Managing your own business is a massive task. You have to stay on top of things and make sure it all runs smoothly. As the brains behind the business you want to ensure you’re growing too. However, there are times where your company just seems stuck. You aren’t growing as a business; you’re just stuck in a rut. It’s important that you realise what’s causing this so you can address the situation.
The biggest reason your company is struggling is probably down to excessive competition. It’s very rare that you will come up with an idea for a startup that’s completely unique. Most things you can think of have already been done. What this means is that whatever you do, you’re likely to have strong competition. It’s a particularly big problem for small, local, businesses. Not only are they competing with other small businesses, but you have the big corporations too.
Say you’ve started your own freshly made donut business. Even if yours is the only donut shop in town, you’re still competing with big business like Dunkin’ Donuts. Because customers are still going to consider going to a place like Dunkin’ Donuts even if it’s further away. It has big brand recognition and people know about that company. So you could be losing out on business thanks to a place twenty minutes away from you.
That’s just one, hypothetical, example of a small business trying to compete with a big business. The trouble with this kind of competition is that you don’t have the money to compete. Big corporations have millions of dollars devoted to marketing campaigns and other things to grow their business. Whereas you may be on a tight budget.
As I mentioned, it’s not just big business, but fellow small business too. They’re also your competitors, particularly in close-knit communities. There are so many small businesses out there that the market can become overrun. The only way you can deal with competition is making sure you’re the best. Find out what they do well, then do it better. Make your business the top dog and stay one step ahead of the competition.
You could, for whatever reason, have a bad reputation among consumers. This may be because you haven’t publicly managed your company well. And by that I mean, you haven’t taken into account how you look in the public eye.
On the Internet, there are forums or review sites, and you could be given bad rep by users. In fact, your internet presence can also be damaging to your reputation. Bad websites, customer service or social media posts can quickly lead to a bad reputation. Why is why you need to take great care in your online reputation management.
Manage your online activities and try and regain some of your reputation. There are many ways you can manage your online reputation to make it better. Start by addressing any negative material on you. The key to a good online reputation is making sure there isn’t any negative material about your company on the internet.
It’s not just your online reputation that affects your growth. Your reputation locally can stutter the growth of a new business. Perhaps you’ve had certain adverts that are controversial and people find offensive. Or your brand logo is an offensive sign to certain cultures.
Or you may have inadvertently done something to spark anger and distrust among consumers. It doesn’t matter what you or your company did; you need to deal with it quickly. The longer you don’t address it, the worse your reputation gets.
Your business plan itself could be holding you back. You may have had an idea of how you wanted things to work beforehand. Sometimes when you start a business, it doesn’t work out how you planned it. Your business plan is wrong, or outdated and needs to be re-evaluated.
Re-assess your whole plan, go over it and see if it’s relevant to today. Businesses don’t just pop up overnight; they’re years in the making. You could’ve written your business plan in 2013, and your business is only up and running now. Lots of things can change in two years, so take a look at it and tweak it if need be.
One aspect of your business that could be holding you back is feedback. There are a couple of ways in which feedback could be stunting your growth.
1. Firstly, you may not be getting any feedback. For some reason, you haven’t asked anyone for genuine feedback or advice. Without feedback from others, you won’t know which areas of your business to improve. Take a look at a pivotal part of your business; your website. You might think that your website is brilliant and looks great.
But perhaps a lot of consumers don’t like certain aspects, so choose to avoid it. You won’t know what they like or dislike about it because you aren’t asking for feedback. Set up a feedback section on the site, or have an email contact where people can send feedback. Alternatively, send customers feedback questionnaires/surveys via email or post. It’s important you get feedback because you could be losing business without knowing why.
2. There is another way feedback effects company growth. It’s by you ignoring it. Every piece of feedback you get is important. It’s from someone who has used your business and taken the time to comment on it. Don’t ignore negative feedback because it’s negative. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your business. Nobody’s business is perfect, particularly a small startup.
There’re bound to be some issues so accept that. Likewise, pay attention to the positive feedback. It’s easy to read positive feedback and just smile and give yourself a pat on the back. No, make a note of it and continue to do whatever they enjoyed.
These are three of the main reasons your business could be struggling to grow. It’s common for a startup business to go through a period of rapid growth, and then stagnation. The best way to deal with a lack of growth is figuring out the cause. Once you’ve realised the cause, you can work on making everything better again!