When your business starts to flat line it can be a worrying time for any business owner, especially if you can’t see a clear reason why you’re not growing as expected.
However, once you start to dig into the data, the reasons are likely to become much clearer. By keeping an eye on the following areas you can start to act before your business gets stuck.
Your Business Growth Goals
Have you actually set any growth goals for your business?
If you haven’t created SMART goals that you can track and measure your business against, how can you know where your business is heading, or create any meaningful strategy to achieve them?
By analysing your company’s past performance and where you want to be in 6-12 months, you will be able to define your marketing and sales strategy to help achieve these goals.
This will also help to ensure all of your departments are working to the same core goal and focusing your resources in the right areas of your business.
You’re focusing on too many areas
If you’re working in a service industry, sometimes it can be easy to take on a job that your business doesn’t really specialise in. However, by taking on these one-off projects you can actually be draining resources better spent elsewhere.
By sticking to a niche for your business, be it the sector you choose to specialise in or services you offer, you will be able to streamline your internal processes. This will make your employees much more efficient and allow for greater quality control as you grow.
One way to allow your business to specialise, but still offer a fuller package of services to your clients, would be to partner up with other businesses that offer the services you don’t. In turn, your agency partners can push work that is more aligned to what you do, providing a much better level of service to both sets of clients.
Your critical processes are not running like clockwork
From employee training to client onboarding and customer service processes, if any of these are not working as well as they should be you will face real issues as you try to grow — they might even be the reason your business isn’t growing!
Take a look at your customer retention rates. Are your clients becoming repeat customers? If not, why not? What can you do to improve their experience with you business to make them stay with you? Answering these questions will not only allow your processes to run smoother, but you’ll be able to improve the working relationship with current and new clients. What’s more, if they are happy they will look to recommend you to others, offering another avenue of lead generation.
Another critical process that can stop a business from growing is not having a clear competitive edge over your competition. If you haven’t worked out why a customer should choose you, how will your marketing and sales teams be able to attract new business? By making sure your vision is clear and the processes are in place to deliver on the dream you sell, your business will be in a much better position.
Failure to manage your cash flow
Growing businesses don’t always have a dedicated financial department, so it can fall to a senior member of staff to carry out tasks such as invoice chasing.
This is a massive drain on resources and eats into the bottom line of your profits quickly. By setting up processes such as automated reminder emails and direct debits you can remove the manual process of chasing up payments.
Building a detailed cash flow map where you can see what ingoings and outgoings you have as a business allows you to pinpoint where you can cut costs and where you should be investing more.
Not having a growth strategy
This is a biggy.
As a business owner you’re always going to have ambitions to grow your business, but have you actually worked out where you want to grow to, how quickly you want to get there and what you’re going to do to get there? If you’re carrying the plan around in your head, is your leadership team and wider business aware of what you’re hoping to achieve and working towards the same goals as you?
By creating a full growth strategy you can start to create strategic SMART goals to get your business to where you want it to be.
The knee jerk reaction when a business starts to stagnate can be to invest heavily in marketing tactics, such as AdWords or paid social. However if you have not analysed the data and created an overall marketing strategy, this can just be money down the drain.