It can be quite worrying when your business’s growth has slowed down. If you want to rescue your business growth, you’ll need to be active in growing it. This is a daunting process if you don’t know where to start.
You need to take your time and analyse your business. Understanding what’s preventing it from reaching its full potential means you can begin addressing these issues. A strategic plan is just as important no matter what size growth you hope to achieve.
If you want to see positive results and turn your growth around, these 4 tips can help you get there. Work through them and answer each question as it comes around, and you should gain a much clearer idea of how to rescue your slow business growth.
1. Why is growth slow?
The first question to ask yourself is to figure out how a situation arose that means your growth needs revitalising. Remember that this isn’t about apportioning blame, and can happen through no fault of your own.
Many businesses experience some amount of slow growth at various points in their life. What separates the successful from the stalled is how you respond.
Take a step back and figure out what’s causing the stagnation before trying to do anything. Without identifying this cause, there’s no guarantee it won’t continue to be a problem.
For example, if there’s something that can’t handle increased demand that comes with growth, it’ll hold the rest of your growth back. A bottleneck will retain its stranglehold, no matter how much you try changing the rest of your business.
Planning for improvement
Once you’ve identified the cause, you can start to develop a modified business plan that addresses the issue and gets your business growing again.
There are a number of reasons for slow growth that could be affecting your business. Changes in the market, competition from new businesses, or problems with your product or service can all cause a slowdown.
Your product maybe just doesn’t resonate with your customers like it used to. Maybe your marketing strategy isn’t using effective channels for your market anymore.
When planning, make sure to include representation from across your whole business. It’s possible that there’s something you’ve missed because it’s outside of your own skills and knowledge. Working with your Board of Directors and senior team members can give a much more complete picture of your business.
2. Where can you improve?
Once you’ve figured out the cause for your slower business growth, you need to ask yourself how you can improve your business.
At Boardroom Advisors, we rethink generating leads or improving customer retention could help you with increasing your sales. Investing in your business IT, or hiring more logistics staff to handle orders could improve your efficiency for better profits.
Whatever problem you’re facing, pinpointing the areas that need to be improved is crucial for getting your business growth back on its feet. Knowing how to improve comes from digging deeper into the causes you identified. You may know what’s slowing your growth, but why is it that it’s slowing your growth.
If you don’t get many customers returning to your business for a second purchase, is there something in your customer experience that pushed them away? This would identify something you need to improve.
3. What changes can you implement?
The 3rd question to ask yourself is what can you do about it? You know what’s causing your problems, so now you need to fix them.
Once you have an idea where to go you can start planning and implementing the tasks needed for those improvements. Explore what options are available to your business, and decide which ones would work best for you. Consider how much change they can bring and how feasible they are.
You can use strategy analysis tools, like MOST Analysis, which can be incredibly valuable in planning situations like these. When writing your business plan, you want it to cover everything. Otherwise, you risk a repeat of your problems.
MOST takes you from the business’s overarching mission, down to the individual tactics that your different teams will implement. Thinking about each step in turn ensures that everything you do fits together as an aligned plan.
- Mission – a specific and actionable overall goal for your business to achieve. It should be a hard, measurable business target.
- Objectives – the conditions that need to be met for your mission to be successful. These should also be measurable and actionable goals.
- Strategies – what options are available to complete your objectives. These are things you can try, so explore a wide range and you can always come back for more.
- Tactics – actionable tasks that make a strategy. Your team should walk away from a meeting knowing what jobs to complete. To maintain momentum, make sure to give your tactics deadlines.
For rescuing slow business growth, the objectives would be the improvements you identified. Maybe you need to resolve a certain bottleneck to revitalise growth, so what are the options to do so?
The options you choose to speed up the workflow are your strategies. What tasks need to be completed for the strategy to be successful? Assign these tasks to team members and clearly prioritise them, and your business will be able to begin really growing again.
4. Are your changes working?
It’s important when implementing changes to keep on top of them. It’s easy to get distracted when running the day-to-day jobs of your team members. Leading a business means taking a step above and focusing on its strategic direction.
The final question comes into effect further down the line. After you’ve implemented changes, how did they work out? Did they get you on track towards achieving your goals?
If you find you’re not getting the results you want, evaluate the methods you used and modify what you’re doing for the future. Whatever the reason it wasn’t effective, don’t be afraid to make the changes you need in order to grow your business.
Strategic reviews are a normal part of business. It’s not a problem if your first set of strategies didn’t work out. In the end, all you could do is make predictions and try what seemed best.
Once reviews are part of your plan, setbacks are just a step towards identifying the best options. You can always go back and look over your business plan, which can give you options on the best new changes to make. That’s why planning with reviews in mind is so important.
Remember that nothing is ever set in stone; if something doesn’t work, never be afraid to try something new. Be patient and monitor your progress regularly. Growth doesn’t happen overnight.
Something that’s important to being a great business leader is acknowledging where you can improve yourself. If you aren’t certain why your business’s growth is slowing down, you can always seek advice.
For example, a part-time Strategy Director could provide expert support in putting together your business plan. You could gain access to experience that’s been through growing a business before, with the flexibility and lower cost that comes with a part-time hire.
This article was written by John Courtney, Founder and CEO of BoardroomAdvisors.co