Why Most Businesses Hit a Plateau - Profits Prophet

Why Most Businesses Hit a Plateau—And How to Break Out of It


Do you feel like you’ve hit a standstill in your business even though you’ve been putting in more hustle than ever? Like many entrepreneurs who have bought into the “hustle culture”, you’re probably equating long hours and lots of perceived hard work with success. However, success and hustle are not the same thing and if you’ve been under that impression, it’s no surprise you’ve hit a plateau. If this all sounds a little too familiar, read on to find out why you’re stagnating and how to rejuvenate your business.

What is a Plateau?

A plateau in business is similar to a plateau in weight loss: even though you’re still putting in just as much work (and sometimes more), the numbers on the scale are not getting smaller. In business, it may look like sales slowing down, revenues dropping, or just an overall feeling of “this really isn’t working like it has been.” Some business owners may see troubling numbers on their balance sheets while others will just have that unnamable feeling that something isn’t right. A plateau feels different for everyone, but the common denominator is the emotion involved. If you’ve plateaued, you feel frustrated and worried.

Why Do Businesses Hit a Plateau?

Through my years working with entrepreneurs, I’ve found that the most common reason why they hit plateaus is because they stopped paying attention to their business GPS. Instead of building and relying upon a strong inner circle and focusing on solid business practices, they’ve started getting seduced by the hustle culture and putting too much emphasis on “fake” numbers like revenue. This then leads to a creep in business expenses and an overall decline in profits. It can also lead to an over-reliance on one or two large clients or other blind spots that, if not addressed, can lead to a much worse situation than just a plateau.   

How Can You Break Out of a Plateau?

To break out of a plateau, you need to get back to what works. When you start focusing on hustle and revenue, you usually lose sight of what really matters: the core actions that decrease costs and increase profits. Instead, you do all the activities that look good to others—working long hours, buying fancy cars or suits, being seen with other hustlers, etc. To get your business back on the right track, go back to the metrics. Evaluate which actions lead to increased sales and do more of those. Identify where expense creep has happened and nip it in the bud. If you really want to take this process to the next level, work with a business coach or mentor who can go over your finances and action plan with you and make suggestions. If you’ve gotten too far into the hustle culture, you may need to get your ass kicked a little to open your eyes to what’ really going on.

As we start to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, most of us are anxious to bust out of our doldrums and take our businesses to the next level of success. Whether your plateau occurred pre-pandemic or during the height of the crisis, you can still break out of it and make 2021 highly profitable. Want to talk more? Reach out. I’d love to help.

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