The business world can be uncertain and markets change every year. Your products may be flying off the shelves one season and sitting still the next. A service you offer may be in high demand, but then things cool off due to new competition. When business growth slows down, the important thing is not to panic. Instead, find a solid strategy mix for moving forward using some of the following ideas.
Fix Internal Problems
Reduced business growth can be a sign of internal problems. It could be that there is a breakdown in your system that is causing late deliveries or other poor customer experiences. The time when things are slower is a perfect time to pay closer attention to the business process. If you are in manufacturing, walk the assembly line and see how things can be improved. If you are in customer service, shadow some of your employees and see what can be done in a more customer-friendly way.
Hire an Outside Consultant
Sometimes management is too close to the problem. The people who developed the current business model may not be able to let it go. They have a difficult time acknowledging flaws in the system. In this case, hiring an outside consultant can jump start your business. This expert does not have anything invested in the current way that things are run. Instead, he or she will evaluate your business with fresh eyes, helping you see things that you might miss and challenging you to make changes.
Try a New Marketing Campaign
Over time, your customers may begin to take your presence for granted. If you are not out there getting people to notice you, it is easy to fade into the background. A new, creative marketing campaign may be just the thing to get you back to growth. You can share information on new products and services that your clients may not be aware of. A marketing campaign is also an opportunity to update your brand. A new logo or slogan will show people that you are changing with the times.
Research the Competition
Business decline can be the result of new competition in the market. If you have been the only player in your market space for some time, a new business can pull customers away. They may be beating your prices as they get started. They may offer services that you do not have. They may be better about using social media to connect with a new customer base. It is important to do this research so that you can stay competitive. When you become aware of a new competitor, it also critical to reach out to your loyal clients and remind them of their existing relationship with you.
In this age of social media, customer reviews are an important way for businesses to grow their reputation and credibility. Customers are 31% more likely to buy a positively reviewed product or service over one with no rating. Because these reviews can be so important, you must come to know how to ask for them effectively. Opportunities to review a business should not be so tedious that customers never fill them out, but they also need to provide enough information to be meaningful to potential customers.
Sometimes your employees need a nudge to get things back on track. Incentives can be simple, such as bringing in a catered lunch at the end of a month when sales goals are met. They can be financial bonuses for increased production. An incentive program can help shake things up when employees are stuck in a rut, challenging them to be more efficient and more creative.
Check Your Pricing
Evaluating your pricing strategy can go along with looking at the competition. If you were the only business in your sector, you may have been able to name your price. Changes in the marketplace may make your current pricing too high. For example, in a weak economy, a non-essential service might be dropped by customers looking to save money. On the other hand, if your pricing is too low compared to similar businesses, people may wonder about the quality of your business. A change in pricing can help you to renew your growth.
Evaluate Your Mission
A slowdown in business growth can be a sign of the need for a deeper exploration of the purpose of the business. Why did you get into your business in the first place, and are you still maintaining that purpose? Is the original mission of the company still valid, or is a new technology or cultural trend pushing you in a different direction? If you are working with assumptions that are no longer valid, it will take away from the potential growth of your business.
When business growth slows or stops, it can be frightening for everyone in the workplace. You will wonder if the slowdown is a temporary setback or a permanent challenge. By doing market research and looking deeply at your business, you can turn things around and get your business back to growth.
There are lots of things you can do to protect your business in the case of financial slumps and other emergencies. Above all, make sure you have good insurance from a provider you can trust!