5 Things Most CEOs Get Wrong About Business Growth

11 min read
Jan 16, 2022

If achieving business growth feels like an impossible feat or never-ending uphill battle, then you're doing something wrong.

The good news is that if you have that uphill battle feeling, then you're not alone.  Most business owners and entrepreneurs feel the same way at at least one point in their career.

However, you can kick that never-ending battle feeling to the curve by simply changing your approach to and thought patterns about growth.

To help you break out of the pack, kill the uphill battle feeling, and achieve growth for good, we're sharing 5 things that most CEOs get wrong about business growth.  If any one of these 5 things resonate with you, it could be the reason you're not hitting growth.

Achieving sustainable growth starts with the way that you think and approach it.  If you think the wrong thoughts or have the wrong approach, it's only inevitable that you won't achieve next level results.

Bottom line: Start here to get straight about what it takes to achieve solid business growth.  Remember, if any one of these 5 things resonates with you, you simply need to change your thoughts or approach to achieve the kind of results you deserve!


1. Looking at Business Through a Small Lens


Every CEO has a unique lens through which they view business.  

You can think of a lens as your overall perspective of business and the world at large.

You along with every other CEO have their own unique lens, and the easiest way to differentiate between them is by size.

For example, some CEOs have a bigger lens that gives them a broader perspective on business.  On the flip side, some CEOs have a smaller lens that gives them a narrow perspective on business.

That being said, if you're ready to achieve next-level growth but are looking through a small lens, then you need to zoom out by opting for a bigger lens!

The best entrepreneurs in the world are the ones with the biggest perspectives!  They don't see themselves as simple CEOs stuck in their little corner of the world.  Instead, they see themselves as change makers impacting the world at large.

If you adopt that same broad lens, your perspective on growth will inevitably widen and you'll achieve bigger and better business results.


Find a Bigger Lens


The bigger the lens you have, the better for growth!


Because, when you have a big picture take on life, you're more likely to see opportunities for growth and jump at them.

On the other hand, if you have a small perspective, you'll never see the potential for opportunities outside of what you're already doing.

If you ever get stuck and feel like you can't find the right channel for growth, just zoom out a bit to find the perfect opportunity!


Look Through Your Lens for Guidance


Whenever challenges arise on your path to growth (as they surely will), it helps to be able to zoom out and get a better view of the overall path.

Because with a broader perspective, you realize that the challenge you're currently facing is only temporary and not the end of the road.

Whenever you hit a pitfall or a block in the road, it's easy to let it overcome you when you don't realize that immediately after the pitfall comes a steep uphill climb. 

Instead of being overcome by the situation, look through a bigger lens for guidance and motivation to keep the process going.  Don't give up, just zoom out!


types of business growth


2. Overcomplicating Their Business Growth Strategy


Let's cut to the chase: Overcomplicated growth strategies are bad growth strategies.  Not only that, but they're doomed to fail.


Think about it... The purpose of a strategy is to help set you on the path of growth.  However, when the strategy itself is complicated, then it inevitably creates hurdles that stand in your way on the growth path.

That being said, there's no point in having a complicated strategy if you're going to make it complicated.  Because at the end of the day, it'll do the opposite of making your life easier.

Regardless of whether you're trying to grow your product line, franchise, or break into new markets, going the complicated route is never the right route to take.


Simple Business Plans Are More Effective


To put it very simply... Simple business growth plans and strategies are significantly more effective than highly-complicated ones.

Think of it like this: Let's say that there are two ski hills on a summit for a skier to go down.  The first one is steep and has multiple jumps.  The second one is a straight-shot down a not-so-steep hill.  If the skier wants to get to the bottom of the summit sooner and with fewer chances of falling down, which hill should they go down?

Obviously, they should choose hill two.

But believe it or not, if you think of the ski hill scenario as a metaphor for business growth strategies, most business owners choose the first hill over the second.

Even though they think they're doing what's right for their business, they go the complicated route and end up falling on their face when they could have easily avoided that by playing the simplicity game.


Complicated Business Plans Stem From Fear


Considering how damaging having complex plans can be, it begs the question... Why do so many entrepreneurs automatically default to complexity?

