There are many terrible fates that can meet a business, but stagnation has to be one of the worst. You might disagree as the wheels are still turning, but a business that isn’t growing, learning and experimenting? You may as well call the time of death on your business.
Sorry for your loss. Not to fear, as there are a number of ways you can perform CPR on your business and bring it back to being the growth machine it once was. If you’re not sure where to start or how to escape this fate, follow this guide.
Revisit and Revise your Business Plan
Either you are not using a business plan or the one you have has not had a refresh in quite some time. Whatever the case, it’s time to retrieve that plan and begin writing a business plan that actually captures your business now and where you want to go. Perhaps the market is changed and you haven’t caught on which is why you are feeling stagnant, or could you possibly have too many top-heavy employees which are creating no buzz on the frontline? You will get to the bottom of this if you revisit your business plan and bring it into the 2020s to achieve growth.
You don’t need to be told that people are consuming content, communicating and doing business differently now, with a heavy digital influence. If you are not keeping up with this behaviour then you are missing out on a lot of action and could be seen as stagnant which is likely why you feel it. Every business is different, but it’s becoming the norm now to have a great website, an active social presence and an eCommerce capability (if relevant).
If you are lacking in one or all of these aspects, you might be inhibiting the growth of your business. Now before you say ‘my customers are not online’, know that they are, whatever generation they are. Not to mention, you may have a younger demographic who needs your business but simply cannot find you and thus are not yet customers. You may even find that your online presence becomes your bread and butter, with online marketing or organic traffic bringing a range of customers to your doors.
Get a Third Party Perfective
It can be so hard to see things as they are, especially when we are so close it. If you are the business owner and can feel things getting stagnant despite your best efforts, it could be time to get a third party perspective on what is going on. You may want to get a business coach, business mentor, senior partner or trusted client/supplier to step into your shoes and take in the sight and report back to you on their findings.
This will be one of the greatest things you do, as their unbiased feedback might signal a number of things that you simply couldn’t see or never considered to be a problem. Keep in mind that this may be a confronting exercise, so ensure that you have the emotional intelligence to go through this assessment, or ask your third party person to submit their findings over email, digest them, and then talk to them when you have had time to let it sink in and ready to discuss freely.
If you are already alerted to the fact that your business could be stagnant, you are already ahead of so many owner business owners who prefer to keep their heads in the sand. Investigate your business from every angle, and don’t be disheartened by what you find. Simply pivot, reassess, and repeat. It can be that simple if you allow it to be.