For every entrepreneur or small business owner, there comes a moment where the fear of stagnation sets in. Sure, your business is trundling along fine, and you’re making a decent profit into the bargain. That’s fine, but what if you could be doing more? What if your business is actually stalling, and you’re just coasting along, content to be locked into the same holding pattern and never truly evolving?
This is a thought that’s crossed every entrepreneur’s mind multiple times. There are ways you can confront this feeling and conquer it, though. Through a combination of thought processes, taking positive action and communication with your workforce, you can elevate your business and get yourself back on track. Here are our top tips for bringing your business out of a rut.
Motivate your staff
Many businesses neglect to continually motivate their staff, allowing their workforce to stagnate and never truly giving an opportunity for promotion or even sideways movement. This would be a mistake, because keeping talented members of staff is one of the most critical ways a business can keep growing. If there isn’t much money in the company to pursue a pay rise, don’t be afraid to apply for a loan from a good lender to bolster the coffers while you dish out pay rises. If you’re a sole trader, then a loan might still be a good way to go – you can pursue alternate product avenues or just spend some money and time on yourself to motivate you and reset your compass.
Change your marketing strategy
All too often, businesses pursue needlessly aggressive or direct marketing strategies without considering their impact on the business as a whole. If you’re seen to be overtly selling products without authenticity, your audience will abandon you in favour of a product they feel respects them more. Rather than chasing marketing for the sake of a few extra sales, you should seek out appropriate social media influencers and relationships and cultivate those instead. You’ll quickly realise that marketing in 2019 involves more than just “please buy my product”; it’s also a matter of building lasting relationships with customers and brand ambassadors.
Pursue alternate products
Maybe your business is stalling because the demographic you’ve targeted with your products just doesn’t have the spending power it used to. Perhaps your business doesn’t offer any follow-up products, so once the demographic has bought your brand they swiftly move on. This is when it’s a good idea to do some market research. Find out what your customers buy after they purchase your products and you’ll identify potential opportunities for expansion. Let’s say you’re running a smartphone accessories business. When a customer buys a charging cable, do they then also buy a mains charger? Do they also buy a Bluetooth speaker, or some other accessory? Are these things you sell? If not, add them to your product list and you won’t be sorry.
…but remember to focus on your USP
Don’t lose sight of the thing that makes your company what it is. When you’re pursuing alternate product avenues, don’t feel like you need to be all things to all people. There’s a chance your company simply can’t provide the items some consumers need in terms of aftersales, and that’s fine; you don’t need to supply every single thing that your audience wants. If you’re branching out and still feeling like it’s not working, then try reconfiguring and focusing hard on your core product. For example, if you’re a games developer and you’re chasing whatever trend is popular these days to little success, go back to the game that made you who you are and provide people with something nobody else is giving them.
The next potential opportunity might be around a corner you didn’t expect to turn. Don’t turn down possible clients because they don’t seem to fit your MO, and don’t disregard partners because they don’t initially seem to supply things you need. Have that conversation, sit down for a meeting with those people, and try to find common ground, because one of the most consistently lucrative business strategies is expansion into areas previously untested or unattempted by your competitors. Similarly, when it comes to marketing and other areas of operation, don’t be afraid to implement slightly more off-the-wall policies (no dress code, for example, or alternate Fridays off) in order to galvanise your staff.
Remember why you’re here
If you’ve lost your love for your business, it can cause the whole operation to stall, because you’re blindly pursuing the same course of action you always have and you’re on autopilot. Loving what you do, and remembering why you do it, is paramount to a successful business, so you should never forget what got you here in the first place. If you’ve got partners, meet with them and be honest about your opinions regarding the business – they might have ideas to get things back on track. If it’s just you, then take a day or two off (if you can) and focus your mind in other areas. There’s a chance you’re just overworked, after all!