It usually comes down to two things, including:

  1. Fear
  2. Mental conditioning

First off, have you ever watched someone be perplexed with fear, begin to panic, and then start running around like a chicken with its head cut off?  As strange as it sounds, that's exactly what business owners do when developing their business plans.

Because they have an internalized fear of diving head-first into business growth, they panic and begin to develop overzealous business plans as somewhat of a defense against their fears.  Even when the fears are completely unjustified, they still develop unnecessarily complex plans as a defense mechanism against those fears.

Second, the belief that complexity is not just better but more effective stems from our modern day education system.  Unfortunately, most of us were conditioned in school to believe that complexity is simply better.

While that is completely untrue, mental conditioning is quite challenging to shake off!

If you find yourself feeling compelled to develop overcomplicated plans, then ask yourself if it's because of an underlying, unjustified fear of diving straight into growth.


3. Alienating Their Current Customer Base


If deepening your market penetration by capturing new customers forces you to alienate your current customer base, then you're literally shooting yourself in the foot!

Believe it or not, but far too many entrepreneurs neglect their existing customers while trying to capture new ones.  As a result, they gain the new clients but lose their existing ones, and end up with flatlined results.

Straight-up: B2B business is about relationships.  And, perhaps the best way to sabotage a business relationship is to neglect current, loyal customers for the sake of capturing new ones.

When fostered correctly, strong business relationships are your greatest business asset, particularly when it comes time to grow your company.

Therefore, if your plans for growth will unintentionally alienate your current customers, then you either need to:

  1. Hire more team members to take care of the additional customers
  2. Forget about growth to serve your current customers who you have a duty to

We can't emphasize it enough: Business is about relationships, and the easiest way to sabotage a relationship is by neglecting it for the sake of another one.

If you can't absorb the shock of additional customers, then you're not ready to grow!


business growth strategies


Customer Relationships Are Your Most Valuable Asset


Now, you might be wondering... Why are relationships with customers in my current market so valuable, especially when trying to hit a high growth phase?

There are a few key reasons why, including:

  1. Current customers can act as subjects for case studies
  2. Current customers can generate referrals for highly qualified leads
  3. Reputation, reputation, reputation

First off, one of the best tools to add to your marketing strategy is case studies.  Because, instead of telling potential customers how great you and your deliverable are, you can show them with a case study!  

What makes showing instead of telling so effective is that by showing, you heighten feelings of both social proof and FOMO in the potential customer.  Our piece of advice: Infiltrate your social media profile with case studies ASAP!

Second and perhaps most importantly, when you have a strong relationship with a customer, they’re more likely to offer-up referrals for potential customers.  And, not just any kind of referrals, but ones for already highly-qualified leads.  

What could be better than gaining new leads while being able to skip the lead generation step of the sales process?

Finally, as much as nobody likes to admit it, reputation means a lot in business.  Think about it... If someone you have an alliance with comes to you and tells you that they had a poor experience working with a specific company, wouldn’t it be highly unlikely that you would ever consider working with them?  

At the end of the day, you can have a great product or service, but if you have a tarnished reputation for being unreliable in business relationships, then you're sunk.

To put it simply: If you're going to put energy into any one outlet, put it into forming solid, long-term customer relationships.  Because when you put energy into your customers, it'll multiply and come right back around to benefit you.


4. Sacrificing Personal Fulfillment For Business Growth Plans


Successful business owners don't sacrifice their own personal fulfillment for the sake of their business growth plans, because they understand the strong connection between their personal life and business life.

As much as you try to ignore it or push it aside, your personal wellbeing impacts your business outcomes.


Because, a business is very much a reflection of its owner.  Therefore, if the owner isn't fulfilled doing what they're doing, it will inevitably reflect in their business results.  More specifically, it will inevitably lead to poor results.

That being said, whether your idea of growth is creating new products or increasing your market share, don't expect growth unless you feel fulfilled doing what you're doing.


If You Aren’t Fulfilled You Won’t Reach Your Full Potential


Here's the thing: Growing a business is challenging and requires a lot of energy.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean that growth is hard, difficult, or complicated.

Unfortunately though, if you're a part of the group of entrepreneurs who aren't fulfilled doing what they're doing, you will certainly feel that growth is hard, difficult, or complicated.

