The other day Jamie’s son told her that he aspired to be a back up goalie when he moved up the ranks to the pee wee division in hockey. It reminded her of business and hitting a plateau and the moment a business leader faces a tough choice.
Many businesses hit a point of discomfort (AKA a plateua) and then give us a shot.
It’s frustrating when you:
- earn more revenue yet you are not profitable
- have growing sales (& profit) but you are cash poor
- invest in resources and still don’t increase your sales
Many business leaders know they have choices but they struggle to understand what all the possibilities are and/or their best option.
Sometimes they need to grind and shift their focus to profit.
A return on invested capital requires disciplined focus.
Sometimes there’s a risk worth taking.
Let’s explore what to consider if you’ve hit a plateau. We will talk through it from the angle of people, financial strategy, and technology and data.
As they say in the book “Good to Great”, do you have the right people on the bus?
If you are leaping, it may require discipline and sophistication that isn’t of interest to your early joiners or those with the entrepreneurial spirit to build a company.
Intelligent and amazing people shine at different stages of business. It doesn’t mean they are better or worse.
Are you willing to invest in new or additional people? Or to offer the training and development that your current players require?
We see clients make this decision and hire their first CFO as a result. Our Fractional CFOs support businesses that are breaking through their plateaus.
Our Recruiting Services also helps build teams to support these leaps.
It’s disruptive and challenging, but it can be pretty incredible if you take the leap and invest.
A strategy designed to break a plateau can be disastrous if it’s not accompanied with a financial strategy. Putting numbers to the plan is always crucial, but it’s even more critical when facing decisions to scale.
You need to know if organic growth can fund your growth plans and what the sales and profit have to do.
If you need an injection of cash to fund the following steps, you need to understand the state of your balance sheet and whether it should be equity or debt or a combination.
Our CFOs are helping clients with these choices every day. They are focused on financial strategy. We also have candidates that join teams permanently (or temporarily) through our Recruiting Services to help with this.
Growth takes investment and before you start the hard work you need a clear vision of your financial strategy.
TECHNOLOGY & DATA
Growth gets stunted if you can’t scale. And the ability to scale if you have to hire to support the work constantly is much too costly. That cost chips away at a profit, leaving little to show for the risk you took and the team’s efforts.
To avoid hiring yet another clerk for the next 100 transactions, or another analyst to comb through data, or a coordinator to support the customer and the team, you’ll need to look at what technology can do.
A business can only go so far without automated controls, technology-enabled processes and the tools to support the employees.
Further to avoiding manual efforts is the need for integrated data. If data is collected all over the place and across all different systems and departments, it won’t get used.
And when management can’t access data, they will turn to making decisions from their gut.
And nothing stops you from breaking through a plateau quicker than relying on the gut.
Don’t get us wrong; the most brilliant business leaders lean on it a lot. They can disproportionately use their gut to build fantastic businesses. But they can’t scale it. Their people can’t learn it. Instinct can’t be automated. And if a company is wholly dependent on the intuition of a unicorn, it will not scale. It also will have minimal value as a buyer can’t purchase the “gut” at the heart of the business.
If a company is wholly dependent on the intuition of a unicorn it will not scale.
AmplifyTech helps clients with data and automation by implementing and licensing NetSuite. NetSuite is the #1 Cloud ERP and top choice for companies that break plateaus through a decision to IPO. The consolidation abilities support entities that grow through acquisitions and other legal entities, products or services. The multi-currency simplifies the complications of international growth. And the integrated data brings clarity to decision making.
An investment in an Enterprise Resource System is a big step, but it’s necessary if you want to break the plateau and scale.
It isn’t easy to scale and grow and level up. And for some, the comfort of the backup goalie or the status quo might be the better choice.
It comes down to your ambitions and purpose.
But it also depends on your excitement for making significant changes to your people, dedication and focuses on your financial strategy and willingness to invest in technology and data.
We love talking about the choices and expectations of the next stage of growth. Call us to brainstorm!
Do you know what happens to the businesses that aim for perfection and don’t prioritize?
Sometimes they never get off the ground. We’ve seen this happen where the company tanks before they’ve ever earned a single dollar of revenue.
Other times they ramp up but die when they hit their first obstacle or plateau.
As you grow your priorities shift and eventually the ‘mess’ or those areas where the minimum viable product, process or system that once did the trick, now needs to be prioritized because it’s a hot mess!
Part of the choices and expectations you face when deciding to scale and level up is cleaning up those neglected areas.
How do you decide when to shift investment and fund the scale and clean up a department or function?
Here are some questions to consider in each area to decide what could hold you back and what should be on the roadmap.
Sales & Marketing
If you are a referral-based business and haven’t built a sales and operating model that can exponentially grow your reach, you’ll hit a plateau.
If every sale requires a new customer, the cost of acquiring a customer will not be scalable. And the lifetime value of a customer won’t be high enough to see real leaps in growth.
- How can you provide value to existing customers?
- How can you reach new customers?
- How can you invest in brand value?
If you are a company operating on the backs of specific individuals and your processes are both manual and ingrained in the team, you will hit a plateau.
Suppose no one takes the time to prioritize documenting processes, automation and putting resources towards the operating model. In that case, you’ll find that you can’t duplicate your success with new products, services or locations.
If you have to hire a superstar for every new initiative and each department and location does it their way with complete autonomy, the company’s growth will sacrifice.
- How can you standardize without going corporate or bureaucratic?
- How can you build an operational model that captures the best of what you do?
If your CEO is working in the business and not on the company and you haven’t invested in taking the time to focus on vision and strategy and leadership, you’ll find that you are running multiple fragmented businesses under one name without alignment.
When you aren’t anchored on shared values, a ‘north star, a purpose or a why, then you will hit a plateau as resources will compete and not compliment.
- How can you get the team swimming in one direction and excited about it?
- How can you check in on your team to ensure the culture and employee experience support the company’s overall goal and strategy?
Data and Technology
- Do you have transparency with your data?
- Do you know when you are winning?
- Can you measure Key Performance Indicators?
- Can you make decisions quickly with timely and accurate data?
CFOs become the Chief Data Officer in all size entities, and CFOs have often held up the IT department, so it is no surprise that we are prepared to help you with your data and technology.
We do that through AmplifyTech and as an Oracle NetSuite Solutions Provider.
Finance & Accounting
- Is your strategy also understood and documented as a financial strategy?
- Do you have an executive with a financial lens on your leadership team?
- Are you a Finance Leader focused on growth, strategy, and the top line as they are on historical information, compliance, and costs?
We started as a Finance Leader provider and we continue to grow our services with Financial Leadership, Fractional CFO, Fractional Controller and Accounting Services. Our team supports growing businesses.
- Are your people excited and prepared?
- Have you invested in them and the employee experience?
- Can you onboard with consistency and a firm focus on your ‘north star’, values, purpose and why?
If part of your investment in people includes CPAs, our Recruiting Services can help.
We place both permanent and temporary roles in clients of all sizes.
Check out our Epic Team and give us call 1-587-747-3955.