It’s common for start-up businesses to go through a period of rapid growth in the early days. While it’s normal for this to fluctuate a little as time goes on, growth should stay relatively steady and certainly shouldn’t come to a halt. Stalled growth in the first few weeks, months or years of a start-up can have devastating consequences for your business.
To avoid being one of the estimated 80% of start-ups that fail, you need to catch stalled growth early on and find solutions to optimise your business for success. Here are five reasons your growth may have stalled and how to fix them:
It can be a tough lesson for entrepreneurs to learn, but collaboration is integral to business success. This means learning to let go and putting your trust in others to help grow the business. Trying to do everything yourself can jeopardise everything and stunt the all-important business growth. Once you’ve relinquished control of a few things, you will be surprised at how much more the business can accomplish. Not only can you enlist the help of experts, but you will have more time to focus on your strengths; the things that got you here in the first place.
In other words, you’re working harder not smarter. Many business owners, instead of looking within the company to increase productivity, will focus on outside methods of attracting revenue. When this doesn’t happen, growth can stall and, if you’ve put all your eggs in the one basket, this can be lethal. To avoid this, make sure you’re leveraging your strengths as well as looking outside the company. Ensure staff are focusing on crucial, value adding tasks that they are skilled in and eliminate, outsource or automate less important activities.
As most entrepreneurs know, calculated risks are incredibly important to business growth and development. Many successful start-ups owe everything to a risk that paid off – take Bill Gates, for example, now the world’s richest man. Had he not decided to drop out of college to establish Microsoft, his legacy may not exist today. If you’re not seeing the growth you should be, it might be time to research new opportunities and take a leap of faith. Entrepreneur and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, says taking no risk can be the biggest mistake: “In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
One of the biggest advantages entrepreneurs have over established businesses is the ability to be adaptable and make changes to the business model based on what is working (and what’s not). If business growth is stalling it might be because your product or service isn’t in high demand or maybe a new trend has hit the market, taking the buzz away from your business. It’s important to not only be aware of these things but to change your business model accordingly – whether it’s refining your USP or tweaking your offerings, a successful entrepreneur is prepared to make these tough calls.
Most start-ups have a business a plan that identifies both short and long term goals, but it’s hard to know what to expect in those first few months. Often new business owners set modest goals that are exceeded within a few months. While this is great, it’s important to replace these with new targets, because businesses without goals fail. If business growth has stalled, take a look at your goals and assess whether they still provide appropriate direction for the company. Reassessing your targets and defining clear, measurable goals that will push you toward success are a sure fire way to kick-start business growth.