Think of it like this... If you're pounding the pavement everyday putting in the work that it takes to make a business grow yet the path you're on isn't fulfilling, then of course it will feel like a nearly impossible feat.

For example... Remember being in high school and having to sit through a class you didn't like and how hard it felt purely because you didn't enjoy the material?

The same thing is true for business: If you don't like what you're doing, getting up and doing the work will feel much harder than what it really is.

Again, business growth isn't difficult or complex, but it will feel that way if you're trying to achieve growth in a way that doesn't fulfill you.

Top business owners have what sometimes looks like endless stamina to work towards their goals because putting in the effort makes them feel fulfilled.  It's that simple!


Energy Is Palpable


Energy is palpable.  You can try to cover it up, but it's nearly impossible to keep contained!

By energy, we mean the vibe that you radiate that others can feel.  And, it’s the emotions you feel that determine the energy you radiate.

For example, if you feel completely unfulfilled doing what you're doing, then you'll obviously radiate negative energy.

Not only is that bad for you, but it's bad for your team members and potential customers!  That negative energy will inevitably infect them, and they'll want nothing to do with you.

On the flip side, if you feel fulfilled and radiate positive energy, you'll easily captivate your team members and new customers!

Bottom line: Whatever emotions you feel create the energy you radiate.  Therefore, if you feel completely unsatisfied with your path in life, you'll radiate negative energy and drive people away from you.


5. Thinking That Their Potential Customers Think Like Them


One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is assuming that others see the world just as we do.

Similarly, one of the biggest mistakes business owners make, particularly when running a growing business, is assuming that their potential customers think exactly like they do.

That being said, it's crucial that you get on the level of your customers to understand the way that they see the world.  Think of it as if you're stepping into their shoes to see life from their perspective

Unless you get on the level of your potential new customers, then don't expect to acquire them.


Because, if you don't learn to see life from their perspective, you'll never know what their wants and needs are.  And if you don't know what their wants and needs are, then it's impossible to serve them.

At the end of the day, business comes down to service, and how can you possibly serve someone if you don’t know what their wants and needs are?

You might think that you have the best business growth plans in the world, but if your customers don't see it the same way, then what's the point?


Top Entrepreneurs Eliminate Personal Biases


Entrepreneurship is about discovery.  However, you can't discover anything new if you think you already know it all.

That being said, top entrepreneurs eliminate their own personal biases in order to discover more.

Before putting together their own growth plans, they become conscious of their biases and get them out of their mind.  As a result, they have a clean slate to open themselves up to what their potential new customers wants and needs are.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself that you don't have any biases.

When it comes down to it, literally everyone in the world has biases and is at least somewhat stubborn to their own ideas.  And, that's not necessarily a bad thing!

However, what is bad is thinking that you don't have any biases and then trying to grow an existing or new business based on those biases.  Unless you're lucky, those biases will come back around to bite you.

Furthermore, sit with your own thoughts, become conscious of your biases, and make a concerted effort to get them out of your own head.

The more you discover, the better growth results you’ll have!


Think Like Your Target Market to Hit a Growth Stage


When it comes down to it, business is about serving people.

And, how could you possibly know how to serve someone when you don't understand them or ask them directly what it is that they want?

If you are a server in a restaurant, you wouldn't simply assume that your customers want a particular dish, would you?  Of course not.

Similarly, you wouldn't try to serve customers in your existing or new market something that they simply don't want.

Therefore, you need to do two things to discover what your customers want, including:

  1. Putting yourself in their shoes
  2. Asking them direct questions

If you can do these two things effectively, then you're golden.

While it might sound simple... It is!  Remember, business growth is not complicated.  And if it feels complicated, then you're overthinking it.


business growth plan


Final Thoughts on What CEOs Get Wrong About Business Growth


At the end of the day, growing a successful business comes down to your thoughts and approach.  

Sure... Strategic planning, service or product development, and perfecting your business model are all important, but none of it matters if you have the wrong approach or thoughts about growth.

That being said, start here to accomplish all of your business goals, achieve sustainable growth, and feel fulfilled during the process.

Company growth comes down to you, the CEO, and more specifically your thoughts and approach to business.  Are you ready to start getting business growth right?

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