Stop Burning Out ON Content Marketing For Your Biz

Words By Tara Wagner

28 Reasons Your Small Business Isn’t Growing & How to Grow a Business That’s STUCK

Tara sitting at wooden cafe table with laptop. Hand is placed on chin and face posed with a smile.

This is going to feel like a tough-love video, so buckle up buttercup. If you need to grow a business, but you are stuck or stagnant, you can’t seem to make it go, we’re going to talk about 28 reasons why that might be the case.

Watch here or read on below.

28 Reasons your small business isn't growing and how to grow a business that's STUCK

I want you to treat this like a self-audit, grab a pen, grab a piece of paper and ask yourself an honest question with each one of these, “Does this apply?” You ready?

Business stagnation happens in two phases of business. 

The first is just the getting off the ground phase.

This is going to be in your first one to three years when you’re new to business and you can’t seem to figure it out. Also, you can’t seem to gain enough traction to really get the ball moving and you end up feeling like you’re just not cut out for this. 

The second phase that this is going to happen in is a little bit later on down the road. When your business is more mature, you are making money.

Now, instead of trying to get off the ground, you’re trying to get off the plateau, right? Or you’re hitting your head against the ceiling. 

This is going to be where you’re making money, but you can’t seem to make more than what you’re making right now or what you’ve always made. And you probably feel a little bit like you can’t keep your head above water.

You’re totally overwhelmed. And you’re starting to think, “Do I even want to grow my business bigger? Because if I’m this stressed out now, how much more stressed am I going to be down the road?”

So let’s talk about the 28 reasons why you’re stuck right here.

And these reasons can apply to both phases of business. So regardless of where you are pay close attention. 

And again, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, how does this apply to me? 

Now, by the way, most of these are not in order of most common to least common. 

However, this first one probably is the most common. 

#1 You are using a wait-and-see approach to marketing.

This means all the marketing you’re doing is basically putting stuff out there, but you’re not actually going out there and bringing people to you. 

You’re putting stuff out there and then hoping that people find it and come in. Really take an honest look at all of your marketing strategies and ask yourself, “Am I just hoping people will come in, or am I going out and actively bringing them in myself?” 

#2 You don’t know your buyers.

Number two might actually be the second, most common reason you can’t grow a business. And that is, you don’t know who your buyers are. This could be related to not having a niche of buyers.

And I know that that’s a tricky topic. 

So if you do not like that topic, make sure you watch here, I don’t love the topic either. But the way that I talk about it is a little bit different. 

However, this could also apply to just not having a deep understanding of your buyers. If you don’t really know them, almost as good as they know themselves (maybe in some ways better), you’re going to have a hard time selling to them. 

Because all of your marketing, all of your sales strategies, everything gets geared around their psyche, not your ideas.

#3 You are confusing your buyers.

This could be because you have too many offers, you’re chasing too many ideas. Ultimately, you’re going in too many different directions. Or it could just be the things that you’re offering up aren’t exactly clear on how they’re going to serve that ideal buyer.

We talk about this in the Breakthrough Boss® Inner Circle. We discuss having a cohesive pathway for your people to walk down, something that is streamlined, all of your offers, fit together and follow a natural progression. 

If you don’t have that in your business (one cohesive pathway) you’re not going to have people who know how to walk it. 

#4 You’re chasing excitement versus consistency.

We’re all guilty of this one. 

This is where you’re changing your offers, you’re changing your marketing based on what peaks your interest or what seems new and exciting at that moment. Or maybe just what seems less hard versus sticking with one thing long enough to really gain traction in it. 

It is better to do fewer things for a longer period of time to get really good at them than it is to try all the things. Nothing is going to work right out of the gate. There’s always a learning curve. 

There’s always time that it takes to really start to see the results of something. So if you’re not consistent with it, you end up just doing too much, which ends up being, not doing anything at all. 

#5 You haven’t completed market research.

Oh my gosh. The number of us that are guilty of this. I’ve done this in my business too. 

If we have a great idea, we just run with it thinking it’s a great idea, of course, people are going to love it. 

But if you haven’t done the market research, if you haven’t tested it, then you haven’t proven that your people are going to love it. You can end up wondering why it’s just crickets. 

It’s crickets because you ran with your great idea, not making sure that somebody else thinks it’s great as well. 

This doesn’t just relate to your first offers, by the way, you could be in business for five or 10 years and decide to add something new. You still get to do the market research to validate it before you put the time, energy, and money into trying to sell it. 

