The 5 Most Common Excuses For Why Your Business Is Stuck In Neutral

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Is your business stuck at the stage from where it cannot move forward anymore? Do you find yourself making excuses for not seeing any growth? Then this article is for you!

Growing your business is a lot of hard work! I know this better than most. Over nearly a decade of work my company grew by an average of 46% every year and it was a lot of hard work! Whatever gross revenue high mark we achieved the year before we grew an astonishing 50% the next year, and the next, and the next.

For owners that have a knack for business development like me making plans, executing strategies, and living with constant change is invigorating. Each new insurance carrier or third party administrator that we added, every new large loss we received, each time a new insurance agent sent us work, thrilled and energized me. Every day was a sunshine day filled with new opportunity.

But what if your days are not filled with sunshine, and instead you feel mired down and stuck in the mud. Your hopes and dreams for your company’s development have gone unfulfilled. The joy of starting your own business and growing it into a “going concern” has been replaced with the darkness of disappointment over your fading hopes for greatness.

When growth eludes us, disappointed owners each seem to speak a common language of excuses. They voice the same issues and share similar concerns as others who have become unhappy with business. “I never thought running a business would be so hard and growing it would seem so impossible,” many conclude.

When asked why they don’t do something about the issues that produce disappointment you hear the same excuses time and time again. The real problem with lack of growth is not out there, but it is in here, in the heart and mind of the owner. Have you ever heard someone else, or perhaps yourself say:

1. “I’m confused and I don’t know what to do.”

The truth is many owners genuinely don’t know what to do to turn the corner, to generate more work, to improve fading profits. They get stuck, caught up in the daily grind and all they can see are the problems and challenges of owning a small business. Their creativity has been shattered by circumstances and the daily stress of being a small business owner.

While I too sometimes felt confused while I was walking on unfamiliar ground, I always found help in my network of relationships who I reached out to often. Drawing on the experience and counsel of others oftentimes shed the light I needed to make my path clearer and my decisions more certain. Whatever issue I faced I was always certain I could find the answer and I searched the counsel of others until I found it.

2. “I just don’t have the time to do more than I am already doing.”

This is perhaps the #1 reason given by restoration owners for why they don’t grow beyond where they currently are. “I just don’t have the time to invest in growth”, they say. I know first-hand how demanding and all-consuming small business management can be. My company grew from a startup to a successful hyper-growth company over nearly a decade of work. I lost entire summers to hail and wind catastrophes and worked 24/7 during these times. BUT, there is always time to do the right thing, the needed thing. When I became convinced that I had to spend more time working on, not in, my business, my perspective changed, and I became even more intentional about doing the right things that would undergird my growth plans and reach the success I so desperately wanted.

3. “I am overwhelmed by the daily demands of running my business, and I feel like I am drowning.”

Yes, you may feel psychologically and physically overwhelmed by the constant stress of ownership, but there are still those moments that can be devoted to future planning. My wife and I would regularly go to our favorite restaurant, sit at the bar over margaritas and talk about our life and business. The owner once bought us a free round of drinks because he said he saw us so frequently and wanted to show his appreciation. I told him that we came to his restaurant whenever we had a hard day and needed to decompress or had a good day and wanted to celebrate. “We are here four or five nights a week”, I joked. We all laughed. But it was true. Some of our best business decisions were made at that restaurant where we would sit, tired but unhurried, and could think and talk, plan and make decisions about the future of our lives, and our business.

Where do you go or what do you do that gives you the space to think and dream, to plan and prepare for tomorrow? You know what it is. Do it more often and spend some of that time planning for the future of your business, and not simply dealing with its current operation and problems.

4. “I am afraid growth will cost me money I don’t have.”

I know conventional wisdom tells us that you pay upfront in order to grow by buying more equipment, adding new staff, or whatever. I never found that very helpful, or doable. I always found that I just needed to stretch a little more until the revenue was produced by our growth efforts, and then I could spend the money to add a new layer of management, a new estimator, or new specialty equipment. You go through a period where you just have to stretch, a little bit more.

The good news is you have capacity to absorb more work right now, don’t you? You are not completely full. You could do more. So for the short term you identify those opportunities that will produce the most value with the least amount of cost. Every business has them. You just need to look, identify, and seize. Really!

5. “I just don’t do those growth or planning things well.”

This may be your most valuable insight and good for you if this is true and you see it. But if it is true that you aren’t a good strategist or you don’t execute well on growth plans, you must get help from someone who does. I meet many business owners who have a limited number of skills. The successful ones go strong on what they do well, and they turn to others to supplement and compliment their weaknesses with strength. As the owner you are responsible to insure stability and growth, but you don’t have to do it all yourself.

You can grow. I am confident you can! Which will it be? Do you see the opportunity? Will you reach out and seize it? Sure you can! If you need help, there is help available. I sought help from others, and found it. You can ask for help from others, and get it.



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Photo credit: gabrielsaldana via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA