At some point, your business will most likely reach a plateau.
It happens to 99.9% of businesses somewhere along the way. (I may have made up that statistic. But trust me, it’s a lot.)
The characteristics of a plateau are always similar.
You’re working hard. Everyone’s super busy. On the outside, things look as shiny-bright as an Elvis movie.
But in reality, profits aren’t increasing, and you’re not making enough (or any) money.
No matter how many more staff, hours, or resources you throw into the business… nothing changes.
But the problem is, a plateau is actually the worst time to throw more into the business.
But it’s what most business owners do.
I get the logic… because I used to be the same. I thought any business problem could be solved with just giving more.
Too much to do? I’ll just work more hours.
Having trouble delivering to clients? I’ll just hire more staff.
Too many staff and supplier costs? I’ll just invest in more marketing.
I can see the logic… but in reality the ‘more’ mentality is what got you to the plateau. And it’s also what keeps you there.
Even worse, most businesses at a point of plateau will actually slip backwards, experiencing negative cashflow for a period of time.
In business this negative period is known as The Valley of Death.
When you’re in the Valley of Death, and watching your cash reserves disappear, the decision must be made to either proceed and grow… or to cut your losses and get the hell outta dodge.
If you ever find yourself in the Valley of Death (or maybe you’re there now?), there’s a few things you can do to scramble your way out of your doom tomb.
- Remove complexity
Go right through your organisation, and remove the things that are too complex.
You may have heard of the K.I.S.S. principle. Keep it simple, stupid. In business (and in life) we often get so attracted to complexity.
We think that complex = sophisticated and effective.
So we build these big fancy marketing funnels, we create crazily complicated processes, and feel really good about the fancy mess we’ve created.
But in reality, the K.I.S.S. principle will get your business to multiple seven, even eight figures.
So ask yourself - where is the business too complex?
And how can I strip it down and simplify it?
- Reassess your foundations
Few of us start out in business with all the answers. We spend the first few years kinda winging it, and building momentum along the way.
Which is why when you reach a point of plateau, you must take the time to look at the foundations of your business.
Is your business set up in a way that it can support itself? Or is your plateau a symptom of foundational elements that need to be undone, and recreated with a more scalable structure?
The prospect of undoing and rebuilding some parts of your business is daunting.
I get it. Nobody wants to undo their hard work and rebuild entire sections of their business.
But think of it this way -
If your current systems and processes have stretched as far as they can go… you’re not going anywhere further unless you change them. Like an elastic band, when your business is done stretching - it’ll just break.
Step 3 is coming in next week’s post… watch out for it!