We’ve all been there. Our business is growing according to plan, and then… it isn’t. We’ve hit a plateau, we feel stuck and we don’t know what to do. Don’t panic! Business, like life, runs in cycles. With a clear assessment and a fresh perspective, you can get back on track and grow your business in new and exciting ways.
Here are four tips to help you move past your plateau in order to reignite your passion and restart your business growth.
Assess without judgment
It may sound cliché, but knowledge is power. How you approach your assessment is extremely important. Rather than asking, “What went wrong?” or “How did I end up here?” instead shift your focus to celebrate your startup’s success thus far, and find ways to replicate or build upon what has worked in the past.
Ask yourself, what is it that your clients most appreciate about you, your product or your service?
Circle back to the “low hanging fruit” and reengage with your best customers. Let them know how much you appreciate their business. Offer those customers a special discount, an upgrade, or a free evaluation or consultation as an incentive to reengage and do business with you again.
Take a deep breath and step back
There is a reason why we tend to rely upon clichés: they are usually rooted in deep and abiding truths, such as, “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.”
When you are up to your ears in the daily grind of charts, graphs, statistics, data, and profits and loss statements that aren’t showing you what you want to see, take a moment to revisit your company’s mission statement.
Your mission statement will always bring you back to the principles that inspired you to start your company in the first place.
If you are a solopreneur, ask yourself, “What is the greatest value I bring to my clients?”
Then, take some time to get back into your creative groove. Reconnect with a colleague or mentor who helped you develop your talents and your business. Operating for a place of gratitude allows you to feel a deeper sense of purpose and accomplishment in your daily grind, and the networking might spark some fresh creativity.
If, on the other hand, you are fortunate enough to have a team, check in with your team members to see what they need. Schedule some one-on-one time with each member of your team away from the office. It can be something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee and finding out what work they are currently excited about.
Ask them about their role, and if there is anything you can do to help foster improvement. Place the focus on their role within your business as well as among the entire team, and how each member can provide input to help overcome stagnant points in your business.
Reconnect with your beginner’s mind
This is probably my favorite practice for both my coaching clients and for myself.
I was introduced to the concept of the “Beginner’s Mind” from one of my mentors at a time when I was doing everything that I knew how to do, and nothing was working. My mentor gently challenged me to step away from what I knew and return to my “beginner’s mind.”
The beginner’s mind tends to believe that anything is possible, whereas the expert mind will give you a million reasons why something will not work. Essentially, embracing a beginner’s mindset allows you to remain open to learning more, no matter how advanced you think your knowledge already is.
When we start out in the world of entrepreneurship, we don’t even know what we don’t know. We are uninhibited in our belief in our dreams and aspirations. We are open to being creative, and we tap into the joy and belief that the work that we are doing matters. We oftentimes get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running our businesses and forgot why we even started in the first place.
However, if we find a way to reconnect to the joy and inspirations that caused us to start our business in the first place, we will find we have a creative breakthrough to even greater heights than we’ve already reached.
Serve your way to success
When you find yourself stuck in a creative rut, ask yourself, “How can I be of service?”
This is another opportunity to ask yourself what you and your business can do today to better serve your customers by meeting a need or filling a void. When you feel you’ve hit a plateau, remember that there are many ways to get yourself out of a rut. Perhaps you become a mentor. Maybe you consider how you can better provide a service to your target audience.
You have created community, and now, you have a renewed energy and fresh perspective to bring to your business to those who benefit from your unique offerings.