THE MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONALS

CAUTION: Business Plateau Ahead! Tips for avoiding a plateau

by Bill Silverman

As your business grows, chances are that you will hit a plateau at some point. It’s important to recognize when you’re entering such a phase because, if you act quickly, you can shortcut the time you spend on the plateau—and sometimes even blow past it completely.

Here are five common early warning signs that your business may be entering a plateau:

1.) Increased frequency of problems and ‘fires’

2.) Important things falling through the cracks

3.) Increased frequency of customer complaints

4.) Losing business because you don’t have the capacity to handle the leads or do the work

5.) You’re working more hours and still struggling to keep up

It’s natural for some of these warning signs to crop up from time to time. But if they increase in frequency or severity, pay attention. A plateau could be on your horizon.

What Do You Do If Your Business Is Experiencing These Early Warning Signs?

Plateaus typically happen because your current business systems are stretched to their limits and you’ve grown your business as big as you can running it as you do today. Here are five areas to focus on that will help you break through a difficult phase: 

  • Put out some fires once and for all. For many businesses, there are two or three recurring problems that eat up 80% of your time. Identify and address those problems and you’ll increase your available time to put toward growth instead of putting out fires. 
  • Create a good foundation for growth. Your business is really a machine that generates leads, sells and performs services, and collects payment. Find and fix the weak links in these core functions to ensure that they’re running effectively. 
  • Build a self-sufficient team. Does your team need a lot of babysitting to get their work done? If they do, give your team the structure (well-defined roles, procedures and goals), support and accountability they need to do their work effectively and independently.
  • Make sure that you’re not the bottleneck. Many business owners try to make every decision, solve every problem, and do or control everything in their business. If you’re an ‘I do everything’ owner, you may be the bottleneck that’s holding your business back. As you grow, it’s critical for your management style to evolve and for you to systematically let go of doing the basic field, sales and office work. It’s time to run your business through your team so that you can spend more time on building your business.
  • Have enough people in the right places. One major reason why your business may plateau is that there aren’t enough people in the right places. If you’ve resolved the four areas listed above and you’re still on a plateau then I believe that you must hire to grow, which will expand your capacity and make future growth possible.

If you heed the five plateau early warning signs and take prompt corrective action in the areas that I’ve laid out above, I can almost guarantee that your stay on the plateau will be brief and you will propel your business upward on a more continuous profitable growth path.

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Bill Silverman is the owner of Springboard Business Coaching, dedicated to helping contractors lead growing, profitable, 7-figure businesses that can thrive without them. You can reach Bill at (856) 751-1989 or SpringboardBizCoaching.com

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