A business plateau, just like in fitness and bodybuilding, will occur many times throughout a person’s journey on their way to success. Sometimes it’s just the natural course and there’s not much that can be done to prevent it.
However other times, you find yourself in a plateau for a reason. The difficult part is knowing how to get out of it.
A plateau is essentially a flat line, showing no evidence of results or any progress at all, and it feels like no matter what you do, you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
It can be incredibly difficult within this time to maintain the amount of effort you’re putting into what you do, and this doesn’t help the problem one bit.
6 Steps to Getting Out of a Business Plateau
After all, who wants to be constantly putting in effort for months on end, to then see a fat flat line of nothing? No one wants to get stuck in a rut. If you’ve currently hit a bit of a flat line in progress, here are 6 steps to getting out of a business plateau.
1. Do the Math
We all know how important math is to the success of a business. Taking control of your cash flow and making sure you have taken every last detail into account is crucial if you are to know exactly how much you’re making. If it’s not all being taken into account, then you are merely guessing.
I recently wrote an article on 10 common ways that business waste money. If you think the ‘Do the Math’ step is going to apply to you, then it might be worth taking a look.
Of course, there are a number of different elements to the math that need to be considered: The costs of the business, the revenue, pricing strategy etc.
If it’s your costs or pricing strategy then you know what needs to be looked at; however if your revenue is low it may be that you just need to keep going until business picks up.
If it doesn’t start to pick up after several more months of hard work, that’s the time to start re-assessing your product, target market, and location.
2. Eliminate Fear
Change is feared by a lot of people. Change is outside of what you’d call the norm’, and when you’re in a plateau change is what will help you to get out of it. A common reason why so many businesses will go through a plateau is because they’re afraid to make the change to the next step up.
Which therefore means they’re sitting at a level which feels comfortable. They’re used to what they’re doing and have become accustom to it.
The problem with that is that if you want to be consistently growing as a business and improving, then you need to be willing to adapt and make new changes in order to hit the next step up.
If you’re afraid to make these changes, then it’s likely you’ll sit at the same level until you’re ready to do so. Sometimes there is just no other way up than making the one change you really are scared to do.
3. Decide If You’re Ready
Businesses can’t be showing improvements that are noticeable, 100% of the time. There are bound to be times where they just need to let everything catch up, let things adjust themselves and let people get comfortable.
Sometimes a business just isn’t ready to move to the next step, and that’s fine. Things take time. What would be worse is trying to get ahead of yourself, and ending up not being able to cope with the new goals you’ve recently set yourself.
That’s likely to leave you worse off than just allowing the correct amount of time before moving on.
4. Push Through the ‘No Results’ Period
According to Derek Halpern from Social Triggers, most bloggers will give up within 3 months. And I’m pretty confident that the number will be the same for many businesses, gym routines and hobbies.
They all go through a stage of excitement, where someone can’t wait to do something, they’re pumped, they’re ready. But after time they start to lose motivation, because they realize that what they’re doing isn’t just a 3 month process.
It takes a lot of time and practice to become the best at something.
That’s why when some people think they’re in a plateau, it might just be that they haven’t allowed the right amount of time for the results to start coming. Don’t be afraid to push through this flat line period at 100% all the way.
No results may cause you to think you’re not doing things right, which will lead to you putting in less effort, and it’s at that point you will begin to fail.
5. Work on One Aspect More Than the Others
If you focus your time on one aspect in particular, rather than three different ones at the same time, then you’ll excel a lot more quickly in that aspect. Sure, the other two will be weaker, but the funny thing is that the overall progression you make will be larger.
Simply because you won’t be mediocre at all 3 aspects. You’ll be great at one and the other two will still be mediocre. This is an important fact and the best used example is when using social media to promote a business.
When first creating a startup, if you divide your time and attention equally between Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, you’ll find it a lot harder to build a great presence on each network.
Whereas if you select one to focus on, this will become a powerful source for you, and the other two will be secondary sources. This point of focusing on too many things was one that Josh Dunlop brought up when writing about the reasons why you suck at Social Media.
For any of you who play video games; if now and then you are assigned points to upgrade your character’s skills. My bet is that you will focus on a couple of them and just make sure that the others don’t get left too far behind, right?
You wouldn’t upgrade everything equally, because that way you have no points left to excel at certain skills more quickly.
6. Figure Out What’s Holding You Back
Okay, so even though I’ve mentioned doing the math, eliminating fear and only focusing on one aspect, there’s many other things that could be holding you back.
Things that are likely to be specific to your business and not something that can easily be identified within an article like this.
Spend a little bit of time looking at what you’ve been doing recently, and just take the time to analyse the business plateau that you’re in. There might be something that you have been missing. It could be an easy correction, but you just haven’t spotted it yet.
The ultimate point of a plateau, is that if it’s not an expected period for your business at the current time, then something will need to change with what you’re doing.
Otherwise the flat line will continue unless you begin to switch things up.