You may already have everything you need to pull your business out of a slump and encourage business growth. Tapping into your existing network can help.
No matter how hard you work, some business owners may find themselves in the business doldrums. Maybe it’s a predictable seasonal slump. Maybe it’s a letdown after losing a bid to a competitor. If you’re feeling like your business growth is flagging, perhaps it’s just time to shake up the snowglobe and get a fresh perspective.
Whatever the reason, every company needs revitalization from time to time. But how do you go about it? Where do you find the direction and inspiration that will ignite your business growth? Here’s how I’ve done it for my business:
1. Reach out to a mentor.
When I started my very first company, I was all about aggregating advice. I knew enough to sift out the bad and leave the good, but I actively sought tips and recommendations from business people I admired.
But as time went on, I started to think I was an expert. And while I did find some early success, I realized—after some significant setbacks—that I still needed advice from seasoned, successful folks. As it turned out, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. When I was working to get my company out of a slump, I sat down (hat in hand) with one of my very first mentors. He listened, thought and gave me specific suggestions to bring life and new revenue back to my business. I’ve learned that if I’m out of ideas, I should lean on the people who’ve made it past the hurdles I’m facing. I ask for advice.
2. Have a brainstorming session with your staff.
I find that my business runs the smoothest when every member of my staff is on the same page. We have frequent huddles to update the team on progress toward goals and on company priorities, but I also work hard to remember that communication must be two-way. Some of the very best ideas I’ve ever implemented in my company have come from my employees.
When I’m in need of a shakeup, I rely on standard, solid business practices. I use my available resources: mentors, employees and customers.
Often, when I counsel struggling entrepreneurs I find they don’t capitalize on the strength of their staff. Explain the problem to your employees and ask for suggestions. Whether you need to generate new revenue or simply infuse some excitement into your everyday routine, you may want to consider huddling with your team.
3. Ask your customers.
Whether I’m looking to implement a new customer loyalty program or to develop new offerings to my clients, I always take the time to chat with my customers.
Asking questions like “What can we do better?” or “What would you like that we don’t do?” can give you direct feedback that can help you shape your changes. Rather than wasting time on offers or programs that don’t matter to my customers, I always try to tailor my changes to appeal to existing clients.
4. Identify your short- and long-term goals for business growth.
I’ve never seen the value of making changes just to make changes.
Every time I kick off a program or develop a new product, I strive to make my reasoning clear to my staff and customers. Maybe I want to generate enthusiasm and inspire greater customer loyalty. Or maybe I need to boost revenue in order to expand my company’s footprint to another market. Regardless of my reason for reinvigorating my business, when I take the time to tie changes to outcomes, I find the programs are far more successful.
5. Provide incentives.
Nothing gets my employees and my customers more excited than awesome rewards. Whether it’s a day at the baseball park complete with hot dogs and beer, or a gift card in an amount tied to sales or purchases, people love having a great incentive to work toward.
When I start a new program or launch a new product, I put together great incentive packages for my staff and customers. (For example, “X number of referrals earns a gift certificate to a local restaurant.”) Exceeding sales targets earns season tickets to a nearby amusement park. Be creative and generous, and you’re likely to find that your staff and your clients exceed your expectations. Bonus tip: Sometimes you can hit up your vendors for support for your incentives, reducing the impact on your bottom line.
Reinvigorating your business doesn’t have to require rocket science. When I’m in need of a shakeup, I rely on standard, solid business practices. I use my available resources: mentors, employees and customers. I formulate a plan and tie my new program to my desired outcomes, and then I put incentives in place that guarantee success. My company is revitalized, and we gain the business growth I need.
Author: Mike Michalowicz || Author,Profit First