What to do when your business seems stuck (8 Tips)
It’s common for a company to get stuck in a rut. It will feel like you’re barely surviving as a business owner, and while you might not realize it at first, it will start to weigh on your mind gradually.
These lulls typically don’t last forever, especially if they’re the result of transitory factors like seasonal patterns or external market dynamics. However, if they continue for too long, it may be time to make serious adjustments, as stagnation in company (where revenue growth is the primary indicator of success) always leads to regressive trends.
It’s challenging to determine the optimal rate of expansion for your company. That may depend on factors such as the business’s sector, location, length of time in business, etc. But around the 5% mark per year would be a respectable average, all things considered.
In my opinion, if your company is growing at a rate higher than that, you can rest assured that things are heading in the right way (albeit maybe not as fantastic a direction as Google, which had average growth of 39% each year between 2004 and 2014!).
In business, if you stop making progress, you’ll inevitably fall behind.
But what if your development has slowed or, worse, halted? Many people, relieved to still be able to make ends meet, may choose to simply disregard the issue and not give it much thought. But I must emphasize one more that you cannot have stagnant expansion. At some point, you’ll begin to decline; if you can’t prevent the trend, reverse it, and return to growth, your only option is to begin cutting costs.
Now, I don’t want to be irresponsible and state that a company’s death spiral has begun. I in no way mean to imply that. However, you do see stagnant growth as a warning sign, and you do it rather promptly. Reason being: I’m ready for a shift.
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What to do when your business seems stuck
Here are eight suggestions for getting your business “unstuck” and back on track.
1. Get Involved with the Business Again
First, you should ask yourself if you’ve separated yourself too much from the day-to-day operations of the business. I can assure you that there are millions of business owners who have done this very thing without realizing it. It’s possible for this to happen very gradually over the course of several years, once your key hires have established stable order.
It’s great if they’ve got everything under control, but if the people who report to you start slacking off and you let it happen, you’re no longer leading effectively because you’re making decisions in the dark. Regain command once more. You will be useful.
2. Old Cost Estimates
Uh, excuse me. It’s a big step, I realize, but it could be exactly what’s needed. When businesses become stuck, it’s generally because they’re using old cost estimates. Even if your company’s top line continues to expand, you won’t feel like much of a success if your bottom line is suffering.
It’s possible that the rates you established five years ago or 10 years back won’t be sufficient to pay your current expenses and yet allow you to make a decent profit. Over time, wages, rent, and the price of supplies have all increased. But if you haven’t adjusted your prices, you’re playing a losing game.
3. 80% of Sales is generated by 8% Only
The number of businesses who don’t engage in any form of marketing or advertising always surprises me. Wow, I can’t believe that. Have you joined them? Listen, if you don’t think cold calling, networking, or any other means of bringing in business is effective, you need to get a grip on reality. A number, for your perusal: The top 8% of salespeople account for 80% of revenue.
Can you tell us what that means? The amount of work put in is crucial. Yes, you need to put money into advertising beyond just increasing sales. Do not wait any longer; get the fundamentals in order, and then rush into the digital future that is the focus of the moment.
If you can’t afford to hire a digital marketing agency, that’s fine, but you should figure out a method to do it internally. Get the knowledge you need (it won’t take long). Please don’t tell yourself or anyone else that success will find you if you just wait around. That kind of thing hardly never occurs. If you want something, go after it.
The top 8% of salespeople account for 80% of revenue.
4. Customer Requirements Considerations
If you become too comfortable with your offering, customers will become dissatisfied because their requirements and wants are no longer being met to the same degree as before. When you feel like business is slowing down, one of the first things to examine is the items or services you’re offering.
And this is something that should always be at the top of your list of primary entrepreneurial responsibilities, since failing to adapt your product or service to changing market conditions and customer preferences can lead to declining sales and other negative outcomes. The remedy is straightforward: just keep in touch with your customers.
5. Key Managerial Positions
Are you prepared to make the tough choices? When growth slows, one of the tough choices you’ll have to make is whether or not to examine the performance of your company’s top employees. And you’ll be putting yourself in the spotlight in the process.
If you think your time as firm owner has come to an end, you should consider elevating to the position of chairman and appointing a new leader. Perhaps it is more important to examine the key managerial positions in your firm to determine if new blood is required. It may sound harsh, but cleaning house is often required to get things rolling again.
6. Motivation brings Productivity
Checking if the correct people are in the right roles is related to point 5 above. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of amazing people on board, but they’ve often been stuck doing things that aren’t the best use of their talents.
Consider whether some of your employees would be better served by being moved to different departments, or whether some minor (or major) adjustments to their current responsibilities would have a significant impact on the company’s bottom line. According to a recent survey conducted in the United States, 72% of workers feel they are underutilized in their current positions.
That’s monstrous when put alongside this statistic: Dr. Stephen R. Covey states in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that “poorly motivated and highly motivated employees are about 500% in productivity.” If you put your employees to good use, they may become extremely motivated. And there’s little doubt that would benefit any business that unexpectedly hits a growth plateau.
The productivity gap between highly motivated workers and those who aren’t is estimated to be around 500%.
7. Gain Insights
Successful businesspeople often have two traits: a thirst for information and the ability to sift through it to find actionable insights. Your lack of attention to this matter may be to blame for the stagnation of your company’s expansion. I was wondering if you still followed the markets closely. Do you read books or take courses to better prepare yourself for the managerial, financial, or sales difficulties you face?
It is also important to emphasize that these educational opportunities need not be restricted to the realm of business. Learn more about yourself and others by reading books on psychology, leadership, or football coaching, or gain insight into the triumphs and tribulations of some of history’s most notable figures by reading their biographies.
8. Take care of your Employees
Finally, it’s important to remember that a healthy work-life balance is crucial to productivity, and that if your staff is running at “crazy” on the stress meter, you need to remedy that because expansion is difficult when employees are too exhausted by their workloads to even think.
A 2015 survey conducted in the United States found that 80% of workers felt anxious on the job, and nearly half indicated they needed assistance in learning to manage stress. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that stress levels seem to be much lower in well-organized firms, possibly because employees have more of a sense of agency within such an environment.
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Having too much to do can be a major source of stress since it makes it seem as though progress is being made slowly. One of the leading causes of stress in humans is the constant fear of falling further behind.
The consequence is a reactive staff that is constantly trying to keep up with an impossible influx of work without ever stopping to think things through or put their creative energies to use in a way that will help your company begin to grow again.
We sincerely hope that now you very well know and understand what to do when your business seems stuck. Follow these tips whenever you feel that your business is getting stuck anywhere or anytime and things will surely start rolling back again.