customer interactions across all channels, personalize communication, and identify potential leads within your existing community. When you understand your audience better using this marketing automation, you can customize your marketing strategy better.

4. Business & Marketing Challenges & Solutions Of Growth Company Stage + Solutions

Leading a larger company comes with its own challenges. Let’s take a look.

4.1. Biggest Business Challenge Of Growth Company Stage: Leadership & Culture

You now hit the big leagues – a multi-million dollar business. But the leadership style that propelled you to this point might not be enough for a much larger company. As your team expands, the core values and mission that once united everyone might get lost in the shuffle.

Competition for top talent is fierce at this stage. You need to create a work environment that attracts and retains high performers. Plus, new hires might not understand your values, and keeping them in sync can be a challenge.

Here are ways to overcome these leadership and culture hurdles:

Invest In Leadership Development

Seek out leadership training or coaching programs like the John Maxwell Team and Dale Carnegie Course for yourself and your managers. Build strong leadership skills because they help you delegate tasks, keep your team motivated, and make smart strategic decisions.

Articulate Your Culture

Clearly define your company culture and values. This could be a mission statement, core values, or a set of guiding principles. Develop a culture handbook or employee onboarding program. This helps everyone understand what makes your business unique. 

Communicate these values consistently through company-wide initiatives and employee recognition programs.

Build A Feedback Loop

Conduct regular employee surveys and hold open forums for discussion. When you understand your team’s needs and concerns, you can address potential issues. This creates a work environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

4.2. Biggest Marketing Challenge Of Growth Company Stage: Omnichannel Strategy & Sales Funnel

At this stage, your digital marketing budget might be around 4% to 5% of your total revenue. But a leaky sales funnel and a disjointed presence in digital space can seriously hold you back. 

Customers today bounce between devices and channels. They might discover you on social media, research on your website, and finally buy through your mobile app. A fragmented sales funnel with gaps between channels leaves them confused and frustrated.

Also, a single channel can’t capture every lead. An omnichannel strategy helps you connect with your target audience at every stage of their buying journey.


Here’s how you can build a winning omnichannel sales funnel:

Map The Customer Journey

Customer Journey Map Planning

Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes. Understand how they interact with your brand across different channels. This customer journey map becomes the blueprint for your omnichannel strategy.

Personalization Is Power

Gone are the days of generic marketing blasts. Use data and analytics to personalize your communication. Recommend relevant products or services based on past interactions. This will create a more engaging experience and increase conversion rates.

Leverage Marketing Automation

Ensure all your marketing channels – website, social media platforms, email marketing – work together. Data should flow freely between them. This lets you track customer behavior across touchpoints and optimize your campaigns.

5. Business & Marketing Challenges & Solutions Of 1 Percenters Stage + Solutions

You have reached the top but to stay there, you have to be vigilant. Let’s discuss the key challenges of this stage.

5.1. Biggest Business Challenges Of 1 Percenters Stage: Market Share

With your success, competition intensifies. Established players and innovative startups will be gunning for your market share. Customers crave the latest and greatest and failing to innovate can leave you vulnerable. Plus, competition isn’t just local anymore. The rise of globalization means you will be facing competitors from all over the world.


Let’s see how you can protect your market share:

Double Down On Innovation

To stay ahead of the competition:

  • Dedicate resources to research and development
  • Continuously innovate and improve your products or services 
  • Explore emerging technologies and market trends to identify new opportunities
Strategic Acquisitions

Consider acquiring smaller, innovative companies that complement your offers. This can be a fast track to acquiring new technologies, talent, and market reach. 

However, identifying the right targets can be a challenge. To streamline this process, explore vetted businesses for sale on online marketplaces like Australian Business For Sale that specialize in business acquisitions. While these platforms have a regional focus, many established ones target international acquirers

Empower For Agility

Decentralize decision-making and empower your teams to act quickly. Give them the resources and authority to respond to market shifts and capitalize on new opportunities. Break down silos between departments for collaboration and information sharing.

5.2. Biggest Marketing Challenges Of 1 Percenters Stage: Become A Market Leader

You have reached the pinnacle but the competition is fierce. While your digital marketing budget could be around 3% to 5% of your sales, simply throwing money at the problem won’t guarantee market leadership.

You have to be highly strategic for this. Once you become a market leader, customers actively seek you out. You set industry trends and influence purchasing decisions. This brand power means higher sales margins and a loyal customer base. 


Here’s how you can achieve market dominance. 

Hyper-Personalization Is The Way Forward


Focus isn’t everything but focused marketing is. Analyze your customer data to identify high-value segments. Then tailor your marketing messages to their specific needs and desires. Start these campaigns at the right time through the right channels. This will convert more leads and increase your marketing ROI.

Embrace Disruptive Marketing

Don’t be afraid to break the mold. Launch unconventional marketing campaigns that surprise and engage your audience. Explore guerilla marketing tactics or create social media challenges that go viral. Remember, calculated disruption can grab attention and propel you ahead of the competition.

Influencer Marketing With A Twist

Partner with relevant influencers but go beyond traditional endorsements. Collaborate on co-created content, limited-edition product lines, or exclusive experiences. This way, you can leverage the influencer’s reach and authenticity to connect with their audience.

How Can FANNIT Help With Marketing Challenges Of All 5 Business Stages

FANNIT - The Marketing Agency Who Cares Like an Owner

FANNIT is a valuable partner for businesses at all stages of growth, from the early stages of building brand awareness to the challenges of maintaining market share as a leader. Here’s how our expertise aligns with the challenges you face throughout your business journey:

  • FANNIT’s SEO specialists can work their magic to improve your website’s ranking in search results. Keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building will help you boost your search ranking.
  • FANNIT can help you develop a solid content marketing strategy. This includes blog posts, articles, infographics, or even videos for your target audience. 
  • FANNIT helps establish a strong social media presence on relevant platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We create engaging content, manage your social media channels, and interact with your audience.
  • We use data-driven marketing strategies for monitoring and analyzing campaign performance. This includes website traffic, conversion rates, and engagement on social media. With clear data visualization, we can show you what is working and what needs improvement.
  • We can design and manage targeted PPC campaigns across platforms like Google Ads or social media advertising. This will help you can reach a specific audience based on demographics, interests, and online behavior.  
  • Our company can design and implement email marketing campaigns to nurture leads and build customer loyalty.
  • We can develop and execute online reputation management strategies to generate positive media coverage and enhance brand reputation.
  • FANNIT can analyze user behavior on your website and identify opportunities to improve conversion rates.


Business and marketing challenges will change as your business grows. What keeps you up at night during the startup phase might not be a concern once you are established. All these challenges are predictable, and with careful planning and strategies that we discussed, you can overcome them.

FANNIT is a full-service digital marketing agency that guides businesses through every stage of growth. Our team of experts will help you overcome your unique challenges and achieve your marketing goals. Schedule a free consultation or request a proposal today to learn how FANNIT can empower your business to thrive at any stage.

Author Bio:

Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement modern SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?

  • Author picture: Here
  • Gravatar:

Tony Lael

I work with entrepreneurs, marketing and sales executives to help them realize the true potential of their business or group - it's about creating a marketing and sales system. Inside of Fannit, I help guide our team to build out our own systems through standard operating procedures and am responsible for revenue growth. I believe it’s important to bring joy and a splash of humor to your work, and always give my top level of attention and effort. Connect with me on LinkedIn >