What are breakpoints?
Breakpoints are those periods where growth is interrupted in the business. These interruptions could happen for any number of reasons: process, people, fear, and more. But what’s most important is how you respond to the breakpoints in your business.
These disruptions create what I call inflection points. Depending on how you manage the situation, you will either be making your way through a cycle of growth or a cycle of decline.
People have a tendency to be reactive in life, and that reactive nature doesn’t usually involve a whole lot of listening, reflection, or positivity. A reactive nature is mostly just resistance, which in turn creates friction. The same is true in business. I would urge you to embrace your breakpoints, because they’re an indicator of something bigger. There’s a reason they’re happening. They’re telling you something. But are you listening?
The natural breakpoints most every business experiences
It is through your struggles — and by paying closer attention to why they’re happening — that you’ll earn a more granular understanding of your business. Honoring these moments will help you honor your business and will create a level of growth you might have never thought possible.
Let’s face it, unless you’ve been through the process as a business owner as many times as I have, the weight of growth can kill you. You’ll buckle under the pressure. Most people just don’t know what to expect from the different stages of a business’s growth.
A business has natural breakpoints as it grows in revenue, typically from zero to the first million, one to three million, three to eight million, eight to fifteen million, and so on.
A business’s breakpoints tend to go through a predictable cycle related to its operations, usually starting out as people-driven, then by process, followed by systems, back to people, and then to technology and data, executive development, expansion, and growth. What matters most is how you respond.
With the right insight and discipline, breakpoints create inflection points
A business’s breakpoints are predictable as it grows, and they create inflection points that shrewd business owners and teams can take advantage of. By anticipating your business’s breakpoints, you can see them for what they are — growing pains that can be embraced and learned from — and your organization can move through them positively.
Those organizations that don’t prepare, don’t reflect, and aren’t honest with themselves about their periods of struggle are only doing a disservice to their teams, clients, and themselves. You’ll cause your business to retreat. Ultimately, you’re lowering your belief lid, and as a leader you’re limiting everyone else’s perspective of what’s possible.
Don’t let your breakpoints create fear. And don’t let fear create limitations in your business. Don’t run from them. These breakpoints and inflection points are happening on the edge of a new level of success, and if you lean into them and learn from them, you’re learning a level of entrepreneurial intuition that’s just as valuable to your organization as any other critical role or skill.
It takes years of assessment and discipline to clearly identify the elements in your business that you need to improve upon in a breakpoint so that, instead of falling into the decline cycle, you’re creating an inflection point that fosters new growth. These are some of the most important questions you should ask yourself as your business grows:
- How do you know when you’re encountering a breakpoint?
- What should you do to prepare for breakpoints?
- How should you plan to work through a breakpoint?
Preparing for a breakpoint is all about having a clear vision for what you want to accomplish. The more specific the plan, the better. Benchmark your data against your current stats to know if you’re moving into or away from your plan.
Don’t retreat when it gets hard. Hunker down, look at your data, and go back to when you were struggling and exactly what you were doing and why you were doing it in that period of time. Be honest about what poor decisions you might’ve made. You likely won’t make the same mistakes, but you will likely make better decisions because of everything you’re learning.
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