What to Do When Small Businesses Begin to Stagnate

Millions of small business owners know that they can't always expect growth to be continual or timely, and many companies go through fallow periods where prospects for expansion seem out of reach. However, there are ways in which entrepreneurs can navigate these often murky waters and get themselves and their businesses back on track.

As with just about anything else in one's life, small businesses can occasionally become a little stagnant and start to plateau in terms of growth or innovation, but it's important for owners not to get too discouraged when things don't go their way, and look for as many ways as possible to shake themselves and their companies out of the rut, according to a report from Small Business Computing. One of the easiest ways for owners to do this is to try to think a little differently about the ways they go about their everyday business, and potentially try to think outside the box when it comes to delivering the services or goods they currently offer. Companies that don't do all they can to adapt when they hit a rocky patch might find themselves left behind, so trying to figure out the best ways to deal with these issues will be crucial to future success.

"Creativity drives our economy forward," Rana Florida, CEO of consulting firm Creative Class Group, told the site. "Successful leaders understand that creativity requires diversity, and they bring together people who represent a wide range of perspectives and ways of doing things."

One of the best ways to be more creative is to start listening to other peoples' voices or opinions on some matters, the report said. Collaboration can be a great way for owners to shake themselves out of a funk and get their companies back on track when it comes to taking steps forward and engaging customers or clients in a new way. This doesn't necessarily mean that every idea another worker in one's company will be a great one, but getting a feel for what others at a business think, and taking the time to consider all the possibilities, or ways to build upon those initial ideas, could help to give owners the spark they need to improve.

Time to get a little risky?
Of course, when it comes to being creative, that often involves doing things that might be a little outside one's comfort zone, the report said. Most people are risk-averse to begin with, and this may be especially true of small business owners who want to protect what they've built, but putting themselves out there, at least somewhat, may be exactly what a company needs to take even a small step forward and shake off a bit of the rust they might have built up over time.

And with risk obviously comes failure in some cases, the report said. The important thing is that businesses not be discouraged by something that doesn't necessarily work exactly as they had hoped, and instead use it as a stepping stone, or take a few lessons from the process. Stepping outside after something goes sideways might be a great way to view why some aspects of a new idea worked, while others did not. That, in turn, could inform future decisions along these same lines.

Owners who are looking to get a little more creative with how their companies are run might also want to look into small business insurance options that would give them increased financial flexibility. For instance, finding more affordable liability insurance or workers' compensation policies could help to improve a company's bottom line and allow for a little more creativity without the massive risk.