How to overcome stagnation in the company

Do you know the situation when a company that has been actively developing for a while, quarterly happy with your growth charts and profits, somehow quietly begins to slow down its growth? Coolly climbing up the graphics are becoming more and better – even now it is not far to the horizontal.

Any company sooner or later exhausts the existing development potential, and stabilizes at the achieved level. And this is normal – after all, the achieved results must be consolidated, the internal organization – brought into line with the changed realities. 10 employees are not the same as 50, but 50 is not the same as 500.

However, time passes, and the time comes when you understand that you need to move on. You are already quite familiar with the new level, it has become too small for you, and you are ready for new achievements. Yes, and the competitors are pressing – they, too, did not stand on the spot all this time. And here there is an unexpected problem – you do not understand, where to you to move, as well as due to what to develop.

business stagnation
Image Source: Google Image

Perhaps, before, your company went ahead on the wave of an innovative idea, a new development, or successfully found an unoccupied niche. However, now your idea is far from new and widespread, the development has long been implemented and has lost its relevance, and the prospective niche is fully worked out. So, what is next?

You need new ideas, but no one is in a hurry to bring them to you on a silver platter, and nothing in the head comes to your head. And where to get the resources is also not an idle question. Development requires investments that will pay off or not – it is not yet clear. So what to do in this difficult situation? After all, it absolutely causes you serious anxiety: the market is constantly moving forward, and, stopping, you will sooner or later be in the outsiders.

“Points of growth”

To begin with, it is necessary to understand what opportunities for development – non-obvious “points of growth” – are already available to you. You want to say: they are not? Did you look carefully and did not find anything? This is not surprising – after all, you are inside the situation and inside the “system”, so you cannot look at everything from the outside. It’s like in a well-known geometric puzzle – in order to find a solution, you need to “just” go beyond the boundaries of the visually delineated square.

business stagnation
Fig 1: In the task, you need to connect all the points with four lines, without lifting the pencil from the sheet of paper. This can be done only by going beyond the boundaries of the square formed by the points.

Who can help you in this situation? Well, if you have a good friend or a long-time partner who has the experience of running a similar business behind him, he will be able to look at your situation without prejudice and see the opportunities hidden from you, most often, precisely because of his obviousness. One condition – it should not be related to your organization. Otherwise, his view will be as much prejudiced as yours.

Another option is to invite a professional from outside. You can update the management of the company to breathe new life into it, or use the services of a consulting company. The variant of consulting is faster, less laborious and less expensive – you do not have to spend time and effort on finding the right candidate for the key position you are looking for, you know how hard it is, and the price of your mistake in case of wrong choice will not be so is great.

Idea’s generator

The next moment – you can create conditions for generating new ideas in the company; stimulate your employees to regularly throw new ideas. It is not easy to do this – it will be necessary to make changes to the existing corporate culture, and also to think carefully both the motivation system and the system of filtering and selecting ideas so as not to get bogged down in the grief of frank garbage. But it’s worth it. A lot of non-standard ideas that gave rise to the most famous companies, was born in the minds of completely “ordinary” personalities.

Western business has long appreciated the advantages of “ideas from the people”, there is even a special term – “crowdsourcing”. Crowdsourcing is actively using such “monsters” of Western business as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Starbucks, Fiat.

business stagnation
Fig 2: The famous koosh ball, which brought to its author, Scott Stilinger, millions of dollars.

And this concerns not only the ideas of new products and services, but also the optimization of current business processes.

To create the “Idea Generator” on its own …

  1. Analyze the current situation with the ideas in your company. How often do initiatives come? Who is active, what inspires them?Do ideas reach the incarnation? If there is no activity, then why?
  2. Conduct a competition of ideas with a substantial prize.
  3. Introduce in the incentive system elements aimed at stimulating the generation of ideas – from traditional monetary bonuses to making public gratitude.
  4. Be sure to implement ideas. Often the main motivation is not a prize or money, but an opportunity to see the results of your work.

You may also like to read: 10 Keys to Succeeding in Rural Entrepreneurship

Hidden Reserves

Another necessary measure is a complete audit of available resources, and an assessment of the effectiveness of their use. As a rule, everything necessary for the growth and development of the company already exists within the company itself. We assure you that there is not one organization that uses its resources 100%. From our practice, this value is about 20-30%. Can you imagine how many opportunities you miss every day? Finding hidden reserves is also an uneasy task (otherwise they would not be hidden), but quite solvable.

business stagnation
Image Source: Google Image

To increase the efficiency of resource use, it is necessary to “lubricate” and debug the internal mechanisms of your organization, to fine-tune them.

Having done these three steps, you will show the most natural for your company at this stage of development, which will maximize the use of your existing resources and opportunities, and therefore – require a minimum of external resources, less effort and financial costs.

It is quite possible to conduct this work on your own, but you will need specialists with relevant experience and qualifications and an ability to look at the processes taking place in your company.

Significantly facilitate the task of attracting external moderators who have the experience of such work and the necessary competencies, who can see the internal resources of the company and create conditions for their activation.

If you need help in initiating and organizing the development process in your company, if you do not know where to start, and the proposed recommendations seem too complicated for you to do it yourself, we will gladly help your company open new horizons for its development, launch a flywheel of changes and involve your employees in them, so that they become not a brake, but an engine of the renewal processes taking place in the company.

business stagnation
Image Source: Google Image

Solution for big companies

Finally, there is another way out that does not require a global internal “shake-up” and serious body movements, but will organically integrate into your organization as an additional unit that will become an inexhaustible source of new ideas and promising projects, allowing your company to grow regularly new directions. What are we talking about? What is this magic unit, you ask? It’s about accelerator projects, which you can organize and maintain as one of your units. An alternative form can be a corporate hackathon (developer forum, during which specialists from different areas of software development – programmers, designers, managers – work together to solve a problem) or a short-term accelerating program, organized and conducted from time to time.

Of course, this decision will also require additional, first of all, financial investments, and it is only useful for large companies. However, you will never experience problems with new ideas and new business lines.

Of course, this is not a complete list of possible ways to solve this problem – in addition, it is possible to combine these methods in various ways among themselves. At the same time, it is not so important which decision method you will ultimately choose. It is important, that the decision chosen by you really could move your company from a dead center and stimulate necessary changes.

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