Biggest Growth Challenges in 2020 for EO Members

Posted: February 10, 2020
Category: Growth
Comments: 0

We asked 100's of EO companies what they see as their biggest challenges to growth are in 2020.  Here is how they answered.  The first 4 are what ALL respondents said, the second 4 are what HIGH GROWTH companies (growing over 20% YOY) wrote.

2020 Growth Challenges Overall 

1. Finding the right people and training

A large portion of survey respondents (22%) are worried about finding the right people. They report having a hard time growing teams to include high-quality employees and ensuring that new hires receive the training required to get up to speed quickly. Some expressed frustration with the lack of qualified candidates, and others noted a lack of budget to meet hiring needs.

2. Marketing problems

Marketing challenges were reported by roughly 12% of survey participants. Effectively scaling marketing dollars and figuring out where to allocate resources is an initiative on the minds of companies in 2020. These firms plan to better define target markets and messages in order to determine the best strategies to get — and keep — customers’ attention. Mastering online marketing and growth outside existing markets are also top priorities.

3. Finding new customers

One in 10 companies reported challenges with lead generation and customer acquisition. Challenges include everything from setting up enough new prospect meetings to figuring out how to generate leads online. Firms are also concerned about developing strategies for scaling lead generation and finding the most impactful strategies to help customers find their services.

4. Greater competition in the market

About one in 10 survey respondents reported worry about greater competition in the market. Lower-cost competitors, working in markets with entrenched incumbents and emerging online competitors are a few of the challenges reported. Companies are also challenged by market saturation and the need to break into new markets.

2020 Growth Challenges of High-Growth Firms

The survey isolated the responses of “high-growth firms,” which it defined as companies with at least 20% year-over-year revenue growth.

1. Hiring and HR

Nearly one-third of survey participants reported hiring and human resources as a challenge for 2020. These companies are worried not only about finding people but also about finding qualified and well-trained individuals to fill roles. They also note that training is a consideration, and they need to “train fast” once they find the right person.

2. Lead generation and new business

The No. 2 challenge for high-growth companies in 2020 is reported as generating leads and securing new business. High-growth firms reported they need to have more meetings with prospects in order to figure out how to develop leads in the digital domain. They also want to fine-tune strategies for closing more of those leads.

3. Competition and price pressure

High-growth firms are feeling pressure from current and emerging competitors in the marketplace. One in 10 survey respondents reported this is a top challenge for 2020. Firms report feeling “increased and fierce competition” and saturation in their existing markets.

4. Marketing

Marketing is a major challenge that high-growth firms say they need to overcome in 2020. About 10% of participants reported having difficulty in this area. They plan to get better at using “limited internal resources for sales and marketing,” improving their marketing efficiency and effectively scaling their marketing dollars.


As mentioned before, our next theme will focus on MONEY.  So look for a new survey coming your way but until then more great content on GROWTH is coming your way.

I am excited for us to learn from each other as mentioned, our chapter seeks to increase member-to-member value through curating and creating valuable content that you care about.  GROWTH is the first theme that will be unpacked for the next several months but over the year we will focus on 4 themes GROWTH, SCALING your operations, creating a winning STRATEGY and MONEY.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions!

Drew Goodmanson
EO San Diego Member since 2009