The dictionary literally defines luster as “a period of five years”. That’s one of its definitions, anyway, but the point is that it is temporary. When you open a new business that is well-planned out, there’s a good chance that you’ll have great success and hopefully, broad acceptance from the market.
The challenge is that, for many small businesses, that initial period of massive popularity will be short-lived—probably a lot shorter than five years—after which the luster fades and revenue plateaus. This is extremely common, though, and it is a phenomenon that a company can overcome with the right strategy.
The first and best way to overcome this obstacle is to continue to innovate. It’s really easy to keep on doing what brought you so much success in the first place, and whatever you’re already doing will bring you loyal customers who got in on the ground floor.
But the market can be fickle, and the excitement about your product usually, inexplicably, dies down after a time, at which time you will need to take some action to keep bringing in new customers.
You need to reinvigorate people; you need keep them interested in your business through fresh ideas and offer new products or services that make them excited about you again. It may just mean adding new features. Invest in innovation to keep the magic alive.
Listen to Your Loyal Customers
Just because you’re innovating new product doesn’t mean that you should stop producing what got you here in the first place or neglect your existing customers. They are the ones who believed in what you do, and moreover, they are the ones who can help you reach the next level.
What are your customers telling you that they need? What are the things that are wrong with your product? You can gain invaluable insight into what is needed to move your business forward by simply listening to existing, and even prospective customers. If they aren’t offering their feedback, then you can always just ask.
Your revenue might also be leveling out because you’ve only been targeting a small region, or a specific demographic. It may be time to scale up.
There are a variety of ways to reach new groups of potential customers, which all depends on how much time and money you have available to expand your reach, as well as how creative you are with it.
You can open an online store or offer services online, promote heavily on social media, or open a new location in a strategic area if it’s within your budget. However you do it, the idea is to simply get your product or service in front of more people in as many places as possible.
It’s not easy for any business when the “honeymoon period” starts to taper off, and this honestly will not even be an issue for some. If the luster does begin to wear off after a while, though, then the name of the game is innovation. Without leaving your loyal customers behind, a great course of action is to produce new ideas that excite new customers as much as your original offerings.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.