The feeling of being stuck or treading water is a frustrating and very common one, among entrepreneurs. We’d all love to smoothly sail towards our goals and keep growing our businesses at a steady pace.
Unfortunately, this is rarely how it pans out in reality.
Watch the video below to see why you often experience plateaus in your business and how to break through them:
Think of the growth of your business as a progression in steps, rather than a linear one. Something like this:
Each time you hit a plateau, you most likely need to switch from management-mode to information-mode or vice versa.
In some cases, you need to learn how to do something or learn a better way of doing something that you’re already doing. Following one of the examples from the video, you might need to learn how to run tests to improve conversion rates on your site. Or you might already be testing, but wasting time with inefficient testing methods, in which case you need to learn a better way to test, in order to get better results in less time.
In other cases, you need to simply apply what you’ve learnt… which is a lot easier said than done.
In fact, the implementation steps are where things usually go wrong. We rarely lack the means to gain information or access to specialists. Everything you need to grow your business is out there, already available and waiting. There’s a series of steps that can, theoretically, be taken to get you more visitors, more customers, more revenue and so on. And you can probably get a good idea of what those steps are, with a little research and learning.
Actually taking those steps is the tricky part, and here’s why: anything that isn’t done systematically and consistently will eventually fall apart.
To do anything systematically and consistently:
I know, you’re in a hurry and you feel that you’ll do fine just winging it. And I know that you think this is just too much of my Swissness coming through in the form of organization-mania. But I put this to you: anything that gets taken care of properly in your business, anything that’s running smoothly is either clearly documented and delegated or done by someone who’s internalized a system or set of rules for it.
In other words: everything that’s working in your business either follows an explicitly documented system or it follows an unwritten system that you or someone working for you has created in your/their head.
For anything that isn’t systematized like this, it’s only a question of time until it derails. And there’s a simple reason for that. Any component of your business that lacks a clear system requires your continuous attention and there’s a limit to the amount of things you can dedicate your attention to.
Here are two examples from my own business: one of the things I do have a very clear system for is product creation. I follow a specific process that goes all the way from market research to product launch. Anyone who took part in the Product Bootcamp of last year will know this system and, in fact, own the documentation of it.
On the other hand, affiliate recruitment and -management is something that I don’t have a system for. And lo and behold: affiliate promotions for my products have been hit and miss. Some have gained good traction and gotten tons of traffic via affiliates, others haven’t.
We now both know the solution to a problem like this consists of either one or both of these steps:
Delegation can be to yourself and it can involve reserving a certain time-slot in your daily, weekly or monthly routine to a specific task.
What you actually need to do is pretty straight forward: identify the highest priority tasks and areas in your business (i.e. the ones which will improve growth most dramatically, once they are improved). Then, figure out if you already know everything you need to know and just lack a clear system, or if you still need to fill some knowledge-gaps in each area. If necessary, seek out further information online and in books.
Then, write out a clear documentation, detailing how each task will be handled in your business. Once that’s done, you either follow those documented steps yourself or you delegate them to someone else.
What difficulties have you encountered in your own business? And how will you use the principles described in this post for you benefit? Let me know by leaving a comment!
I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better marketer and product creator. Read more about my story here.