Picture this: Business growth is going awesome- Week-to-week sales keep climbing, and you’re gaining the traction you want. But then one day, you have a look at your metrics and see that you’ve somehow come to a wall. Instead of growing, you’re now stagnating.
In an effort to kick growth up again, you work even harder, but it doesn’t do you any good. Not to mention that your anxiety is through the roof!
Business growth stagnation is a common yet rarely spoken about business problem. Because it’s seldom spoken about, many entrepreneurs don’t know what to do when it happens.
To help you overcome stagnation, I’m sharing a straightforward 5-step plan to help you reignite company growth.
Unless you follow this 5-step process, then you’ll likely end up:
- Wandering around without a growth plan;
- Continuing to stagnate; and
- Feeling overwhelmed not knowing what to do.
From here on out, whether or not you continue to stagnate is 100% up to you.
1. Stop Before Doing More Damage
Before getting yourself into even more trouble (by that I mean negative business growth!), take a step back and stop what you’re doing!
Unfortunately, many business owners recognize that they’re stagnating, internally panic, and instead of stopping what they’re doing, they keep doing what they’re doing but do it even harder thinking that it’ll improve their situation.
The truth is that, if you’re in trouble, sticking with the status quo will only get you into more trouble…
For example, if you’re trying to penetrate into a new market but new customers aren’t responding to your sales and marketing strategy, the answer isn’t to go even harder on that sales and marketing strategy... Rather, the answer is to take a step back, assess what about the strategy could be causing problems, and then make appropriate changes.
Instead of wasting your time going down a path that clearly isn’t working well, stop, assess the situation, and then choose a better route.
Take a Break
If business growth is stagnating, set aside one day this next week to take a break. On that day, DO NOT do any work. Rather, use it as a day of reflection.
In the heat of a challenging situation, it’s difficult to stop and step back, especially when you’re an entrepreneur determined to make your business grow.
However, the truth is that you're more likely to get the breakthrough solution to stagnation that you’re looking for by taking a break versus continuing to go through the motions.
For example, how often does this happen to you- You’re faced with a new business challenge, so you sit down at your desk trying to come up with solutions. Unfortunately while you’re sitting there, you just can’t come up with any valid ideas, so you decide to take a short break. Then all of a sudden as you let your mind relax, you get the breakthrough you were hoping to get!?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, then you’ve certainly experienced that before.
Therefore, instead of going through the motions and blocking out potentially valid solutions, take a break to allow breakthroughs to come through!
Dump Thoughts Out of Your Mind
From here on out, spend 10 minutes at the end of each day doing what I like to call a brain dump.
A brain dump is when you simply write down all your thoughts from the day into a journal.
When the thoughts are on paper versus swirling around in your head, you’re able to get a clearer idea of what you need to do with them.
For example, if you spend the entire day wondering what to do about a product development issue, writing that thought down on the paper instead of letting it mess around in your head will allow you to clearly contemplate what to do about the problem.
Overall, the idea is to get thoughts out of your head so that you can clearly assess them.
2. Rally the Support You Need
Business growth isn’t a 1 man or woman show. Rather, it’s a team effort.
You need team members who will help take care of the day-to-days of business while you’re busy with the most important pieces of growth, including:
- Clarifying the business vision
- Strategic planning
- Helping customers solve their problems
Every growing business gets to the point in which it needs extra support from its team to hold it up. While this is an obvious fact, many CEOs ignore it until it’s too late. More specifically, until they start to stagnate.
As a current or former successful business owner themselves, CEO coaches understand all the ins-and-outs of entrepreneurship. With many years of experience under their belt, they’re able to give you business growth advice based on direct experience.
Not only that, but a top tier CEO coach is there to support you on a personal level. Since they’ve stood in your exact shoes before, they know how emotionally taxing it can be to take a business to the next level.
While there is no ‘secret’ to company growth success, the next best thing is CEO coaching! Get the support you need from an experienced, top-tier coach.
Align With Your Team Members
Business growth is an all hands on deck situation, so it’s imperative that you get team members aligned with the mission.
To get everybody on the same page, start holding 30-minute huddle meetings every Monday morning with all of your team members, in which you:
- Clarify the business plans
- Address challenges
- Boost overall morale
Unless you want to go the whole solopreneur route (which I don’t recommend), then you need your team on board with the mission!
3. Clarify Your Vision
One of the most pervasive problems today amongst entrepreneurs is lack of clarity.
By lack of clarity, I mean that a CEO has an idea of where they want their business to be once it grows, but they feel as if there is a thick haze covering that final destination. Moreover, their business vision isn’t totally clear.
