By Brian McKay

At some point in their lives, almost all businesses experience a period of stagnation. We’ve seen this phenomenon in practically every company, right up to the mighty Apple.


Interestingly, growth problems often have nothing to do with the product or customer service. But firms have a habit of doubling down on their old strategies to try to reverse course. They go into debt, do more marketing and try to reinvent themselves. The problem with this is that extra marketing might not be doing anything to address the core issues. Before dumping a load of capital into your business, ask yourself whether any of the following are true.


You’re Chasing Only The Big Contracts


Practically every business wants to win big, prestigious contracts. But the reality is that those contracts usually only come around once in a blue moon. Plus, they take an enormous amount of energy and resources to win. That, in turn, could put your company at risk.


The good news is that you don’t have to attract the biggest businesses to be a success. At least, not in the beginning. Instead, you can opt to service a range of smaller clients, which will provide more security for your business. Small businesses make up 99.7 percent of employer firms, according to Entrepreneur. That means that there are plenty of opportunities to make new client relationships.


Your Office Is Not Fit For Purpose


It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that startups like to do things on the cheap. But your business isn’t a startup anymore. And skimping on your office space may, in fact, be hurting your business. When you first started, the founders of your company didn’t have a problem working in a dive. But now you’re entertaining clients and trying to attract fresh talent; your tiny portacabin is no longer fit for purpose. Call in the office removalists and begin the process of relocation to offices with the facilities you need.


You’re Failing To Work With Complementary Businesses


In today’s connected economy, the idea that startups can flourish on their own is a fantasy. Startups need complementary businesses to get established and reach new clients. Unfortunately, many new businesses don’t bother connecting with complementary businesses. As a result, they burnout.


There are loads of ways businesses can use complementary businesses to maximize their impact. First off, they can source talent by using Meetup, LinkedIn or industry associations. Second, they can come to mutual commission relationships to supply ancillary services.


The Reason To Choose You Isn’t Obvious


Small businesses used only to care about location. If they had a great location, they’d steal all the local business and dominate the market. But location isn’t what it once was. In the early 21st century, it’s all about branding.


Branding is what helps firms differentiate themselves from the competition. There needs to be a reason why customers would choose your product over that of a competitor. It’s not enough to be “just as good.” Being just as good as the market leader won’t do much to win you market share. Think of ways to use your brand to inspire your customers. Use surveys to find out where you could improve.

Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University and an M.B.A. from Boise State University (yes that blue field). His goal in life is to look out for the regular guy and bring as much knowledge and change to this world as he can. His purpose in founding Zenruption was to do just that and help craft the world he wants his daughter to inherit. Please feel free to email him any feedback or article ideas at  On twitter: @brianmckay71

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