Whether you like it or not, a growing business will, at some point, experience a time when growth slows down significantly, or even stalls completely.
Most business owners – the vast majority in my experience – fail to see this coming (mainly through ineffective planning and analysis) and so, potentially critically, don’t know what to do about it when it does arrive (note I say “when” not “if”).
Business owners tend to take one of two actions. They either:
Do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Bury their head in the ‘sand’. Assume (usually sub-consciously) that the ‘crisis’ (for that’s what it will quickly become if not dealt with effectively) does not ‘apply’ to them, and that it will soon go away, or rectify itself, and growth will return….as if by magic!
They panic. Rush around like the proverbial headless chickens. Turn everything upside down. Create chaos and unsettle everyone in the business, and end up right back where they started – with growth going nowhere!
Unsurprisingly, the lack of planning and strategic thinking to deal with the situation is potentially disastrous for the business.
So, what do you do when growth slows/stalls?
First, and this is important, do not panic!
Second, as you work through this challenging time, always remember to think strategically – how everything you do ‘fits’ into the ‘big picture’ for your business.
Then, you need a clear plan and process for working through this business risk to truly understand and deal with it. For example…
Step 1: get everyone, especially those with the relevant skills and experience, involved who needs to be involved.
Having a team who can ‘access all areas’ is essential to success, and is vital in getting a complete insight into the causes, effects and solutions for their issue.
Step 2: ensure there is plenty of energy in the team and the process at all times.
Any solution needs to be achieved in a timely manner, no matter how challenging it is.
Step 3: the solutions is reality….not magic!
Take a practical, subjective, ‘here and now’ approach to getting growth going again.
Step 4: give finding a solution your complete focus.
Finding the causes of slowing/stalling growth, and a solution for it has to be your absolute priority.
If it isn’t, by the time you fully understand the causes and have worked out how to move forward, it may well be too late!
Step 5: search, search, and search again.
The only way you will design and implement a genuinely good solution is from fully understanding the causes of this slowing/stalling growth.
So do everything you can to find every cause, no matter how small, no matter how large.
Only then can you be sure of building an effective solution for the whole business.
Remember to search systematically – leave no stone unturned. It is essential you root out and analyse every cause.
Step 6: take responsibility.
Unless you have conclusive proof to the contrary, take full responsibility for the causes of the slowing/stalling growth.
Step 7: remember to have a back-up too.
Just in case the steps above don’t provide the solution(s) you need, remember there is always the ‘plan B’ option – what else can you do for the good of the business that delivers a step forward?
Remember, the best leaders take immediate ownership and full responsibility for every challenge, and tackle them all head-on. No excuses.
Make sure you do too.
As always, if you would like to discuss building a successful plan, or how to improve your personal development in the fields of business growth, please get in touch.
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