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This article was written by Larry Alton from Small Business Trends
Most business owners want to invest in their business to help it grow. In the early days, you might experience exponential growth; people are finding out about your business for the first time, they’re having great initial experiences, and the novelty of your brand is still fresh enough to help it spread.
This is both exciting and reassuring, opening up new streams of revenue while justifying the existence of your business model.
But what happens when this growth hits a plateau?
Fortunately, there are plenty of small business growth strategies you can use to jumpstart your business back to life and restore the momentum of your growth.
Has your business stagnated?
First, assess whether your business has actually stagnated in growth. Most businesses go through cycles of activity, including busy periods and slow periods. They also tend to fluctuate in line with economic conditions; if the broader economy is going through a recession, it’s only natural that you’d see a slight decrease in sales or eliminate growth.
You can tell that your business has hit a plateau if you experience a flattening in sales for longer than six months, or if you’re seeing halted momentum in a number of different areas. This isn’t a hard rule, since different industries have different growth rates and different paths to expansion, but it’s still important to have a long-term mentality when considering your business’s growth.
Tactics to try
So what tactics can you try if your business growth has totally stagnated?
- Set the right goals (and expectations). Take a look at your current goals and expectations, and be willing to reset them. There’s a chance that your perceived stagnation is only the result of poor expectations, supported by a goal that never made sense for your business in the first place. How fast should you be growing, exactly? And keep in mind that if your business grows too fast, that can also be a problem. With better goals and expectations in place, your plateau may no longer look as intimidating.
- Get outside perspective. Try to get some outside perspective on your business. Depending on your access to resources and how long you’ve been in business, that could mean talking to a mentor, hiring a consultant, or just getting some fresh people on the team. Outside observers will be able to provide a more unbiased take on how your business works and what it could be missing.
- Change up the leadership. Businesses are strongly dependent on leadership to drive growth and support operations. If things aren’t going your way, consider changing up the leadership. That could mean hiring new people to serve as managers and directors, or it could simply mean changing the perspectives and attitudes of the leaders you already have in place. In any case, change is a practical requirement if you want your business to get back on its feet.
- Focus on innovation. Even a single, prominent innovation could be enough to spark new life and new growth into your business. Make sure you make innovation a focal point for your business; encourage your staff members to come up with new ideas on a regular basis, and direct plenty of funding for the research and development of new products and services.
- Analyze your competitors. If you’re suffering from slow growth, take a look at your competition. If you notice that all of your competitors are struggling in the same way, this could be an industry-wide problem. If there’s one competitor who seems to be thriving in this environment, try to figure out what they’re doing differently. Copying your competitors may not be the correct approach, but at the very least, you can learn something from them.
- Ask your customers for advice. Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so ask them what they think about it. Are they happy with the services and products they’ve received? Is there more that your business could be doing for them?
- Get to a new market. You can also try to kickstart your business’s growth by getting into a new market. For example, you could try to reach a different demographic with a fresh line of products, or you could physically expand to a new geographic area.
- Periodically reassess. Take the time to reassess your goals and your progress toward those goals. Things change quickly in the business world, so you have to remain adaptable.
These tactics may not be able to pull your business out of stagnation immediately, and some of them may not be a good fit for your brand in particular. But as long as you keep experimenting and pushing your business forward, you should be able to restore and reinvigorate the momentum that led you here.
Image: Depositphotos. This article was written by Larry Alton from Small Business Trends and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].
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