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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

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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      Ivan Dimitrijevic

      Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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      Last Updated on May 20, 2020

      What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

      What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

      Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

      These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

      What Are Analytical Skills?

      According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

      “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

      Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

      Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

      Visualization

      Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

      Critical Thinking

      Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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      As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

      Computing

      Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

      In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

      Problem-Solving

      Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

      Resource Management

      Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

      For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

      Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

      For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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      The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

      Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

      There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

      For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

      If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

      What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

      Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

      6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

      There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

      Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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      But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

      Below are a few strategies to get you started:

      1. Ideate Business Ideas

      Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

      You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

      2. Leverage Analytical Tools

      Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

      3. Have a Personal Learning Library

      Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

      Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

      For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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      4. Participate in Online Communities

      The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

      For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

      5. Seek Mental Stimulation

      To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

      6. Keep a Personal Journal

      Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

      Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

      Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

      Bottom Line

      As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

      More Success Skillset

      Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
      [2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
      [3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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