How to Keep Growing When You’ve Hit a Plateau
Although it might seem as if running a business means constantly climbing to new peaks and occasionally falling into valleys, the reality is that, more often than not, you might find your company crossing what seems like a never-ending plateau. If your business growth seems to have stagnated or become flat, it helps to look at the cause of the problem and to consider ways to work through it.
Growth plateaus don’t only happen to small and medium-sized businesses. Even large, internationally-known companies can plateau. One recent example is Netflix, the DVD/streaming services subscription provider and content creation company. In the summer of 2018, fewer people than expected signed up for the company’s services, leading to a plunge in its stock price, the NY Times reported. In many ways, Netflix’s plateau makes sense. There are only so many people who can subscribe to its service, and it’s going to soon reach a point when it can’t add new subscribers at anywhere close to the same pace.
Here’s what any business, whether it’s an SMB or a big-time player like Netflix can do when it hits a growth plateau.
Reassess the Business Plan
Your company’s business plan wasn’t carved into stone. As times change and the needs of your customer’s change, it’s a good idea to revisit and revise your business plan to adjust to current needs and expectations and to keep up with the changing times. Netflix is a good example of a company that’s changed its business plan and model as the years have gone on. It started out in the late 1990s as a DVD-rental subscription service. Although it still offers DVD rentals by mail, it’s become more well known in current times for streaming services and for producing its own movies and TV series. When the company was laying out its business plan back in the ’90s, it’s very likely it didn’t foresee online streaming or content creation as the future of the business.
Find a Way to Stand Out
Another common reason for a growth plateau is that a particular niche or industry can become too saturated. It’s hard to keep growing when there are many other companies all offering a product or service that is identical or very close to yours.
One way to kickstart business growth after a plateau is to find some way to make your company stand out in a crowd. It might take some creative thinking and brainstorming to find a service to offer that’s different from the rest, but it can be worth it in the long run. What can make you stand out might be the level of service you offer, the range of products available or even the price of your products or service.
Find a Way to Outsource and Boost Capacity
Businesses that are stretched too thin are more likely to plateau than grow. If you are trying to do everything on your own or with a very limited team, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to focus on where to take your business next or how to grow.
Working with contractors or outsourced professionals, such as an outsourced CFO, can help you focus on what matters most for your company while someone else handles the details that were previously weighing you down.
Increase Income and Funding
Limited funding or a lack of income can also occasionally get in the way of business growth. If you don’t have the financing to invest in new growth programs or to invest in research and development of products, your business is going to be stuck. It can be worth exploring new ways of getting financing, whether that means talking to lenders about loans or connecting with investors who might be interested in purchasing a stake in your business.
Thinking of new products to sell, new markets to reach, or new services to offer can also help your company move off of a plateau. To return to the Netflix example, one way for the company to grow without adding new subscribers is to find ways to earn more income from its current subscriber base. That might mean offering new products, such as video game rentals, or music streaming, both of which could increase revenue.
A plateau might seem to stretch on interminably, but it doesn’t have to. The team at New Direction Capital can work with your company to develop a plan for growth. Contact us today to learn more.