As small business owners we start our business with a picture of how we want our business and life to be. Once you’ve been in business for a while and have got some results, it’s not unusual to hit a bit of a plateau that you feel like you are stuck on and struggling to get off. You might be able to look up and see the next level you want to get to, but can’t see a clear path to get there. The thinking, actions and tactics that have built your business to a turnover of $150,000, no longer seem to be helping you to grow your business to the level of income you really want.
Take as an example; the way you communicate what needs to be done in your business when it’s just you and one other, will not work as well when you have a team of five or more with different personalities and different responsibilities.
“We can not solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” – Albert Einstein
The key to breaking free of that plateau and reaching your potential as a business owner, is to think differently and therefore take different actions to get different results. But how do you do that? Well here are a few ideas to get you started.
Step back from your business
When you are working in the trenches day in day out, it’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind and because of this you are unable to focus on anything else. Take some time away from your business so you can clear your head and start to look at the situation more objectively.
Connect with other business owners
Get to know other business owners who are further ahead in their journey than you are. Be super curious and ask them what they did to get where they are and consider how you can take similar, appropriate action to move your business forward.
Get clear on where your business is now
Carry out a review of where your business is right now. Be honest with yourself and consider asking for a second opinion from another business owner you know and trust. Gathering feedback from customers and suppliers on how they perceive you is also helpful too. Consider what your strengths are and where you need to challenge yourself to do better.
Get really clear on where you want your business to go
Without a clear understanding of where you want to go, it’s very hard to get there. It’s like getting in your car and going for a ride without knowing the end destination. Create some compelling vision and mission statements for your business and then set 90 day, 1 year and 3 year goals to help you achieve them.
Be a life long learner
I remember my niece asking me once, “Will I know everything I need to know once I leave school?” The simple answer is no! Learning is not something we do at school and Uni then think you are then equipped for life, we have to learn new skills all the time. That is exceptionally true for business owners because in order to grow their businesses they must continually upgrade their knowledge and understanding of everything from what’s going on in their market to technologies trends, to the latest marketing techniques and much, much more.
Take imperfect action
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many business owners is being ok with taking action before they know what the outcome is. It’s impossible to have all the information before you take action though. You must make a rough plan, take action, assess if it’s worked or not, then either keep doing it or take corrective action and go again. If you are waiting for the perfect plan or the perfect timing you won’t do anything because perfect does not exist.
Find someone to support you
Putting into place all of the above without someone there to support and guide you can be challenging. Often as business owners it’s like we are standing in the dark, pointing our torch into one place in a room, over and over again; so to us it seems like there is nothing else but that one patch. When we work in isolation, we often don’t realise that if we just moved the torch a bit we’d see there’s a whole load of other stuff going on in that room. When we get support from someone else, whether it be a coach, mentor or another business owner, it helps us to see the abundance of other possibilities out there and it helps to keep us accountable for the new action we have decided to take.
Regularly review your progress
Take the time to regularly step away from your business to check in on your progress. When you make any change you must take the time to assess how it’s going and if it’s giving you the outcome you want.
Don’t get stuck on the plateau, change your thinking to change your results!
Claire Whitelaw Brown from CWB Business Growth Strategies is a business strategist who specialises in supporting business owners with big, audacious goals determined to turn them into reality. To receive a complimentary strategy session with Claire, simply email her with the title “Fresh Perspective”.