Do you feel like your business has flat-lined? It’s okay. Almost every new business eventually reaches a point of stalled growth. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong. But it is a sure sign that it’s time to adopt a few new strategies. Here are some possible reasons why your business isn’t seeing the growth you want, and what you can do about it.
You Have No Clear Plan
One of the main reasons why your business isn’t seeing the growth you want is not having a clear plan for the future of your product or service. You work day-to-day, month-to-month, trying to keep afloat, and before you know it you have either attempted too much at once or completely underestimated what was needed. Either way you start to sink and lose control.
As soon as you decide to start a small business, you need a plan for where you want to be in the next five to ten years. But even if you’ve been in business for a year or two—or even longer—it’s not too late to make a business plan. Ask yourself how you want to sell your product or service. A good plan should include the following information:
- What your niche is, the aspect that makes you stand out from competitors;
- Who your ideal customer is;
- The big goals you plan to achieve at the 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year marks;
- And the smaller action steps you will take to reach those goals.
It’s okay if the long-term goals seem improbable at this point. Do you want to grow out of the small business arena? Do you want to take your business global? Those stretch goals are what challenge you to really achieve growth. And you can always modify them if your plans change as you get closer to those milestones.
Your business plan will not only keep you on track; it can save your small business. The plan will help you to hold yourself accountable so you will no longer waste time and effort.
You Don’t Ask for Referrals
Another catalyst for growth is referrals, customers who will tell others about what you do. Customers are drawn to “visible expertise”. And when they hear about your business or product through unpaid recommendations, they know that there is truth behind it.
Advertising has been the traditional route for attracting new customers, but the cost can be outside the reach of many small businesses. Instead, more and more small businesses are reaching out with speaking engagements, participation in events, blog posts, and social media to get their product or service in front of prospective customers.
Social media, especially, is an easy and inexpensive way for small businesses to garner more word-of-mouth referrals from existing loyal customers. The best way to tap the word-of-mouth market is to simply ask your customers to mention you. Request that they “Like” your page or follow your feed, and don’t be shy about asking them to share posts about your promotions.
Not Utilizing Technology Efficiently
Technology can truly be the growth driver for your business. A lack of technology can mean the difference between success and failure, but more than that, the right tech is the linchpin for your reputation, your product, and your revenue. The problem some small businesses have is they often fall into the trap of underinvesting or overinvesting in technology. It is good to invest in a functional and professional website, but don’t pay tens of thousands for it. At the same time, it is a good idea to use technology and build the right systems and processes for your business by leveraging it for automation, but don’t get obsessed with buying every new software that comes on the market. With the multitudes of Software As A Service (SAAS) products available on the market now, make sure to choose one that fits the size and budget of your business.
Sometimes the thing that is holding your business back is yourself. It is easy to think that you are the best person to do everything in your business. However, I urge you to remember that you only have 24 hours in a day and cannot do everything. Start thinking about delegation and outsourcing so that you can focus on the more strategic parts of your business. Hire a team so that your business can handle more clients and scale accordingly.
No matter what niche your small business fills, you need to look toward the future in order to realize the growth you want. The bottom line is that no matter what successful growth looks like to you, you need to have the steps in place before you can climb them.