Whether you have had a thriving business for several years, or you are just launching your own startup company, it is important to be aware of red flags that may lead to the stagnation of your business growth. Even experienced and successful business owners may find themselves in a situation where their businesses simply stop growing. By avoiding the following five things, however, business owners may enjoy constant growth and success.
Research shows that organizational inefficiencies can cost businesses up to 20 to 30 percent of their revenue each year. This is a significant amount of money that could be used on important business-growing endeavors such as consumer research and marketing. Budgeting inefficiencies have a particularly devastating impact on the growth of businesses. Many failing companies are paying much more than necessary when it comes to expenses such as business shipping. Businesses that have expanded internationally frequently overspend on shipping costs by failing to use global shipping software that can save both time and money. Another inefficiency that stunts the growth of many businesses is poor inventory management. When this happens, businesses can end up with too much inventory, causing them to mark down prices. Making changes to the way you calculate and gauge your inventory needs can help eliminate this inefficiency. Use your past sales and projections to formulate a new and improved plan.
Poor Employee Morale
Productive employees are essential to the success of a business, and employee dissatisfaction can significantly hinder a company’s growth. The International Society of Automation reports that poor morale leads to a dramatic decrease in productivity, costing the U.S. economy as much as $350 billion per year. The first step in reversing the effects of poor morale is to recognize the signs. If absenteeism, employee conflict and decreased work performance have become commonplace, it is likely that morale is low and your employees are experiencing discontent. Once you’ve recognized the signs you must work to improve communication by engaging employees and asking for input through frequent feedback sessions and employee surveys. One of the best ways to improve company morale is to increase employee recognition. It is important for employees to feel like their work matters and that they are not dispensable. Positive reinforcement through verbal affirmation, employee appreciation dinners and monetary rewards can do wonders for an organization’s morale.
Unsustainable Business Model
A sustainable business model is what makes a product go from a great idea to a long-term money-making strategy. When a company grows, many aspects of its original business model must adapt in response to a changing client base, work environment, and competing businesses. Many companies find that their original business model worked initially, but subsequent changes require making adjustments. Failing to recognize that your original business model was not sustainable can significantly stunt your company’s growth. Many business models are not sustainable because they have not adequately identified a target market. As a business matures, it will become increasingly clear if a specific demographic has been identified or if the company is still struggling to find its intended audience. It is important for business owners to avoid the urge to be stubborn when it comes to their business models and to be willing to adapt as necessary.
Marketing techniques run the risk of growing stale and running their course. Businesses fail to grow when they lack the ability to change their marketing tactics based on less than ideal outcomes. A sure sign of ineffective marketing is losing clients to competitors that offer lower prices. Your business needs to be about more than just its prices, so if customers are abandoning your company for lower-priced businesses, your marketing strategy is not effective. You must emphasize the value of your business in other areas such as customer satisfaction and quality products. Reward your customers through recognition, discounts and loyalty rewards programs. Additionally, to stay competitive in today’s business world, companies must step up their social media game. Consumers are highly influenced by social media sites, blogs and online networking. As such, creating and sustaining a strong social media presence is imperative to marketing success.
While growing a little bit satisfied and content with your company’s success may seem innocent enough, according to Forbes, complacency is extremely dangerous and may squash the growth of your business. Neither small companies nor seasoned businesses are immune to effects of complacency, and the outcomes can be equally devastating for both. In order to avoid becoming too comfortable or satisfied with your business, be cognizant of competing businesses, and remember that other people are looking to outdo your success. Continuously push yourself to improve and realize that if you don’t find new and better ways to offer products or services, someone else will.
If you are finding that your business is experiencing setbacks when it comes to growth and profits, reevaluate how your company is performing in these five areas. A few changes to these aspects of your business may spark the growth and success you have been waiting for.
Image by SBC Hub from Flickr Creative Commons
About the Author: Ashley Robinson is a contributing writer. She has worked as a market research analyst for 9 years.