Is Your Business Plateauing? Do this…

You never thought it would happen.

Things started so well.

You had this firecracker of an idea. So you launched a start-up that soon began wracking-up clients left and right. Months rolled and sales also kept rolling in. It was all looking up.

Then suddenly, without warning, sales flatlined. Customer acquisition slowed down to a trickle.

Yes, the business is still alive, but the numbers are not as exciting as before. Morale is low, and your people are simply going through the motions of work. Seems like you’ve hit a ceiling and can’t break through.

Your business has hit a plateau and how you react will determine whether you (a) fold up and quit, (b) languish for years and eventually quit, or (c) move to another level of success.

Is plateauing a bad thing?

It depends on how you look at it.

Where do you want to take the business?

If you accept that businesses and industries often follow a 5-stage cycle of Startup-Growth-Shakeout-Maturity-Decline, then plateauing isn’t as bad as it sounds, but par for the course. It’s inevitable. Businesses reach a maturing stage where profits and margins begin to thin out.

business plateauing

There is a lot of single-store, local shop owners who are perfectly happy with the size of their monthly cash flow. They don’t want to expand, add more stores or get a bigger take. They feel at home with the sustainable plateau and that’s okay.     

But for many, and those with more excellent vision, plateauing is a hump they need to get over.

They believe in the innate potential of the business and they want it realized.

If that’s you, then read on.  

What To Do When My Business Plateaus?

1) Look inward

Diagnose your business and discover why things are the way they are. (Don’t just throw a wad of money on the problem.)

What metric is most concerning for you? Is the sales flat or declining sales? Is it the lack of new customers brought in? Or is it the low morale of the people inside?

From your chosen metric, look inwards and ask questions like:

Is our productivity down?

Is our marketing strategy outdated?

Is team performance down?

Are our business processes optimized?

Are there processes that waste time and resources?

With these inquiries, the way to your salvation might be as bright as runway lights. You might find out, for example, that there are processes that are draining your company’s resources. You might also see that there are certain products, individuals or strategies that are having a considerable negative impact and are bringing everything else down.

Look at your process flow and you might see where the leaks are.

Of course, you can only come to firm conclusions if you have the numbers to back you up.  You cannot rely on gut feel alone. So if you have not been measuring vital KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) like revenue growth, revenue per client, client retention rate, internal process quality, or financial performance index, that might be half the problem.

2) Look outward

Conduct an industry analysis. After checking your backyard, you might want to look at the street or village you’re in. Your industry as a whole could be experiencing a plateau or even a downward trend. Market conditions are not favourable for you and your competition, so sustainable growth is just out of the question for all.   

Find the limitations of your industry and ask questions like:

Is the size of the market expanding?

Is the market saturated?

Are my competitors growing?

Is my industry responsive to the recent developments?

Who are the leaders and laggers of my industry?

Watch your competitors and see how they are faring. If they are sustainably growing, if they are enjoying strong profits and you are not, then they must be doing something that you are not. Find out what that is quickly and adapt.

What fundamental changes in your niche are taking place? For example, you might see that the clients you used to serve have moved on to something else, like a cheaper substitute or a much more efficient option. Or that the problems you used to solve have been addressed by newer and cheaper technologies.

This will compel you to reimagine your whole enterprise. ,. 

3) Offer something new

Reimagine your company.

There’s no use in sticking to something that has ceased to work or has become obsolete. If you are to survive, you must never be obsolete.

Think of McDonald’s. It has always sold the same burgers day in and day out. But over the decades, through creative product development and marketing, infusion of capital, winning tie-ups and collaborations, the company has always made itself relevant, able to command a queue during breakfast, lunch or dinner.

When customers are not buying, it could mean that the novelty of your products or services has worn off. Unique selling points may have gone stale or the trend may have played its course. For whatever reason, it’s time for something different.

This doesn’t mean starting from square one necessarily. This can be a big ask for the marketing team. When marketing efforts are barely felt, that’s a strong case for the overhaul of marketing activities, and materials—a new packaging, a new tag line, a revamped image that reflects the realities on the field.  Put a new spin, a new angle on your existing product lines.

Target a different customer segment. There could be untapped or underserved groups of people or demographics that can turn into a new revenue source. 

Play around with your existing product line and, for example, bundle items, create packages, target different price points, or craft novel uses for your products.    

Lastly, “offering something new,” could mean developing new products, substitute products, complementary products, or allied services to extend the reach of your business. This is not easy, and there’s a possibility of cannibalizing your brand or shifting into industries that are beyond your core competency. Still, if done right, it can save your company from oblivion.  

4) Use Technology

You could be losing the sale because your competitors are utilising technology that tilts things heavily in their favour.

An app that makes ordering food a cinch beats a restaurant just waiting for customers to walk by. Your competitors are screaming from customers’ smartphones…in their living rooms, practically 24/7. Meanwhile, you just have somebody standing outside the restaurant ushering people in.

Technology, whatever form it takes, is not the competitive edge it once was. It has become the standard way of doing things. Businesses must enlist whatever technology is on offer.

Using fast, reliable equipment can get so much work done in a short time. The machine will always outwork and outproduce human beings. Granted, some things would probably be always “made by human hands,” but to survive in this day and age, automate and streamline as much of the business as possible. (Your competition is doing it!)

Plateauing sales could signal a change in the way the game is played. And technology is often behind these game-changing innovations.

You will be up against more efficient, more aggressive players. Yes, you will always have your piece of the pie, your loyal customers, but unless you conscript technology, you will always be at its mercy.

5) Ask for help

If you’ve reached this point and are still thinking, “I still don’t know what to do!”, count yourself in good company.

Owners can be so entrenched in routines that it robs them of the ability to think creatively. Being too close to the issues is blinding. Work becomes too ingrained that re-imagining the enterprise, and thinking of new ways to generate sales and customers, become next to impossible.

What you need is a fresh set of eyes, one that can look at things in new ways.

You can source this internally, by talking to folks who live outside your executive orbit—line managers, staff, rank and file—people who, through their role and position, have a different view of the company.

You can also talk to customers and get feedback.

These two groups are almost always fertile sources of information and insights.

Lastly, consider hiring an external consultant. They specialise in these issues, bringing experience gained from previous engagements. They have an emotional distance from the project, with their thinking data-driven rather than muddled by personal or emotional biases. Most of all, the biggest benefit is that they have fresh eyes to look at things in a new light.

what to do if business is plateauing


Remember the 5 mentioned above and get your company roaring again.

That said, there is one more way of getting your business out of a slump. It is by hiring team members that can help take your enterprise to the next level without breaking the bank. The brains and skills comprising your team are crucial in executing the strategies mentioned above.

Kinetic Innovative Staffing helps struggling businesses by providing them with highly qualified remote workers at the fraction of the cost.

We have unequalled access to a rich pool of vetted remote workers like virtual assistants, graphic designers, software developers, writers, customer service representatives, engineers, architects, accountants etc. You can enlist these seasoned talents to bolster your competitiveness while experiencing a 70% savings in labour costs.

Interested? Let us show you how.  



Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.   

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