The Uncomfortable Truth about Growing Your Business in 2017

Let’s talk about how to grow your business to the next level in 2017

First, let’s discuss what to do if you are:

  • Hustling too hard and making too little money
  • Struggling to attract enough leads and customers
  • Attracting the wrong customers and clients
  • No longer fulfilled by a business you once loved
  • Hitting an income plateau and don’t know how to get to the next level
  • Cycling through boom and bust periods, doing launch after launch, without predictable monthly revenue coming in

If any of that resonates, then keep reading. We’re going to talk about the uncomfortable truth that keeps so many businesses from growing (and even dooms many to fail).

Each of the bullet points above is a symptom that your business has hit a growth barrier.

Without the right changes, your business won’t grow.

No matter how hard you work.

No matter how many new tactics and strategies you try.

No matter how many new ideas you through against the wall.

Your income, opportunities, impact and fulfillment will stay stuck until you uncover the cause of the barrier and make the changes necessary to remove it.

Even worse, your business could become irrelevant, wither and die.

The truth is that every month (or year) spent up against a barrier is income, opportunity, and impact lost.

When you look at it that way, you can’t afford to NOT do whatever it takes to bust through now, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.

Not to mention, more people than ever are coming online to share their own message. The ones who bust through the barriers fastest will leave the rest in the dust.

But if you do what so many others are not willing to do and embrace change, even if it’s uncomfortable at first, your business will leap frog to new levels.

This can either be the best or worst thing to happen to you. The choice is yours.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at…

How to Recognize When You’ve Hit a Barrier and How to Bust Through it as Quickly as Possible.

Let me share a quick story about a time I got stuck and how I finally fixed it.

In October of 2005, I started a podcast with a friend to see if this new medium had business potential.

We were thrilled when our “side project” suddenly rushed to the top of the podcast charts, even beating out major brands. Our audience was begging us to create a product for them.

And so a new business was born.

We doubled our income every year for the first three years.

We were making six figures from our podcast before most podcasters had figured out how to make a dime.

Then suddenly, BAM! Our income stopped growing. It didn’t shrink. It just wouldn’t go any higher.

So we buckled down and worked harder, confident that our income would eventually grow again. After all, we just needed to do more of what had gotten us that far, right?

Nope!

The fourth year generated the exact same income as the previous one. We hadn’t realized it yet, but we were slamming up against a growth barrier.

No amount of hard work was going to get us any farther.

Finally, we signed up to work with a coach that a friend recommended. It was a big investment, but we knew we needed to get outside insight.

Right away the coach could see that we were up against a growth barrier. More importantly, he knew why. He showed us that…

In order to break through the barrier and continue growing, we had to make key adjustments to how we operated our business.

Getting past each barrier requires different changes in your business.

It might be a shift in branding, target audience, or business model. Perhaps you’ll need new messaging or marketing systems. It almost always demands an upgrade to your mindset.

Each case is different.

In our case, getting to the next level meant hiring a team. We’d resisted hiring people for two years, worried that it would limit our freedom. And if I’m honest, I was scared of hiring and managing people. It felt so uncertain.

Our coach pointed out that we could either accept the certainty that we would stay stuck at our current income level OR we could step into uncertainty and reach a new level of opportunity and growth.

We knew he was right, so we moved toward the discomfort and invested in hiring a team.

The moment we made the leap, we started seeing the payoff. In fact, we wondered why we hadn’t made the leap earlier.

Our income started growing again.

Here are five key insights to pull from this story to help you break through your next barrier.

1) Growth Barriers Are a Sign of Success

If you’re doing things right you can expect to hit growth barriers along the way. Every entrepreneur does. Barriers are actually mileposts marking your journey.

You see, every business goes through predictable stages of growth. To get from one stage to the next, you have to cross a barrier. The barrier is a sign of bigger things to come.

Think of it as your business challenging you to see if you’re ready and worthy for what’s next. The barrier is an invitation to upgrade.

2) Growth Barriers are an Opportunity to Upgrade

Again, what got you here won’t get you there.

Your current mindset, systems, strategies and team (if you have one) have a built-in level of success that they can generate. Eventually, you hit a max.

Every stage of business growth requires a new way of thinking and operating. It’s like installing a new operating system on your computer with new features that enable you to do bigger and better things.

Though upgrading isn’t easy, it’s worth it.

Bigger income, impact, and opportunities are waiting at the next level. But you have to prove you’re ready for bigger rewards.

3) Busting a Barrier Requires Uncomfortable Leaps of Faith

We’ve already established that it requires change to get to the next level. Change isn’t easy.

And often the required changes are uncomfortable because they require us to expand and step into uncertainty.

The best thing to do is recognize this, embrace it, and take the leap. Have confidence that you are capable of tackling whatever comes your way.

4) You Need Outside Perspective to Break Through a Growth Barrier

The entrepreneurs that move past growth barriers quickly get outside perspective. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to break through on your own.

We each have blind spots when it comes to life and business.

You’ve probably had that experience where a friend is venting about a problem. To you it seems so clear what the problem is and what to do about it. But she can’t see it. She’s too close to the issue.

We’re often so busy working in our business that we fail to see the barrier ahead of us.

Also, we don’t know what we don’t know.

I’ve had clients come to me asking for help refining their marketing message, but when we dig into their business I can see what they need is to pivot their business model.

I see this all the time. It’s easy to make assumptions about what your business needs based on past experience.

However, this often leads to ignoring the underlying problem and focusing on the wrong thing.

That’s why coaches, consultants, mentors, and masterminds are so critical to growth.

They offer foresight outside our own experience, help remove the blinders. and fill in the gaps. They also encourage us to push into unknown (uncomfortable) territory

5) Busting Through a Barrier is an Investment with a High ROI

I’m in an invite-only Facebook Group mastermind with 100 entrepreneurs and influencers each making six- or seven-figures in their business.

One day someone asked the group what the most important shifts were to go from 100k, to 500k and then to a million dollars a year.

One of the answers really stood out to me because it’s so true.

“The tricky thing about getting to seven figures is you have to start investing in ‘seven figure things’ even before you are making seven-figure money.

As my friend Breanne Dyck says, “You have to build for the business you want, not the business you have.”

Entrepreneurs who grow quickly are willing to invest resources into upgrading their mindset, systems, strategy, and business model — even if it feels like a leap of faith to do so.

In the case of my earlier story, we had to invest money into hiring team members. It wasn’t easy to commit to a new monthly expense.

But the truth is, it wasn’t an expense. It was an investment because it freed up our time so that we could focus on more profitable activities.

As a result, our income started growing again.

Your changes might be different, but there will always be an investment.

Whether it’s hiring a coach, building a team, buying new software or any other investment of time, money or energy, it will feel like a leap of faith.

Remember that there’s an ROI just on the other side of the barrier.

Also remember what our coach told us. You can either except the certainty that you’ll stay stuck at your current level or you can step into uncertainty of change and reap the rewards.

In my next post, I’ll outline the most common barriers to business growth and how to get passed each.

It will help you assess your specific situation and what changes are necessary to get to the next level of impact and income.

After all, the last thing we want is for 2017 to end only to realize that you’re still stuck in the same place.

In the meantime, look at the list below and pick out the statement that best describes the barrier you’re up against right now. This will help you prepare to break through it.

  • I’m hustling too hard and making too little money
  • I’m struggling to attract enough leads and customers
  • I’m attracting the wrong customers and clients
  • I’m no longer fulfilled by a business you once loved
  • I’ve hit an income plateau and don’t know how to get to the next level
  • I cycle through boom and bust periods, doing launch after launch, without predictable monthly revenue coming in