“I’ve hit a wall, and I just don’t know what to do.” In entrepreneurial circles I have traveled in, I hear variations of this phrase, but they are usually in whispers.
No one likes to talk about what some may perceive as “business failure.” In today’s culture, we measure ourselves by how well we are doing professionally. However, for entrepreneurs, this feeling is probably elevated by a few more levels.
We are surrounded by Instagram and Twitter posts that celebrate business victories, or a slew of motivational sayings that make acknowledging that something is wrong a non-option.
However, again, while no one likes to talk about their business struggles, a lack of growth could be a good thing.
Toward the beginning of my freelance career, I had my ups and downs. However, about a year in I was starting to see a decline in my work. I was distraught, and like many, I didn’t want to talk about it. However, one day, I was sitting with a SCORE mentor, and he brought up the fact that I may want to think about narrowing my target audience and sharpening my focus on this group.
My business-plateau had turned into a new opportunity. It was a signal that it was time to change, grow, and evolve.
Regardless of what is going on right now, you can grow your business. You don’t have to panic and think that failure is inevitable. Here are four tips on how to improve your business growth.
Be Open to Acknowledging What Isn’t Working
Maybe that new idea didn’t translate well with your audience. It could also be that you haven’t switched up your digital marketing approach. Whatever the case could be, it is time for a change. Nevertheless, before this can occur, you have to acknowledge that what you are currently doing isn’t working.
As entrepreneurs, we are so used to having all the answers and figuring things out on our own. Well, you are not always going to get it right and guess what, you don’t have to.
I challenge you to take a look at some metrics or indicators that are crucial to your business. Monitor them over a four to six-week period. If you do not see the results you want, then it is time to switch things up. Coming to grips with what is not working is essential to improve business growth.
Measure Everything to Grow Your Business
Many influential entrepreneurs and business leaders have indicated that “you cannot improve what you don’t measure.” They are right. You don’t know if something you made for dinner is edible unless you taste it. On the other hand, you cannot improve your stamina unless you know how far you can run. The same is correct when it comes to business.
It is crucial to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to grow your business. For example, if you are an independent game developer who makes and sells games, the amount of people who purchase your games is definitely a critical indicator of success. However, it would help if you went a little deeper. One way you can do this is by seeing how many people clicked on your game, but didn’t buy.
If the number is relatively high, you can see if there is something that is turning customers away. Is there a glitch keeping them from completing a sale, or do you need to change the game’s thumbnail? A simple conversion measurement can give you the details you need to switch up your approach.
Find Out If You Are Targeting the Right People
One significant step you need to take to grow your business is acknowledging that you may not be targeting the right audience, or might not be in the best location to reach them. Let’s say that you are an emerging YouTuber who wants to appeal to young adults between the ages of 18 and 28. You are probably not going to want to use Facebook as your primary social media platform. Instead, your audience is going to likely be found in places like Tik Tok and potentially Instagram.
There are two parts to reaching the right audience. First is understanding who they are, and the second is knowing where they are. Take some time to understand whom you are trying to reach. This step is where creating a value and vision statement for your business comes in handy. You are establishing what you do, and making it easy for the right audience to see what you bring to the table.
So, do a bit of research. This step can be anything from seeing who is engaging with your posts (liking, sharing, and commenting) to who is making the final purchase. The individuals who are deciding to sign up for your newsletter or make a purchase on your e-commerce store may not be who you originally planned for. As a result, find out who these current people are and create content that appeals to them.
Be Okay with Experimentation
Business is connected to science in more ways than we think. A business idea is like a hypothesis, and your actual business plan is like an experiment to see if this hypothesis is correct. When you look at your business like this, it will be much easier to be flexible when it comes to trying out new things. Now, I am not saying to make drastic changes. However, it would be best if you were open to making small incremental modifications.
For example, you may want more clickthroughs to your website on Instagram. Currently, you have only been posting photos with a few hashtags. One way you can switch things up is to start doing live videos to increase engagement and allow your audience to get to know you.
If this doesn’t work, then try something else. The key is to give your efforts some time, commit to them, and then measure the outcomes. Again, you don’t have to have everything figured out at every stage of your business. Ultimately, you want to make yourself comfortable with experimenting until you figure out what works. This is essential for you to grow your business.
It Is Never Too Late to Grow Your Business
You may feel that the ship has sailed and that there isn’t any way you can get your business back on the right track. I am here to tell you that you can. It is going to take some commitment, optimism, and openness to experimentation. It also isn’t a bad idea to get the views of someone else. Ask a mentor, business coach, or even a colleague for their perspective. They may have ideas that you have never thought of.
A plateau doesn’t have to mean failure. It can be just the push you need to develop a new strategy to improve your business growth.