Why isn’t my business growing? If you are asking this question, we have the answer to why businesses stop growing. But you may be surprised what it is. Fear.

Why Isn’t My Business Growing? Is Fear Holding You Back from Scaling?

Are you overthinking your way to growth?

You’ve got to the point where you need to scale your business to grow your business. But something is holding you back. 

When you first started your agency, you had nothing to lose and everything to gain. That dynamic has changed. You want to grow your business, but you have much to lose. Everything you have built your firm to be. Your income, your status, and your reputation.

The thing is unless you take action to scale your agency, then you will never break free of the position you are in. Your business will rely on you. What if you are ill? What if you want to get away for a few months? How do you reap the rewards of the success you have built to date?

Why businesses stop growing – the dynamic of fear in business

The worst thing that can happen to someone is failure. Yet every time there is an opportunity for success, there will be a chance for failure too. When you started out, the opportunity/risk profile was far different from what it is now your business is paying you. A lot of creative agency owners must face the risk of losing everything when they try to grow their business. 

Everyone has a fear of risk – but not everyone knows what it is. 

The issue with risk-taking is that the outcome is unpredictable, and that’s what scares us most. But taking risks gives us an opportunity to grow, learn, and do things differently than we ever have before. So, while fear of failure may hold you back from taking risks in your business unless you overcome this fear your business won’t grow to where you need it to be.

Therefore, it is important for you to take calculated risks to increase your chance of success – just like you did when you didn’t have anything to lose.

Fear makes you overthink your way to growth

Okay, so you want to take calculated risks. The trouble is, your fear can lead to overthinking your way to growth – and this leads to continuing to stagnate.

I like to think of the analogy of growth as a road with two ditches: 

  • On the left is the ditch in which the agency owner is the hero. You’re the one who does it all. You develop all your business strategies. You are involved in everything from HR to quality control, to accounts, and so on. Without you, your business would cease to operate.

  • On the right is a ditch in which your team does it all. You sit back and allow it all to happen around you, with others responsible for every aspect of your business.

Here’s where it becomes difficult. 

First, you find it almost impossible to move from the ditch you know. Doing things this way has created the success that has brought you to where you are now. Moving away from the comfort of the ditch you are in is scary. What if the change you make loses it all?

Second, you know that things must change. So, you look across at the opposite ditch. The grass is always greener, isn’t it? If the ditch you are in has taken you as far as you can go, then the other ditch must surely be the answer. Agency owners who are striving for growth often overinflate the ditch that they are in:

  • If you are a business owner who does it all, you believe the way to growth is to go all-in on the right-hand ditch.

  • If your business is totally team-led, you believe that you must now bring everything back under your direct control to get on the path to growth.

This overthinking leads to one outcome. You steer from ditch to ditch, instead of driving on that smooth blacktop that lies between the two.

Unlock business growth: understand yourself

It’s difficult to admit that you fear the future and that taking risks is now a psychological step too far for you. Yet, it is the vision of an exciting future that is compelling you to grow your business. 

This battle between the status quo and an exciting future is a difficult one to win. There is one thing I do know. You’re an entrepreneur. You will never be satisfied living in the status quo.

Thus, it is crucial to take time for self-reflection. Gain the insight of yourself that will help you overcome your fear. What is really holding you back is fear of change. It is hard to believe that what has got you here, won’t get you there. But it is true. To step up to the next level, you must do things differently.

Fear of losing what you have vs excitement of a new future

The fear that comes with change is a natural reaction. It’s normal to be uncomfortable when you are contemplating something new. The key is to stay open-minded and embrace the change, because of all the potential it holds.

If we let our fear of the unknown prevent us from taking risks in business, then our businesses will never grow. 

It is important that we take risks in business because if we don’t, how can we know how far our business can take us? If we are too afraid of change, then this means that all our growth has stopped. You’ll be roadblocked where you are now.

There is an obvious fear as entrepreneurs look forward to a new chapter in their businesses. Fear of losing what they have, but also the excitement of a new future. Overcome your fear, and you will be pushed to change your business model to one that will put you on the road to sustainable growth.

Eliminate your business owner fear to scale your business

The problem of fear of change in business is a major one for agency owners on the cusp of real growth. You may be fearful that the changes will lead to the end of growth for your firm, or that they could see your firm tailspin backward. It’s natural to fear the risk of losing it all.

A successful company needs to evolve and change with time. It cannot just stay stagnant and let others take over because it doesn’t want change. By not changing, you are getting stuck in your ways and not adapting to the new market. Eventually, it is this that will lose you everything.

Has your business reached the point where growth beckons, but your fear of change is holding it back? What do you understand of the potential risks and rewards associated with a business scaling strategy?

Take our growth phase assessment to discover where your firm is positioned. It only takes a couple of minutes, and you will gain valuable insight to help your firm grow faster and more sustainably.

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