Wouldn’t it be great if your business progressed steadily, with revenue consistently going up? That may be ideal, but it’s not reality for most startups. It’s likely that every small business will experience revenue stalling or declining. But, what do you do when your revenue flatlines? It may be time to rethink your business plan and seek inspiration elsewhere.
Solicit revenue ideas from employees
Your employees are your main asset, and they’re the people with the best knowledge of how your business operates and what you could be doing to improve. To encourage employees to share their ideas on how to improve operations and grow revenue, offer them incentives and be sure the company knows how much you value their insight. You could try holding a contest for employees to submit ideas, and if they are implemented, they then receive a gift card, bonus or other special recognition.
Engage with customers
Figuring out ways to overcome a revenue slump might come from asking your customers what they want. Offer customers a discount for completing a survey, or send out a quick poll in an email. Another way you can engage with customers is to ask their opinion on social media. A company that makes scented candles, for example, might create a post on social media that asks fans to share their favorite scents of summer. The company can take the most popular responses and fashion a special seasonal line of candles featuring scents they already know their customers would buy.
Forge new relationships
Oftentimes, when an entrepreneur believes he or she is out of ideas, he or she may just need to form some new connections. It may be that the ideas are already out there, but the execution hasn’t been possible before without the right relationships. It may be time to sign up for local networking events and industry conferences.
This may also mean simply asking your own network for help. If you create software that assists legal offices by streamlining the billing process, for example, you might wonder if other marketing agencies could benefit from this software as well, but you don’t know the typical sales process for these businesses or the main points to address in your pitch. You could grow your revenue tremendously just by sending a note out to your network or searching your LinkedIn for a relevant contact. It might just take one coffee meeting to help you understand and connect with an entirely new revenue stream.
Invest in upgrades
While it might seem counterintuitive to put out more money when your revenue is declining or at a plateau, some extra upgrades could be just what your business needs to set it back on a upwards trajectory. Investing in new equipment, fresh employees, upgraded software or a new strategic marketing campaign could make all the difference and breathe some fresh life into your business. If finances are very tight, consider pursuing a small business loan, a new line of credit, or some alternative funding methods to get the money you need to invest in what your business must have to grow.
What to do when your revenue plateaus? It’s time to think differently and try something new. Look for some fresh inspiration and engage your customers and colleagues.
This article was originally published on LendingTree.com on Aug. 3, 2016.
Content sponsored by LendingTree.