Your business growth stalled. You’ve suddenly reached a growth plateau in your business. You’ve noticed little changes in your cash flow, sales and revenue, customer acquisition, employee hiring and on-boarding.
What should you do to reignite growth?
Why Businesses Tend to Plateau
First, acknowledge your frustration. You haven’t implemented any operational changes, yet you’re not reaching the level of revenue consistency you’ve experienced for years. Right now, growth is flat, and you’re frustrated. Own it.
Then, you can accept your business plateau challenge—and explore its potential causes:
- Business Model
- Lack of People
- Your Market is Saturated
- Your Marketing Strategy is Dated
Let’s explore them a little further below. Keep in mind though; your established business goes through four lifecycle stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. And, before exploring causes, you might find it helpful to identify your current industry lifecycle stage.
1. Business Model
One possible cause of a growth plateau is business model design. If your business model isn’t designed to scale, then you’re likely to face stall-points. To face a revenue decline.
Remember, your marketplace is always evolving due to:
- Changing customer demographics, needs, and preferences
- Competitor strengths and weaknesses
- Economic, global, and social factors
- Technological innovations
For your business to remain competitive, your business model must be expanded—or improved— to keep up with the needs of your customer through the implementation (or reassessment) of:
- Your customer value proposition
- Your operational and managerial processes
- Your financial, human, intellectual, and physical resources
2. Lack of People
A 2015 Brother International Small Business Survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that “35 percent of [of small business owners] would like to stop taking on so many roles and responsibilities.”
It’s safe to say, replacing or expanding your team of employees is critical. Without hiring and on-boarding the right employees—responsible employees with the skills and expertise to help you level up, though, you risk the loss of productivity, money, time, and efficiency.
The right number of employees is also essential. When you unnecessarily over-staff, then you increase your overhead costs for no reason. When you under-staff, on the other hand, but need more people, then you experience resource constraints. What are the effects of these limitations? A bad customer service experience, which, in turn, can affect your growth.
You need money to grow and scale your business. In other words, you need cash coming in to:
- Market and generate sales
- Pay monthly debts and expenses
- Purchase (automated) processes and resources to better serve your clients and customers
- Cover business emergencies
Without it, you’re prone to business growth limitations. You won’t have the finances needed to hire more team members and invest in more resources.
4. Your Market is Saturated
Saturation can result from market competition and over-expansion. And, it comes with a disadvantage: an eventual decline in generated business results.
It’s a challenge to stay focused, relevant, and competitive in a saturated market. But, as a company with at least $10 million in revenue, your business has been doing something right. And, this type of market provides an opportunity to strategize and expand.
5. Your Marketing Strategy is Dated and Ineffective
You already know: marketing is vital. It brings awareness to your products and services. Brand recognition. Leads. Conversions. Sales. Profits. Revenue.
In today’s market, though, outdated marketing strategies can hurt your business growth. Some no longer work the way they did in the past. And, if you’re using one of them, because it has gotten your business to this point, it can negatively affect your ability to grow and scale in the long-run.
How to Become a Growth Company Once Again
Now, you know 5 potential reasons why your business growth has stalled. From here, let’s look at a few ways to move past stagnation and take your company to the next level of growth.
1. Reassess Your Business Model
If it’s been some time since you reevaluated your business model, then now is a good time to do so. A proper review will let you know what’s working and what’s not. It’ll also help you to identify the effects of changes or shifts in:
- Your market
- Your customers’ needs
- Your available resources
- Your management team
Of importance here, too, is scalability. Some businesses weren’t designed to scale and must pivot for transformation. Reassessing your business model will make it easier to discover creative ways to scale in your communication and support, sales, production and delivery processes for increased customer on-boarding—based on your industry—if it’s a barrier to your growth and success right now.
2. Focus on Being a Leadership First CEO
As a leader and executive, your role involves working on your business for success. It involves staying abreast of market trends and customer demands. It involves tracking and analyzing metrics. It involves strategizing, investing and executing.
All with the focus on increasing your customer base, sales, and profits.
Focusing on business strategy for growth is important. But, you shouldn’t only focus on results. You should also focus on result-driven behaviors:
- Staying focused and productive
- Learning, improving, and evolving
- Creating momentum and collaboration
- Hiring, training, and retaining the right people for every position
- Building relationships
- Listening to and communicating with customers, managers, and employees
3. Manage Your Money
Money matters. And, without effective money management, your business can hit a growth plateau. Don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining financial records—tracking your money, expenses, and tax obligations.
Always pay specific attention to your cash flow. 82% of businesses fail, according to a U. S. Bank Survey, as a result of bad cash flow problems. One cause of cash flow management problems is unnecessary spending, so dedicate time to analyzing your business expenditures regularly. Consider trimming the costs on these purchases, if it:
- Won’t negatively affect your production, delivery, and customer service
- Will result in the savings required to reach your projected growth goals
4. Differentiate Your Products or Services
Market saturation shows demand of your products and services. However, to stand out from the crowd, you should never do what other industry business owners (or CEO's) are doing. Instead, take a different approach.
- Learn about the preferences and problems of your prospects, customers, and clients
- Find a way to differentiate your products or services
- Make enhancements to your products or services to better satisfy them
- Get your prospects and customers to understand the value of purchasing your products and/or working with you
5. Adopt New Ways of Marketing
Research shows: 80% of today’s consumers conduct online research before buying. So, by adopting modern digital marketing strategies, you can successfully drive leads and sales for your business.
One such approach is inbound marketing. According to HubSpot, inbound marketing focuses “on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey.”
Unlike traditional outbound strategies—direct mail, signs, flyers, promotional items, inbound marketing provides an opportunity to build relationships of trust and loyalty, through a few marketing solutions:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Pay Per Click Advertising
- Website Design
- Content Marketing
- Social Media
Take Action to Reignite Growth
A business growth plateau brings challenges. But, you can turn them into opportunities to take your business to the next level of growth.
Here we’ve presented not only potential causes of stalled business growth, but also 5 potential solutions for breaking through your growth challenges. Now, you can move past your frustration, take action, and reach your financial goals.