#6 Your messaging is missing the mark.

When I’m talking about your messaging, I’m talking about the things you say and how you say them. 

Are they grabbing your people? 

And the way that you know this is if people come to you and say, “Oh my gosh! I read your stuff and I was in tears,” or “it was like you were reading my diary.” Or “I was just saying that exact same thing to so-and-so the other day. 

If your messaging isn’t grabbing your people, it’s not going to convert your people either. 

#7 Your branding doesn’t match your messaging.

Now again, remember, these are just reasons why a business might not be growing. They don’t necessarily go in this order. 

The number of times I’ve seen people want to have premium pricing, but not have the branding, the messaging, the images, the copy, and everything else around it related to branding for your business.  

If you’re trying to sell a high ticket item or you’re trying to sell something that is more of a premium product, you got to make sure that your branding speaks to a premium audience. If it doesn’t, you either need to change your branding or change your pricing; one or the other. 

#8 You are spending too much time on branding versus marketing.

You can make everything look perfect, polished, absolutely beautiful, high-end. But if you’re not marketing and marketing in the right ways, what does it matter? If your website looks great, nobody’s going to see it. 

#9 You are spreading yourself way too thin on marketing.

This is when we try to do every marketing strategy out there. 

What I want you to figure out is the right strategies for your business. Then, stick to them in the right amount of ways until you have the ability to outsource it, to bring other people in, and to add more to your plate.

#10 You are carrying too many buckets while not building a pipeline.

This is something we talk about in the Breakthrough Boss® Inner Circle: buckets versus pipelines. If your job is to bring water every day, you can haul buckets to do that. It’s fast. It pays the bills it’s necessary and yes, keep doing it. 

But at the same time, you need to be building a pipeline because you can only carry so many buckets in a day, in a week, in a month.

 Which means you’re going to hit that plateau or that ceiling in your business and not be able to grow past it. 

This is simply because you are doing work that you have to show up for every day. 

Once you start to build a pipeline, that’s going to start bringing people in, right? 

This is the marketing and sales that brings people in naturally and is scalable. It doesn’t require a certain number of hours from you every single week.

Therefore, you’re not going to tap yourself out. 

Really ask yourself here, “how many buckets am I hauling versus how many pipelines?” If you’re new to business, do not neglect your buckets in favor of a pipeline.

Pipelines are slow. They don’t bring in things for a long time. 

So, make sure you are setting aside time on a consistent, probably weekly basis to be building pipelines at the same time so that you don’t hit that plateau.

#11 You’re playing small.

You’re not going after big opportunities. You’re talking yourself out of those opportunities because you don’t feel ready. How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m just not ready for that?”

Or maybe down the road, feel as thought this is just not the right timing. I want to encourage you to question whether or not this is just a form of imposter syndrome, keeping you where you are or whether it’s actually a legitimate reason. 

Most of the time, it’s probably an excuse. But there are times when it’s legitimate. So you need to be honest with yourself. Are you keeping yourself small or are you just pacing yourself? 

#12 You’re not actively developing your weaknesses.

You cannot grow a business if you’re not going to shore up the holes in the boat, right? We all have weaknesses. These are mindset weaknesses. These are skillset weaknesses, things in your business skills that you need to grow this business. 

If you are not setting aside consistent time to develop yourself, your skills, your mindset, your abilities, you’re going to stagnate in your business. You’re not going to be able to grow if you’re not growing yourself. 

#13 You’re not actively growing your KPI skills.

It’s not enough to just grow your coaching skills as a coach. You need to grow your KPIs, your key performance indicators. These are the things that actually grow the business that bring in revenue and focused around marketing and sales primarily. 

You need to know what those look like in your particular business and learn how to develop each individual skill in them. And not just an overall skill, but learn how to hone in, dig in deeper. 

For instance, if you do sales calls in your business, learn how to master different sections of the sales call, not just being good at the overall sales call. Dig into the pieces that you’re weak so that you can develop those skills so that you can grow your business. 

#14 You’re not actively developing yourself.

And yes, this is a little bit like number 12. But what we were talking about there was more developing your specific weaknesses. 

I want you to develop yourself, not just around your weaknesses, but around your strengths as well. And I want you to develop yourself for where you want to go. Not just where you are, what you need right here. 

