Q: I have a small industry consultancy business and have moved beyond the home-based business stage and now have an office and two staff but I feel like my business has stalled. By that I mean, my income generation has hit a plateau but my costs are rising and come in relentlessly each week, especially wages and rent! Is this normal for a growing business to kind of hit a wall and what do you think I should do to go to the next level? I have to admit I fear losing a client as this could make things messy as I would hate to have to fire someone.
This often happens in business and you need to meet fear with hard, as well as smart, work. As Ian Elliot and Martin Kellard put it in their book, you have to “Stop bitching and start pitching.”
Meet fear with fire – fire up your sales drive and make sure you call, email and connect with as many potential clients or introducers to clients that you can get to every day. Even if you have to pay someone, get an objective view on your marketing and read what the fast-growing businesses are doing with social media to pump up your marketing grunt. Get your accountant to assess your cash flow position – maybe you need to cut costs or secure an overdraft. Whatever you do, seek an objective view in your finances.
It might also be time to think about a business coach or mentor who can pass on some objective views on your business and make recommendations on how to do business better.
When businesses hit walls, it demonstrates that something has to change. It could be staff, it could be the experts that are helping or could even be the mindset of the entrepreneur/manager. I have always learnt a lot from interviewing and reading about the greats of business and these people do the same. They are always trying to learn from others and many have networks of other business owners who show them things they weren’t seeing by themselves. Don’t be despondent – simply step up and remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes!
Finally, don’t be afraid to spend money to get inside information on business success. Some shortsighted people see it as a cost but I see it as a tax deductible investment in success.