By Lisa Maxwell on August 9, 2018
Plateau’s aren’t just geographic features. They happen in weight loss, in learning a new skill, and of course in business growth. When it does we tend to get discouraged, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We need to view hitting a plateau as an accomplishment. You’ve worked hard to reach this point, and it’s time to rest and re-evaluate. After you do that you can implement changes to your business and keep progressing. A business, like any enterprise we undertake, may hit many plateaus; I know that I have hit them in my own professional career but taking that break and regrouping has made challenges surmountable. It really gives you a great sense of accomplishment taking it from Point A to Point B and beyond and looking at how you have progressed.
In business facing a plateau can be a game changer. You had a great rhythm going on with generating business and getting leads in the pipeline and then suddenly, the same methods are no longer working. Many factors can cause a plateau in your business including cost increases, organizational dynamics, and demographic saturation. But never mind the plateau, here are some ways you can blast past it and move on to the next level.
Stop Being Reactive: Take the bull by the horns as they say! Being proactive will help eliminate or at least reduce plateauing. Understand what your organizational limitations are, and consistently evaluate the solutions you need to strive forward. For our organization, implementing a new CRM system helped to keep track of leads and address them in a timely fashion. Having visibility on this information was essential to our sales efforts. In other industries, things like barcoded or bin-organized inventory can be essential to decrease waste or excess reordering. Don’t let your Inventory be misplaced and unable to sell because your warehouse is an unknown abyss. Effective warehouse management is a great area to be proactive and, there are lots of business process and technological options that will allow you to improve this, including barcoding and warehouse automation software. These are also some great tools for customer service.
Eliminate Busy Work: Manually entering information into one system and then copying it into another system and again into another system is a waste of time and opens the door for major inaccuracies. Years ago, I worked for a firm that had multiple systems to run their business. They had an EDI system, an invoicing system, a shipping system and spreadsheets for inventory! It stopped our business from flourishing because it was a chore to find out what we had in stock, who owed us money and who was on credit hold and to ensure our EDI system transmitted correctly to avoid chargebacks. Talk about a plateau! We knew at that point that we needed an all in one solution to handle our business needs. We evaluated several ERP all-in-one solution and business consulting firms to help with implementing them. We settled on one and sales increased, employee moral increased, and EDI chargebacks decreased. It was a win, win, win!
Celebrate and Have Faith: When hitting a plateau, my first reaction is to wonder what I did wrong and try to find something to blame for it. Really though, you should celebrate the fact that you’ve made progress and experienced growth to get to the plateau. It is very easy to lose track of your accomplishments and we should always take a moment to look down from the plateau and realize how far we’ve come. Plateaus are just the ebb and flow of success. Have confidence and faith in your business plan, and your motivation which you have used to succeed with many times will drive you upward toward your goals. Think of it as a dip or bump in the road. Celebrate your successes, evaluate your weaknesses and move forward from plateauing. You’ve done it before and you can do it again!