A business goes through different cycles during its lifetime, including the launch phase, high growth phase, and maturity phase, in which the business eventually levels off and growth slows down or may even contract.
If your business growth has stagnated or even declined, it is important to consider which areas may be contributing to your issue. Some of the reasons for this leveling off may include reduced customer demand, increased competition in the marketplace, lack of new opportunities and innovation, and dated technology or processes leading to inefficiencies or falling behind the competition.
Here are five steps that can help a business improve its overall long-term growth and health:
- Develop a business strategy. It is important to take the time to develop a comprehensive business strategy that addresses both short-term and long-term goals. The strategy should address all major areas of the business and include an action plan. There must be accountability at all levels of the organization.
- Evaluate the team. Having the right people in place to execute the business strategy is an important next step. If parts of the team do not have the right capabilities to implement the business plan, the strategy will fall short of its goals and the plan’s success will be compromised.
- Improve technology and innovation. While this does not impact every business to the same degree, it’s important to evaluate existing technology and processes and to identify opportunities to reinvest in the business as well as ways to increase efficiency. Technology is one way to help improve efficiency.
- Utilize advisors. It is difficult to improve your business without the help of advisors. These can include consultants, industry experts, industry associations, accountants, and attorneys, among others. Effectively using these advisors can give owners and management a good sounding board, industry expertise, and the opportunity to leverage outside experience.
- Evaluate your customer base and new opportunities. Taking a hard look at your customers and their historical sales and profitability is a key step of your business strategy. Understanding which products and services generate the most profit can allow your business to identify what is driving it and make the necessary changes to improve the bottom line. Additionally, evaluating potential new customers, geographical territories, and products and services can lead to new markets and growth opportunities to expand both the business’s top and bottom lines.
Having a well-developed business strategy that incorporates growth goals for both the near and long term is a vital step in identifying new growth opportunities and in addressing existing areas of concern within the business. Executing and delivering on that plan takes a lot of hard work from a dedicated team that has the right skillset and expertise.
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