When their vision isn’t clear, they don’t know which direction to head to make their business grow. As a result, growth stagnates!
For example, an entrepreneur might know that they want to increase market penetration in their current market, but they don’t have a clear vision of that final outcome in mind. Without that clear vision, they have no idea what moves they need to make.
Think of lack of business clarity like this- Not having a clear business vision is like getting in the car and just driving around without a final destination.
In order to set the tone for growth, clarify your vision.
Clear Away the Fog
In order to clarify your vision, ask yourself this question: What is the experience or impact that I’m trying to create through my business?
For example, co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, had a vision of a world empowered through personal technologies. At first, he had no idea that he would go on to create products like the iPhone, but he did have a vision of the impact he wanted to make. Only once he had that vision did he go on to create such amazing products.
That said, what’s the experience that you’re trying to create for your target market?
Stop Demanding Perfection
While it’s absolutely essential to clarify your vision, that doesn’t mean that it needs to be perfect right off the bat. In fact, it’ll never be perfect because perfection doesn’t exist.
Instead of demanding something that doesn’t exist, gain some clarity and continue to clarify as you grow your business!
4. Clean-Up Your Business Growth Strategy
Now that you have your vision clarified, you’re ready to clean up your growth strategy (sometimes referred to as a business model).
From now on, think of your strategy as the pathway towards that final vision.
Or better yet, think of a growth strategy like a blueprint for a new house: With a blueprint, the idea in your head can finally come to life because you have a solid plan to manifest it.
The key to a solid growth strategy is that it is clean, crisp, and uncomplicated! The absolute last thing you want to do is develop a strategy that is difficult to interpret, because that just throws off the entire purpose of having a blueprint in the first place.
Complexity is one of the key reasons why growth tends to stagnate... Don’t shoot yourself in the foot AND make yourself miserable in the process. Scale back your strategy to scale up your business!
Get Rid of the Mess
When it comes to cleaning up your strategy, remove anything that doesn’t need to be there.
Seriously, have a hard look at your strategy and ask yourself if any of the pieces are totally unnecessary. If they are unnecessary, then dispose of them immediately.
Why include something in your strategy that doesn’t need to be there? It’ll only make your growth process more complex, and when it gets more complex, you waste time, energy, and resources (not to mention you’ll get a major headache.)
To put it simply- The most effective growth strategies are the most simple and straightforward ones.
5. Delegate Your Business Goals
As the leader of your business, do you know what your most important job is?
Believe it or not, but your most important job is to, well, LEAD! While strong leadership is important at any time, it’s most important during a growth phase. Because without effective leadership, stagnation is inevitable.
Unfortunately, many business owners do anything but lead their business... Rather than leading, they get caught up in the small day-to-day goals of work. When they’re caught up in the daily process of checking goal boxes, they can’t be the leader who their team members and customers need.
For example, instead of focusing on the overarching business growth vision, they’re checking small boxes, like cleaning up the CRM and scheduling social media content, that somebody else could easily do.
Now, that isn’t to say that a clean CRM and social media profile aren’t important, but it is to say that they're not the big ticket items most important to success.
That said, in order for you to lead the business forward, you need to delegate daily goals to team members. Without delegation, you’re stuck checking the small boxes. And, when your day consists of checking boxes instead of leading, stagnation is only inevitable.
Bottom line: Unless you want to keep stagnating, then it’s about time you delegate the daily business goals!
Goals Aren’t Everything
Now, are you thinking to yourself, “Goals are extremely important, therefore it’s imperative that I work towards them instead of delegating them to the team!”?
Here’s the thing- Despite the fact that goals are often put on this high and mighty pedestal, they’re not as important as they’re made out to be.
When you really think about it, goals are boxes to be checked. Goals are steps toward your big business growth vision. So, they’re certainly important, but they’re not THE most important growth factor.
That said, by focusing on the small things like everyday goals, stagnation will certainly happen. On the flip side, if you focus on the big ticket leadership items, such as clarifying your vision and setting up a strategy, you'll keep stagnation at bay.
To put it simply- Set the goals and then delegate!
Final Thoughts on What to Do When Business Growth Stagnates
Rather than letting growth stagnation overcome you, control it while you can AND set yourself up for future growth with this extremely simple 5-step plan!
The key is to keep this plan simple... If you keep it simple, it’ll work for you, but if you overcomplicate it, it will certainly work against you.
I said it before and I will say it again: Whether or not you let business stagnation overcome you is totally up to you! If other business owners can kick stagnation to the curb, why shouldn’t you be able to do it?
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