You and your client are in a challenging situation: no matter what’s done, it seems like their business isn’t growing the way they had thought (or hoped). Today’s economic climate may present itself as a convenient scapegoat, but more often than not – that’s simply not the case. It’s more productive for you, and your client, to face the truth of the matter:
You’ve reached a plateau.
You’re not alone. Most businesses reach a point where their business stops making money, or begins losing money, causing widespread panic from the boardroom to cubicles. You just need to make sure your client isn’t part of the huge, scary statistic: 96% of businesses fail in ten years.
Obviously, you and your client need this business stagnation to become a distant memory – fast. Fortunately, there are many ways to push the business beyond a plateau and keep it shooting towards success – the way it should be.
Stop the Guesswork
Once your client reaches a plateau, they’ll likely panic. How this manifests is unique within each person, but they may simply look to “experimental” options to spark growth. A new product without market research, throwing money away on impractical marketing. No matter which avenue they decide to wander down, this much is true:
It will not work out well for them.
Perhaps the only “experiment” your client should try is one that feels more natural. If your client thinks they know where the disruption in revenue is occurring, they can try stopping that process and analyze the results. If they have a bad feeling about something, chances are there’s a reason for it. Let their instincts guide them.
Before you begin formulating and implementing strategies, you need to understand what went wrong, where, and how the information gained can be used to produce growth.
Because your client is directly infused with their business, it may be difficult for them to locate areas where performance dropped – or how moving onto other ventures before setting up current systems for success can have negative effects on the organization.
Researching your client’s past movements won’t necessarily provide you with the answers you’re looking for, but it should be the first place you start. Even if you don’t find areas where your client should refocus, you can then begin looking to outside sources to reinvigorate growth potential.
Reignite Motivation and Drive
We all run out of steam eventually. What was once a “game-changing” idea devolves into something less than, something that isn’t so profound but makes enough money to keep the lights on. What if that passion could be reignited? Where did it go?
Your client is a deep-thinker. If they are capable of starting and building their own business from the bottom-up, they’ve spent a serious amount of time going through the details. Finding ways to reignite a client’s drive is difficult; ultimately it’s up to them. But you can suggest the following:
- Were you comfortable when you began your business? What made you nervous?
- What are (at least) two larger-than-life goals you’d like to achieve?
- How would you go about achieving them?
- How likely are you to commit to these goals? Why/Why not?
Passion isn’t something that simply turns to smoke and dissipates. If it was once within your client, it’s still there. Figure out where it’s resting and force the wild thing out – you and your client will appreciate the wild rumpus.
Check Your Processes
When your client started their business they worked long, arduous hours alone; kept warm only by a warm computer monitor glow. That’s probably not the case anymore. Since then, processes have been put in place to ensure efficiency and standardization. Or have they?
As a company grows, it’s only natural for some processes to become old and demand reengineering. When your client neglects to make sure all the gears are tight, they’re setting themselves up for a slow death.
Modern program suites have alleviated the need for constant procedural examination, fulfilling the roles of entire teams in one dashboard. Instead of spending time and money looking at individual processes, consider consolidating them into one with functionality that serves your client’s day-to-day operations.
Look to Core Customers
When businesses plateau, they tend to do so for various reasons. Two of those reasons are:
- Your client was not prepared to scale with growth
- This is your client’s first business model / they lack experience in business ownership
In either instance, we can be sure of one thing: they once owned a successful business.
It’s important to keep this in mind because we often focus on the negative in hopes of finding a positive. More often, you’ll find that locating the positive will provide insight into other positives.
So if the business was, at one time, a successful venture – what happened to make it successful?
More than likely it’s because your client had a group of core customers who were eager, passionate, and satisfied. These are the people you need to locate and build your company around – especially in a plateau.
When you engage with your core customers, you can begin scaling your business model to their expectations over the expectations of every customer – some of whom may not be invested in your product. Stick to what works and who it works for, they’ll clear the fog and present the next peak.
Develop New Customer Acquisition Models
How does your client attain customers? They might have difficulty finding new customers if they’re spending time and ad-money in the wrong places, or targeting the wrong people. Likewise, their customer journey might prove confusing to some – or a lack of content makes them relatively unknown to search engines.
No matter the case, it’s important to ensure that your client’s customers are going through the steps that best lead to conversion. Taking a fine-tooth comb and inspecting these strategies can offer practical insight as to where potential customers are leaving the journey, your client can clear things up, and you can develop strategies to yield higher conversion rates.
Launch a New Product
Maybe consumers loved your client’s first product – they use it all the time. But since that’s your client’s only offer, consumers have already exhausted all available avenues for spending. If this is the case, it might be time to shake things up by offering new products attracting their core audience. If they loved the first product, they will have increased likelihood of trying out a new one.
Your client must take time to understand the market temperature, whether core buyers take interest with the latest product, and their likelihood of purchase. It takes time, as your client knows, but smart product decisions will equal greater revenue streams in the future.