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What is the biggest impediment to growth that your business faces?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: What is the biggest impediment to growth that your business faces?

  • Our products aren’t strong enough: 14.73%
  • Our competitors are too tough: 10.48%
  • Our markets are limited: 24.36%
  • We lack the ability to sell and grow: 23.8%
  • Our customers’ businesses are struggling: 26.63%

Sales and marketing are struggling. Limited markets, limited skills and struggling customers create a perfect storm for stagnant growth. Clearly, most of you find your products are strong and you’re better than your competitors, so the growth challenge poses an interesting question: how to get your great, competitor-beating products in the hands of new customers and existing customers who face challenges. My suggestion is to give away your products and services. It makes for an easy sale, easy trial and — if as you say — your products are really solid, you should start converting those trials into ongoing customers.┬áSure, giving things away is counterintuitive, but it might give your growth prospects the jolt they need.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”