Many entrepreneurs have reached a respectable level of success by articulating a solid business plan, building an audience and focusing their time and effort on maximizing efficiency and customer relations. However, it can be difficult to expand beyond present levels of revenue or potential audiences. If you’ve “stalled out” in your own entrepreneurial endeavor, then you’ve reached a plateau.
Just as the word implies, a plateau is not necessarily a bad place to be. You have a fairly high vantage point; you’ve risen above your competition and are enjoying success. It’s just that your business growth is not as steady or captivating as it once was. Things might feel stagnant. If you sense this might describe your venture, it’s time to move upward and continue challenging yourself and your team.
Recognizing a Plateau
When examining your business to see if you have indeed hit a plateau, look at your numbers carefully. If the gross revenue has either leveled out or even decreased over time, you’ve hit it. It’s important to recognize this fact so you can work on conquering it. Business growth rewards you not only financially, but also on a personal and professional level. It is a prime motivator for you and your employees.
When you feel comfortable or content, then your business has the potential to suffer. Employees might lose motivation and lose sight of the big picture if new growth is not driving your company’s engine. I realized my business hit a plateau when I was not able to take my business to the next level in profits. It was a key indicator that I had to expand my product line by publishing other people’s products. By doing this, I was able to regain lost profits and, more importantly, any lost motivation and focus.
Moving Beyond Yourself
Entrepreneurs who can move beyond themselves to use their skills to promote others’ products or offers gain experience and revenue. You can pinpoint the right new opportunities for yourself by researching existing products or services that are not properly marketed currently. You can find these products by attending industry-wide live events and investigate the necessity of the product, as well as its current marketing strategies. Find out if an opportunity exists to work on new strategies or goals with that product’s team. Other ways to locate new possibilities include searching for potential partners on LinkedIn and working through affiliate networks.
I started to expand my marketing skills to go beyond just affiliate marketing when I sensed I had plateaued. I found and published other people’s products and was able to grow my business to $10 million in revenue. By actively looking for ways to go beyond my own expertise, I grew financially and professionally.
The Mental Leap
As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to transition past the comfortable position of the plateau by being open-minded to new challenges. You can take that great mental leap in perception by looking at a somewhat daunting challenge as an opportunity. You have succeeded in your goals, and now you’re entering a new territory that will require the same degree of motivation, aptitude and focus that you possessed when your business began.
This fresh perspective will reinvigorate more than your profits – it will also light a fire amongst your staff. The culture of moving forward takes place when your company or organization works as a team and you are all on the same path in expanding your vision. The strongest company teams push each other to grow, so ensure your team is excited for the opportunity (disguised as a challenge) that lies ahead.
Pushing your business beyond its plateau to the next level requires you to recognize if you are petering out, look for opportunities outside your immediate expertise and mentally prepare yourself for stepping into unknown territory. The rewards for you and your team can be sizable if you apply the same focus and energy that built your success in the first place. A plateau can’t hold you long – unless you let it.
D.C. Fawcett is the owner of Paramount Digital Publishing, an Internet publishing company. D.C. currently shares his marketing and business expertise through the IPM (Info Publishing Masterplan) Program.