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What action should you take when growth slows and profits stall?

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by Startacus Admin


Karen Dunne-Squire, founder of Elation Experts, shares insights and tips that will help you develop a dynamic approach to business growth

photo-1454165804606-c3d57bc86b40 (As a startup you may not be expecting immediate profits but you may be dreaming of a day when you have steady, organic growth, a consistent but manageable increase in revenue, with controlled overheads and sustained profit margins. In other words, you have created a business that is developing new customers steadily and regularly maintaining growth targets.

As startup founders that is where you are aiming. However, I may be about to disappoint you as in my experience it is hard for this to happen without complex acquisitions or mergers.

Businesses who rely on achieving growth by increasing output always, at some time, hit the dreaded plateaux. Inevitably at some point the growth slows down. The practices and processes internally within the business reach their saturation point. They cannot achieve any more sales without doing things differently and all the small changes they make stop yielding results.

This means it’s time to think about something new and if merger or acquisition is not the route you want to take, you’ll need a new idea and the corresponding new actions to generate dynamic growth.

Over the last 10 years I have been working on defining the characteristics of highly successful businesses to understand how they harness growth.

To help you prepare for the time when your business slows down let me share three key pillars that will help you develop a dynamic approach to business growth.

1) Your Customer Journey Pillar

The experience that your customer has when they work with your business is everything. 

You have a responsibility to shape a journey that not only educates your customer on the value of your offering, but also ensures that they experience your business as credible and professional.

photo-1559526324-593bc073d938.Really robust businesses, that exceed their own growth expectations, have very diverse and well-planned customer journeys; they consider carefully the stages through which their customers travel and the impact that that has on their decision-making journey.  As well as a highly tuned customer experience they have internal processes that create productivity and efficiency.

When understanding the challenges of a plateau to business growth the first place to focus is on the detail of your customer sales process. A well planned and diverse customer journey that your team implements effectively will be sure to maximise your conversion rate and revenue generation. 

Dynamic businesses will be thinking today about specifically what experience their customer has when dealing with their business and will be asking questions about how to enhance the quality and content of that journey.  Really high quality sales process methodology will allow your startup to draw in more customers and make more revenue and ultimately generate more profit.

TO DO:  Put time into interrogating the experience that customers have when working with you.  What are the stages that they move through? Is the way that you and your team interact with your customers well defined and diverse?  Is their experience one of consistently high quality?  Unless the journey your customers undertake is smooth and effective your business will be losing money.

2) Your Customer Communication Pillar

The customer communications pillar within your startup deals with every communication that your customer is exposed to and looks at how it impacts their decision-making.  As the range of channels increases and we have ever more marketing and sales communications to explore, a smart business will look closely at its communications pillar. 

Whether it be the software you use to generate proposal, the quality of the telephone calls that your sales team are making to your customers, or the business cards you handout at face-to-face events, a really strong communication pillar embraces multiple channels and creates high quality guidelines around how these channels are to be used.

photo-1559523182-a284c3fb7cff (It is not simply a case of using email, it is a case of crafting an email that has a powerful impact within the sales communications pillar. Never take your eye off the content, structure, tone and delivery of every sales and marketing activity that comes out of your business. The message here is that if your communications to your customers are not of the highest possible standards, you will not be achieving the highest possible results.

TO DO: Make sure that you evaluate your customer communications.  Go back to basics. Look at all your communications and check them for quality. Setup clear communications guidelines and make sure that your entire team is across them and implementing them.

3) Your People Management Pillar

The management area of your business refers to the processes and practises that your startup uses to ensure that your customer journey is implemented to the highest possible standard.

Within the area of management, you need to look at the structure of your business to ensure you have the right number of resources and that each person is working in the right fit in the right role.  That way all the resources can be lined up behind the customer journey so that it can be delivered to the highest standards. 

Once you're clear that the people in your team are right, you then need to be thinking about how those people communicate with one another internally.  Think about how you train and develop those resources to ensure they have the highest possible skill set; understand how performance is managed in an organisation to ensure that everyone is driving towards the right goals and achieving the right targets.  All of these areas come together to form the management culture that is shaping your startup.  

If you are focused on ensuring that your people are in an environment where they can perform to their maximum you will achieve better results. So, really dynamic businesses are asking; is my workforce well trained, well recruited and well developed? If the answer to any of those questions is no, it’ll have a negative impact on the amount of money you're generating.

TO DO: Review all the members of your team. Are they the right fit? Are they where they can best perform and let their skills truly shine? Is additional training required? Is everyone aligned with the vision for the business?

As a startup founder having the tools to drive constant growth is one of the most powerful skills you can develop; a skill that will serve you well in your current business and in other endeavours in the future.


Karen Dunne-Squire is founder of Elation Experts, which is on a mission to empower SME’s by giving them the knowledge and skills to increase revenue, build powerful sales opportunities and create committed, loyal teams that are motivated to drive change. Karen is a sought-after keynote speaker and creator of The Growth Framework, an award-winning methodology, applying ‘Big Business Corporate Insights’ to SMEs in a way that makes practical sense for them.  

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Published on: 11th June 2021

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