What to do when growth hits a plateau

Companies of all sizes go through growth curves:  Times of healthy growth followed by a leveling-off and a growth plateau.  It has happened, for example, at Apple when steep growth periods for Macs, iPods, iPhones, and tablets were each followed by plateaus until the next new product hit.  Going through these cycles is normal.  The key is what to do when you are about to hit a plateau, or already in one.
When weak companies hit a growth plateau they typically dismiss it because they’ve become complacent, thinking that growth will certainly continue — like Blackberry when the iPhone came out.  “It’s just a toy,” they said, “it will never be accepted by the corporate market.”  When it becomes clear that the plateau is real, these companies try hard to protect their turf.  Remember the market skirmishes between Kodak and Fuji?  Finally, when protectionism doesn’t work, and customers begin to abandon in large numbers, the reality sinks in.
The way stronger companies get out of a growth plateau is through innovation.  Sometimes it’s product innovation, like Apple; and sometimes it involves changing the entire company like Intel did in the 1980s.
How soon will your next growth plateau hit?  And what are you doing to increase innovation in your company?

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