For many entrepreneurs, success often feels like a constant need to strive for the stars and achieve bigger-than-life milestones. It feels gratifying to gain a new client, expand your team, or increase leads from marketing efforts. However, when you experience a plateau in your business, you may feel like you’re failing to meet your goals.
A standstill can disrupt your confidence, affecting your work performance and passion for what you do. But if this is your initial reaction to business slowing down, consider changing your perspective.
“Always thinking about growing or adding new things to your company might be a mistake,” asserts Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “Instead, focus on what you’re doing, perfect it, and enjoy your life. Being a business owner doesn't have to mean working 24/7 or always being stressed out.”
In other words, it may be the perfect time to slow down! If you’re searching for ways to improve your business, start internally with your workflows and determine if there are areas that require more attention.
Use the following practices to explore your business and break down the barriers preventing continued growth.
Assess your business
It’s challenging to view your company objectively when you’re in the middle of everything. So instead, take a step back and “re-evaluate your business goals,” suggests Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events. “It might be time to diversify your offerings. Perhaps new pricing models will appeal to your target market. By taking some proactive steps, you can break free from the Plateau and get your business growing again.”
When you give yourself space from the workload, you will feel refreshed and see everything with fresh eyes. Here, take the opportunity to ask critical questions about what’s working and what’s not.
As Sheils recommends, “look at your processes, your team, and your accounting. A good old-fashioned audit can clarify what keeps you from breaking out of your plateau!”
Think of it as using a magnifying glass to review your workflow. As a result, you can gain clarity and determine what’s causing the plateau in your business.
Reflect on your goals
If you’re feeling stuck, take a moment to think about your goals. As Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates suggests, “start thinking about where you want your business to go next.” Do you have short-term or long-term goals you want to achieve? What do you need to do to manifest favorable results? Consider using a vision board or a journal to organize ideas and establish plans to propel your business toward milestones.
If reflecting on your business’ overarching goals overwhelms you, Maddox shares a simple question: “What is the next goal you want to accomplish?”
Take it one step at a time, beginning with the next goal on your roster. One goal is enough to maintain momentum without feeling swamped.
Gain inspiration from your network
Touching base with vendors and other professionals in the industry is an excellent way to break through barriers. Getting advice from pros with shared experiences can uplift your spirit and provide the wisdom you need on your journey.
“Reach out to your network and get a mentor,” Vizcaino encourages. “See if there are any people you can connect with, people you can look up to and learn from who can help you get out of your rut.”
Maddox also recommends “meeting with the vendors you know can help get you there. Let them know of your interest, and stay top of mind for these people. I find the best growth comes from referrals.”
There’s always space to gain insight and expand your expertise, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask for support from your network!
Make time to recharge
It’s challenging to thrive when you’re battling a case of burnout. That’s why it’s critical to set aside time to practice self-care.
As Vizcaino asserts, “You can devote enough time to your business, but you also have time for yourself and your loved ones. When you’re happy and well-rested, it usually shows in your work. So don’t be afraid to take time for yourself.”
If you relate to the hustle and grind of owning a business, it may be time to change how you run things. Start by checking in with yourself. Are you taking breaks regularly? Are you relaxing on the weekends? How are your energy levels throughout the week?
It’s also beneficial to look at your routine to see if there are ways to switch it up.
“One of the best ways to break free of the plateau phase in your business is to participate in a new experience,” notes Meredith Ryncarz of The Restart Specialist. “It shakes up your thinking about the business and daily routine and gets your brain firing creatively again.”
If you’re feeling uninspired, it’s a sign to try something new or spend time with people who can bring out your passionate side. Signing up for a workshop or conference can fuel your creativity. However, participating in a new experience can be as simple as “trying a new restaurant or shaking up your daily routine at work,” Ryncarz assures.
When you allow yourself to recharge, you can open the floodgates of innovation and business growth.
Recognize the positive aspects of plateauing
Although a plateau may seem negative, it can also signify where you should be. Vizcaino explains this mindset, stating, “always striving for growth is crucial—you’re happy with your progress. If you feel like you’re in a good place, you might be precisely where you need to be.”
Ryncarz agrees, adding, “Sometimes that simply means that you hit your stride and are content where you are.”
Being an entrepreneur is a journey of ups, downs, and in-betweens. It’s healthy to experience peaks, valleys, and plateaus in business. So allow yourself to appreciate your progress, reflect on your business’s trajectory, and take the journey one step at a time.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.