If you want to go to a 7-8 figure business, notice what you need to get there, like:

  • Leadership skills
  • Mentor skills
  • HR Skills
  • Organizational and planning skills

You don’t need to master 7-8 figure skills now, but you do need to understand that direction and make sure you’re moving in it so that you’re developing yourself. 

A notebook is open with a hand holding a pen writing a checklist.

Your business can only grow up to the level that you are, which means you need to grow higher than your business at all times.

And not playing catch up.

It will never grow bigger than you. So make sure that you are continuing to grow yourself, your ability, even the way that you view yourself, right?

Not just viewing yourself as a small business owner, but viewing yourself as a CEO, viewing yourself as an entrepreneur. Somebody who could run any business, not just this business. 

#15 You’re prioritizing tasks that are maintaining or organizing your business versus growing it.

I call these IPA’s versus ISA’s. And if you want to learn more about it, check out my free training. I go more in-depth on what an IPA versus an ISA is and how to determine them for your business. 

In a nutshell, we’re looking at income-producing activities versus income-supporting activities. And we talk in that class about what your percentage of time needs to be for each one. 

#16 You haven’t structured a business that can scale.

If you’re a service-based business, you really need to think about, “I’ve only got so many hours in a week. How am I going to grow my business without growing my time?” 

This could mean different offers. 

This could also mean bringing in team members who can do the work for you. 

You really need to look, sit down and look long-term where’s my business going and am I structured in a way that it can continue to grow and not cap me out at a certain level. 

#17 You have unrealistic goals or expectations.

Unrealistic goals, unrealistic expectations is when you set the bar so high, that it’s impossible for you to reach you, burn yourself out, trying, or you overwhelm yourself. 

And when you’re overwhelmed, you take no actions at all. On the flip side with that it becomes an uninspiring goal. 

If you have something that doesn’t excite you, you don’t have a reason why it matters. There’s not something behind it driving you. You’re going to have a really hard time wanting to show up and grow your business because what’s the point. It’s not interesting. 

#18 You’re not tracking your numbers.

You’re not tracking your data, your analytics. This is so crucial. 

These numbers will not lie. They don’t always tell the whole truth, but they do not lie. And they will be able to tell you what’s missing and what’s broken.

If you have a sales funnel and let’s say there are five points of that sales funnel. Your numbers will show you which part of the sales funnel is not working. 

You must know, you must track, you must constantly analyze your numbers in order to grow your business. This is how you fine-tune, this is how you fix, this is how you scale. 

#19 Your spending is out of whack.

This probably means you don’t have a budget. 

You are either taking too much profit or too much money is going out into expenses.

This means that you don’t have the money that you need to invest in growth strategies, in coaching and in mentoring, or in the help you need to fix the areas of your business that are broken. 

#20 You are not hiring until you feel ready.

Notice what I just said there. You need to hire before you feel ready. If you wait until after you feel ready, it’s probably too late and your business is suffering. 

Do you need to hire before you feel ready? Because that next hire (if you make the right one), can be strategic to move you forward. But you do need to know who to hire first or next. 

Don’t jump into hiring out your sales or your marketing too soon. This is a tragic mistake I see in a lot of businesses and it’s not the right thing to do for most businesses right out of the gate. 

Most businesses hire these things out because they don’t like to do them, or they don’t know how to do them. But you can only hire something out if you have a pretty decent knowledge of it yourself, otherwise you don’t know if they’re doing a good job. 

#21 You’re not wowing your clients for your customers.

After they’ve purchased, we spend so much time and energy bringing people in, but we forget that once they’re in, that’s our greatest source of marketing. 

They provide word of mouth referrals, testimonials the things that will increase our business for free

And all it comes down to is making those people more than happy. Giving them more than what they expected. 

#22 Your systems are a hot mess.

How can you expect to grow a business if nothing’s automated? If everything is in your head, everything is a mess. 

You’re the one that has to do everything. You don’t have any SOPs. Messy is okay to an extent but you don’t want to have things going on in multiple places. 

You don’t want multiple to-do lists. You don’t want things going everywhere and it will slow you down. It will stop you from growing. 

So yes, it’s okay to have a little bit of a mess. It’s okay to be messy while you’re growing. But at some point, you’re going to have to divert energy into the systems that are going to scale with you. Any system that is in your brain or on a sheet of paper is not a scalable system. 

#23 You are the operator versus the owner or the CEO.

And I have an entire blog post on this topic. 

I highly encourage you to check it out, especially if you’re a service-based business owner, but even if you’re profit-based.

