Many new business owners focus on their five-year plan to guide their fledgling enterprise towards a sustainable way of operating, but then they see their profits plateau. While you can count it as a big success to take your small business to a stage where you aren’t just breaking even, you might lose a bit of your drive once you’ve reached your first major goal. If you feel like you need a reset to reinvigorate your business’s operations and reignite some of that drive, here are three ways to combat stagnation.
Make data-driven decisions
In the first few years of running your business, you’ll likely be making a lot of gut decisions, but once you’ve made it five years out, you shouldn’t be relying solely on your feelings to drive your business. Harnessing customer data can be an incredibly illuminating way to better serve your audience and make smarter decisions. One way to do this is to implement cloud-based asset tracking software, which can monitor your inventory and help you better understand what products are selling well and which may be better to retire from your e-commerce platform. Asset tracking software goes beyond managing product information, too. You can use asset tracking software to keep tabs on how old your computers and machinery are, as well as warranty information on each item you count on to run your business. Doing this can save you money by mitigating the possibility of your buying a completely new device if it breaks before its warranty is up. It can also help you predict when you’ll need to replace certain items, so that you aren’t caught off guard and can instead pursue a continual trajectory of growth.
Audit your marketing approach
Once you’ve learned more about your customers, products, and equipment, you need to make sure that you’re getting the right message to the right people. You may feel like your business is plateauing because you’ve fully penetrated your market and need to reach a broader audience. Marketing can help you do this, whether it’s targeting a new audience with a direct mail campaign that hits every household in the neighborhoods surrounding your brick-and-mortar store or a lead generation campaign targeted at getting more customers to sign up for your e-newsletter. Plenty of businesses can help you find the right audience so that you can access lists you may not otherwise be able to. Whether you’re interested in harnessing data about a product’s popularity in certain age brackets to target a specific demographic or are planning some sponsored editorial content highlighting a product that has already been selling well, you can always apply what you learn in your data analysis to your marketing tactics, too.
Expand your staff
New businesses and start-ups are used to working lean, but they shouldn’t have to operate that way forever. Often, your business may stall because you’ve already maximized the efficiency of your team. In these kinds of situations, it’s best to spend less time focusing on how to increase the efficiency of your already hard-working staff, and instead find a way to expand the productivity of your crew. Calling an all-staff meeting to discuss what sorts of tasks seem most likely to slip through the cracks and which aspects of their job functions your employees could use help on is one way to determine what sorts of roles may be worth creating on your team. Whether your workforce needs a part-time assistant or coordinator to help with day-to-day operations or you determine the need for a mid-level manager to oversee a certain department, the information provided by your team will be much more useful than just trying to analyze areas for growth by yourself.
Running a business can be as challenging and fulfilling, and you must never lose the entrepreneurial spirit to continue improving and growing your company. By taking a hard look at the above three ideas, you should be able to break out of any rut your company is facing, and launch into an exciting new phase in your business’s life.