Advertising
Advertising

6 Biggest Reasons Why Your Small Business is Stagnating

6 Biggest Reasons Why Your Small Business is Stagnating

These days everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, so way too many people rush into the world of small business headfirst, without taking into consideration the many variables that can make you or break you. Some even luck out and are able to quickly learn from their mistakes on the fly, but most fail within the first year. This is why you see a few people at the other end of the spectrum – fairly ambitious, yet careful and calculated.

The careful approach can be a good one, but it is easy to get bogged down in various technicalities and have your business stagnate. If you are interested in promoting growth and expanding your business, then you should try to address the common issues small business face, which are discussed in more detail bellow.

1. You don’t engage your customers

Advertising

Reaching out to customers

    “Engaging the customers” is kind of a broad term, so let’s look at some of the different aspects it covers:

    • Good customer service
    • Rewarding loyalty
    • Inspiring trust
    • Social media interaction
    • Asking for feedback

    If you want to learn more about what the customers want, then go and ask them. Granted it takes a bit of work, but developing a great relationship with the customers and building a loyal following has many benefits. This extends to online shopping as well. Whether you are opening online shop or want to start selling your goods on Amazon, there is a right way to do things. It involves creating a great shopping experience for the customers. This means that they can find what they are looking for effectively, have access to interesting offers if they buy multiple products, can get in contact with you and sort out any problems, and they need to be able to finish the whole process quickly.

    2. You try to do to everything yourself

    It’s one thing to be very hands on and not want to delegate simple tasks, but once you start doing 4-6 different things it keeps you away from the really important stuff. Let’s say you are a great cook and have opened your own restaurant. You need to be focused on keeping the quality of the food and the service up to standard, and on making the right adjustments.

    Advertising

    If you suddenly start mopping the floors, acting as head chef, doing your own accounting, promoting the restaurant on social media and posting two articles a day on your website’s blog, chances are you are going to burn out, and the restaurant will be in a poor state. You don’t have to hire an army of people, but be sure to delegate the heavy grunt work and focus on making business decisions and managing your employees.

    3. You don’t utilize modern technology to its full potential

    We’ve already touched on the importance of social media interactions, but small business can be greatly improved through the liberal use of online technologies. With fast and adaptable approaches to software development, i.e. focusing on agile methodology, it is possible get exactly what you need in a relatively short time, through effective communication with the developers and on-the-fly tweaks.

    A good website allows companies to reach out and market themselves to an international audience, while the right custom software helps them significantly improve their efficiency, cut down on costs, and. For retailers and restaurants, switching to a more modern POS system can make a huge difference, while many different small business can save time and money in the long run using applications specifically tailored to their needs.

    Advertising

    4. You don’t set yourself apart from everyone else

    Standing out

      A business can do quite well, and stay afloat for years making a modest profit even if it doesn’t have any special features that make them particularly unique or appealing. However, you never want to get into the “let’s just get by” mindset, as it will all but ensure that your business never grows past those initial stages. Unless you are dealing with a very limited niche market, you will have to deal with a relatively saturated market, so any defining feature that helps you stand out and makes people remember you is going to be a key component in sparking growth.

      5. You focus on growth at the expense of everything else

      There will come a time where you have enough of a demand for your products and to warrant expansion, and an efficiency that allows for this expansion to happen. However, it needs to be done strategically. A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of jumping at the opportunity to expand their business at the first chance they get, and focusing all their energy on that goal. This can lead to a drop in quality of service as you start spreading your resources thin. It is important to scale your growth based on what you can realistically handle without sacrificing productivity or quality.

      Advertising

      6. You can’t handle the extra workload effectively

      This is a direct extension of the last point. A lot of people believe that once their business starts growing things will magically fall into place and that they will be able to sit back and let this well-oiled money-making machine of theirs keep growing exponentially. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As your business grows so do your obligations and complications. It’s easy to underestimate the level of work that goes into it, and face the sobering truth – you are not prepared to take on the extra workload. This is where things can really fall apart, forcing businesses to work hard just to stay afloat, let alone turn a profit.

      Even if you make the first big steps and start growing your business, you can still hit a wall if you haven’t planed things out right. It’s similar to how Hollywood movies often go well over the initial budget as the production drags on, and many of them end up as scrapped projects as a result. Be realistic about how much a project will cost and how much time and effort it will take to see it through. If you are overconfident and don’t anticipate little setbacks and hidden costs, you may very well cut yourself short and keep stagnating.

      More by this author

      Ivan Dimitrijevic

      SEO Consultant

      5 Exercises To Improve Intimacy and Create a Better Relationship 8 Fun and Unique Birthday Party Ideas for People in Their 20s 50 Cleaning Hacks for Your Home That Will Make Your Life Easier 40 Amazing Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day 9 Unexpected Benefits Of Foot Massage That Make You Want To Have One Now

      Trending in Work

      1 17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team 2 17 Ways to Ace Your Next Phone Interview And Land the Job You Deserve 3 How to Work Smarter Not Harder with These 12 Tips 4 5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team 5 How to Dress for Success While You’re Working with a Tight Budget

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising

      Published on September 18, 2018

      17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

      17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

      Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

      Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

      Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

      After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

      Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

      1. Show your appreciation

      In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

      The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

      Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

      2. Communicate effectively

      Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

      Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

      3. Be open to dialogue

      Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

      New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

      Advertising

      In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

      For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

      4. Provide constructive criticism

      Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

      So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

      Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

      Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

      Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

      5. Conduct one-on-ones

      Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

      While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

      Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

      More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

      6. Build training programs

      In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

      Advertising

      From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

      While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

      7. Offer growth opportunities

      Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

      Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

      Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

      8. Reward them

      Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

      If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

      Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

      9. Encourage team outings

      Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

      From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

      10. Involve them

      Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

      Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

      Advertising

      11. Set meaningful goals

      In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

      Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

      12. Empower them

      You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

      Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

      Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

      13. Deal with conflict

      A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

      How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

      As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

      14. Implement a flexible work culture

      Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

      Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

      It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

      15. Host engaging activities

      All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

      Advertising

      From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

      16. Maintain a positive work space

      Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

      Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

      These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

      17. Avoid discrimination

      Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

      In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

      The bottom line

      Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

      It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

      This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Read Next