If you are the operator, the person who has to run the business, the person who has to do the services, the person who has to make every product you’re going to cap out, right? You’ve only got so many hours in a week. 

You got to start training yourself to get out of those things and get into CEO mode more and more. And this blog post will show you how to do that.

#24 Your business is not going to grow if you have become the bottleneck.

The bottleneck means that everything has to come through you. Every piece of proofing, every idea, every option, every email response, anything that has to happen in your business. 

If you have to put eyes on it, if you have to check it off, or if you have to see it first, you’re the bottleneck. 

And you gotta learn how to take yourself out of those things.

It’s important to learn how to bring in the right people and train them so that you can trust them and then trust them. Because the only way they’re going to be able to do their job and do a good job is if you get out of their way. 

Don’t become the bottleneck in your business, because this will slow everything down, right?

Think about a bottleneck. Everything goes wide. And then it goes narrow trying to get through that bottleneck. You’re the bottleneck. You’re clogging everything up behind you by having to be in everything. 

Plus you’re spending a lot of brain calories on things that do not need your time and energy.

Which then takes you away from the things that actually bring in more business. If business bottleneck is where you are finding your most troubles learn more with this free mindset training. 

#25 You are spending way too much time worrying about what other people are thinking.

This is when we’re looking at the competition and we’re comparing ourselves. 

When we’re thinking about our friends and family and what are they going to think if they see our ad or we do this, or we do that, or we make more money. 

If you are spending so much time trying not to lose, right? Which is what we do when we’re comparing ourselves and we try to keep up with the Joneses, or we try to keep down with the Joneses. We try to make other people happy. All we’re doing is focusing on not losing.

I want you to focus on your:

  • Goals
  • Values
  • Wins
  • What you want to be known for
  • Your true feelings

And then practice. Learn how to stop worrying about what other people are gonna think so that you can focus on what you know aligns with you.

You cannot make everybody else happy and you certainly cannot be doing what the competition is doing. 

You need to be focusing on making yourself happy, doing what you need and want and know you should be doing in your own business to reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself.

#26 You’re not allowing yourself to slow down long enough to figure out what’s not working and fix it.

That takes time and energy. 

You may be caught up in the hustle and bustle and being too busy to actually work on growing your business. But actually carving out time and energy to work through programs and develop skills grows your business.

And most especially to analyze, what’s actually working. You’re not going to be able to grow your business without analyzing your business. 

This blog post is only the start you need to make sure that you have time set aside on a consistent basis to figure out what’s not working or where you need to be going next. 

#27 You’re burnt out.

It doesn’t matter how many ideas you have, how many strategies you will not be able to see straight, to think straight, to make the right decisions if your brain is fried. 

So if you’re making poor decisions or no decisions, if you’re just trying to keep up with everything, if you’re exhausted – you’ve got to focus on getting healthy before you can actually start growing anything. 

#28 You’re unconsciously nervous about growing your business.

You might be in a stage right now where it’s hard or it’s stressful. It’s really easy to think to ourselves, “If it’s this hard, or if it’s this stressful now, what’s it going to be like if I grow?” 

“If I’m already going through these challenges, if it’s already having this impact on my home, on my family, what’s it going to be like if I grow?”

It’s really easy for us to not realize that we’re staying where we are because we unconsciously think that more means worse. 

What I want you to realize is that where you are is the messy middle, and it’s hard to stay in the messy middle to get to where you want to go.

It means fixing those messes, which means they’re not going to go with you. They can, if you don’t properly fix them, you can carry them forward.

But to really grow, to really be successful, it means fixing the things that are hard and stressful now, so that it becomes smooth. They become easy. 

They become outsourceable so that you can scale your business and not scale the stress, not scale the overwhelm, not scale the frustrations with it. 

Need more support to grow your business?

By the way, these are all things that we help you master in the Breakthrough Boss® Inner Circle from mastering your mindset to structuring your business in a way that allows it to grow without burning out, to learning how to automate the crap out of everything so that you can put it all on autopilot. 

That’s the kind of thing we do.

If you want to learn more, I encourage you to check out my Healthy Hustle Roadmap. 

I have a free class to help you grow a business called How To Use a Holistic Approach To Create a Profitable Business Without Burning Yourself Out. 

The training will teach you the three mistakes small business owners are making and introduce you to the roadmap and the strategies I use to help you create reliable profits in under 40 hours a week. You can grab a free seat for that class by clicking the below.

What about you, Boss?

Which of these 28 reasons applies to your business?

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