Has your business stopped growing? Seven ways to turn things around
By Mumbi Kinyua | September 21st 2017
Success in business takes a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how many lucky breaks you get, things just don’t go as planned.
It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to build something that brings high returns in a short time. But a lot of the time, this dream goes unfulfilled.
Sometimes a business will hit a rut and get stuck or go under. At this point, some entrepreneurs move on to something else, while others keep pushing. So, what happens if your ship is on the verge of sinking and you want to fight? Here seven ideas to help you save your business.
1. Set up in a different location
Consider finding a different market for your products. But for this to work, you’ll need to first do your market research. In fact, from the moment you set up a business, you should keep an eye and ear out for information on new markets so you’re never held hostage by one location. Consider the demographics of customers in the country’s counties, the amount of capital you need to set up and the kind of competition you’d be facing to stay ahead of the curve.
2. Merge with a similar business
If competition is stagnating your business, consider joining forces with some of your rivals to increase sales, market share and access the kind of cash flow that allows you to launch new products. Merging can also help your business acquire quality personnel and reach a wider customer base. Assuming you bring some value proposition, for instance, customers who are largely college students, you can consider merging with a business that reaches a different market segment and has the ability to get your products noticed on new platforms.
3. Spend time with your customers
Customer interaction is important because it will help you to know what’s not working before it does any real damage.
If you are the CEO or founder, do not leave customer interactions exclusively to your employees. Go out meet and greet your customers, and get as much feedback as you can from them. Promise to improve and work on any complaints they make. It may not seem like much, but working on customer feedback can put you miles ahead of your competition in business.
4. Accept change
Do not overly depend on the same people to get the job done all of the time. Cultivate relationships with new suppliers, introduce new products to the market, and embrace technological changes. Keep your options open and an eye on future disruptions.
Change is inevitable, after all, so don’t stay static. You can think of it as rebranding or diversification – this gives you income options, reduces your risks and increases returns.
5. Hire the skills you lack
Many business owners don’t move on from the start-up mindset that they have to do everything themselves. However, as a business grows, it will require skillsets that owners may not necessarily have. This is where professional help comes in handy.
If you’re not ready to hire permanent accountants, customer service officers, social media strategists, and so on, then outsource the functions you don’t quite have a handle on. If your business has stalled, consider what business operations would benefit from specific expertise.
6. Give offers
Consider making charitable donations, which will help you build a good reputation for the business, and could lead to relationships that boost your network with people who’d grow your market. Additionally, offer customer discounts to renew interest in the products you sell.
7. Be patient
Running a business is hard, but running it under unfavourable conditions can seem nearly impossible. You will make better decisions during a crisis if you take the time to calmly analyse the situation at hand. Don’t rush into any major decisions. As much as possible, consult your mentors or co-founders, people you respect in the industry, or read up on entrepreneurs who overcame similar hurdles.
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