As a business owner or nonprofit leader, growth is probably on your mind most of the time. Do you know your organization could make more money but haven’t been able to get there? If you’re experiencing a growth plateau, it’s important to know that’s normal, and it’s nothing to lose sleep over. And, there are strategies you can use to push past it.
Have you mostly relied on instincts to get you to where you are? And so far, you’ve usually been right.
Your organization has experienced growth, but maybe your growth year over year is slowing down. Or maybe you’ve had a series of slow months. No matter what kind of plateau you’re experiencing, it might be difficult to identify what is no longer working. You’re in uncharted territory.
In other words, what got you here won’t get you where you want to go.
Solving the Plateau Problem
You don’t have to stay stuck. There are few strategies you can implement to get your organization growing again.
1. Look forward.
You have your financial reports, and they most likely show where you’ve been. But where are you going? Do you know which products or departments make you the most money? Can you forecast your monthly growth and expenses?
Having the ability to predict your future will help you prioritize projects and how you spend your budget. It will also help you measure what is working and what isn’t in your business. Along with forecasting, being able to break down your business by product, department, locations, etc., can give you even more insights into where you are performing your best and what areas need improvement.
2. Consider, What if?
Anytime that you’re preparing to deliver a product or service, you need assumptions and model it. We like to call it a What-If Scenario. For example, maybe you’re planning on launching a new product next year and offering it on sale for the first two weeks. As you’re reviewing your Profit and Loss Statement, there is some information you can start with.
You know based on your marketing data that typically 22 percent of your audience opens your emails and of them, 5.4 percent click through to your website. Past sales have showed that an average of 2,000 to 2,500 subscribers tend to buy new products in the first week.
So, what if you price the product at $99 and sell 2,500 of them? That’s $247,500. Or, what if you price it at $199, and sell 1,800 of them? That’s $358,200. Or what if you sell 800 at $499. That’s $399,200. Even those three hypotheticals give you so much information about what could be realistic.
If you feel stuck, it might be because you’re not building assumptions or hypotheses about what could happen, sketching it out, and finding the ideal scenario. Instead, you’re leaving things to chance, which also means you’re not learning and able to adjust based on the information you gain.
3. Challenge your mindset.
Your own thoughts could be holding you back.
- Admitting what you don’t know. Not every leader is comfortable with financial modeling tools and all the calculations that go into them, which causes them to avoid using those tools. There is no shame in needing to learn new things as your business grows. The financial ins and outs of your business are not simple. It takes time and education to understand your financials fully.
- Afraid of being wrong. The other mindset challenge is accountability. If you commit to a specific outcome—such as a specific number of sales for a new product—then your team is holding you accountable to achieve it. And, if you don’t, what does that mean for your credibility? The catch is if you don’t model it, you can’t measure it. If you don’t determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ahead of time, how will you know if you’ve improved the net time and the time after that? Even if you fail in this situation, you and your team learn. By not committing to a specific goal, you’re missing out on valuable information that can help your organization improve and grow.
Keep in mind you may not initially be aware of these mental barriers. You’ll need to be honest with yourself about how you approach working with your team and if you’re open when there are parts of the business you may not know yet.
Admitting there are things you don’t know is one of the most important steps a leader can take in growing their organization. If you know your own limitations, then you can consult and hire as needed to fill those gaps. You can take the time to expand your learning through coaching or training. The more you’re able to grow as a leader, the more your organization will grow.
If any of this rings true for you, book a discovery call to find out how Forge can help you meet your business goals. It’s 25 minutes and, even if you choose not to work with us, you’ll leave with a clear idea of where your organization can grow.