WW#007: Stop Running In Treacle

How to Escape the Treacle Trap in Your Business

September – the beginning of the school year and so often a time for fresh starts, fresh initiatives, and fresh projects. I often think that starting something new at this time of year can feel more optimistic than in January: let’s face it, starting something when it’s cold and dark outside can often feel more like a chore

But what I also find is that when people start something new in September, they’re not really thinking beyond the next quarter. They put a few new things in place, get themselves to Christmas, and then on the 1st of January suddenly find themselves needing to think about the calendar year ahead. That lack of forethought can really hamstring a business and is one of the key factors that can inhibit growth. Every few months there’s a ‘fresh start’, before the last one has had a chance to gain any traction, as leaders cast about looking for another way to jump start growth.

I also often see clients in a vicious circle of hustling to win new business, getting a project out of the door and then either experiencing a dip when they need to find new work to pitch for, or jumping straight into the next task in front of them. They perform re-actively, instead of proactively: unable to work on their business, because they’re too busy working in it. The company exists and stays afloat, but it can’t move forward, as there’s no tangible plan in place. Of course this is going to stultify growth – it’s impossible to think about what you want the future to look like when you’re trying your hardest to keep the present under control.

This lack of forward motion, combined with numerous ‘fresh starts’, can have another unintended side effect, which can be equally damaging: a lack motivation within your team.

New initiatives, trying to build on the momentum of the last project using new processes, or simply trying to create some momentum, may fall at the first or second hurdle, either from the absence of a proper plan behind it, but also because your team simply aren’t motivated to work on their fifth or sixth new ‘master plan’. Think about it – if you don’t have any clearly defined goals other than ‘grow’, and no real idea of how to achieve them beyond something you’ve only researched in passing, your team is bound to look at any new ideas with skepticism. You need them to buy into and become accountable for the future, which they’re not going to do if coming to the office feels like Groundhog Day.

So how can you build and maintain growth if you’re going back to the drawing board every quarter.

It can feel overwhelming, I know, but by planning a proper growth path, and delivering work in a more coordinated way, you can improve your business prospects organically and sustainably.

At Amplified it’s my passion to help you create a plan to change and grow your business, quickly and sustainably. I’ll work with you every step of the way to show you how growth can be achieved and maintained, from a vision planning process all the way through to regular accountability check-ins.

Find out how I could help you with planning, mindset, culture & scaling in as little as 1 hour a month...

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James Potten


On a mission to democratise entrepreneurship by providing access to best practice, helping startups sustainably scale up.