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Breaking Through The Seven-Figure Growth Plateau


Kelly O’Neil is a multi-award-winning profit strategist, brand-marketing expert, and host of the EPIC podcast.

If you’ve been grinding and hustling your way to the top, the chances are good that you’ll find yourself stuck in the dreaded “seven-figure growth plateau.” That plateau keeps the most brilliant businesses stuck like a pinball bouncing between two numbers, unable to break through to the next level.

What got you here won’t get you there.

Typically, when a service business is in growth mode, getting past the first $100,000 is a momentous occasion. Usually, the next hurdle is around $350,000. And then comes the epic seven-figure revenue stream.

So, what does it take to keep accelerating your revenue gains (and achieving new goals) in your business? Well, I’ll tell you this much: It’s not what you’ve been doing.

What got you to $100,000 in revenue simply won’t get you to $500,000 or $1 million or beyond.

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If you really want to ratchet up your business, it’s imperative that you get out of the “service provider” role and start thinking, acting and being like a CEO.

To break seven figures, you have to think about things like:

• How can I add streams of revenue to scale my business without me?

• What processes and systems do I need in place to support steady growth?

• How can I attract and retain the best team that will build my business for me?

• How can I create a growth-centric company culture that creates a loyal team and clientele?

Next, you need to revise your daily action items in your new CEO role.

As the CEO, your job is to focus strategically on the big picture and make sure your company is heading in the right direction. Everything else can (and should) be delegated to someone on your team.

Focus on strategy, not just tactics.

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Lack of strategy can stagnate even the best business. Many entrepreneurs got to this level by hustling, grinding and putting in long, grueling hours. To break out of the seven-figure growth plateau, I recommend looking to famous Chinese strategist and general Sun Tzu, who once said:

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Strategy is the overarching map of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Tactics are your execution. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s vital to focus on your strategy first and foremost. You can’t just rely on tactics to get you out of a rut—you need a clear plan and understanding of how you’re going to achieve your goals. Only then can you start implementing tactics.

This also means you need to take a look at your business holistically. You may need to augment your business model or service offerings to start growing again. But all of these changes should be made to achieve their strategic objectives.

If you feel like your business is on pause, don’t panic. Start focusing on your strategy. If this is an area you lack in, this should be the first expert you hire.

Become KPI-obsessed.

The next thing you need to do is to become obsessed with KPIs. You cannot manage what you do not measure, and entrepreneurs often tend to go by look and feel rather than analytics. This means they are not operating under key performance indicators (KPIs).

Every growth-oriented business has a set of KPIs. This will allow you to manage your team better, more effectively and reach your goals. Not sure which KPIs to adopt? Then you probably need a Fractional CSO (more on that shortly).

Evaluate and elevate your team.

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It’s time to reevaluate the skill set of existing team members. Sometimes, you need to get your existing people into different positions that harness their genius and add to your bottom line. Sometimes it requires replacing them.

Additionally, a period of rapid growth is the time to bring in experts to sharp shoot any growth barriers. Let’s face it; if you or your team knew how to do it, you would have already done it. Bringing on vetted and qualified experts in critical growth areas will help you hit those next KPIs like clockwork.

Fractional C-level executives are also an option gaining popularity in today’s market. A fractional C-level executive can help you strategize and align your business for massive gains. They can also offer expert support without the huge salary, executive compensation package and sign-on bonuses.

In my consulting role as a fractional chief strategy officer, I’ve found that most entrepreneurs at seven figures are actually stunting their businesses’ growth because they simply don’t have the expertise to scale it to eight. And frankly, many of them are ready to bring in someone else to sit at the helm and let them focus on doing work they love.

Prepare for takeoff.

If you find yourself in a seven-figure growth plateau, remember that if you don’t innovate, you won’t accelerate. Instead of spinning your wheels, promote yourself to CEO, focus on strategy, not tactics, become KPI-obsessed and consider elevating your team with the services of vetted professionals such as a fractional CSO. With these strategies in place, you should be ready to start planning your first eight-figure year in no time!


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

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