"I feel like I've hit a wall."
I hear this a lot. I have heard it more since 2020 than ever before in my career as a CPA. So, let's jump right in. What is this "wall"?
The Wall can be so many different things. Here are just a few of them:
- Plateau –a once-growing business is now feeling stagnant.
- Complete burnout (business edition) – a once-exciting business is now an albatross around your neck.
- Complete burnout (owner edition) – the owner is now feeling tired all the time and questions the reason for doing what he or she is doing on a pretty regular basis.
- Profit ceiling – profits used to grow and grow, and now all of a sudden, no matter what you do, profits just aren’t growing anymore.
- Revenue ceiling – sometimes tied directly to the profit ceiling, but not always. At any rate, sales have slowed and no one seems to know why or how to fix it.
How do you get over The Wall?
Try to reconnect with your original excitement: Any new thing that you do is going to generate excitement just because it’s new. Over time, the newness wears off and you can get bored. Is it possible to reconnect with the original reason you got into this business in the first place?
Address the burnout verbally: If you feel the burnout in your office, among your team, then it’s real. And trust me, they’ve felt it way before now (we are always the last to acknowledge things). It’s not a bad idea to pull everyone together, either in-person or via Zoom, and address the elephant head on. Say it out loud and take away its power, and have a plan ready to lighten everyone’s mental load.
Address your own personal burnout: Let’s face it, everyone gets burned out. I would advise you to disconnect for a bit if you can. Take some time away, stay off your company e-mail and phone, and try to rest your mind. You will be overwhelmed with how much better you feel by just walking away for a few days. You may also need to
speak to a professional about your burnout; if you feel like that’s the way to go, by all means, DO IT. Without you, there is no company.
Revenue and profit ceilings: Psychological factors that the owner and team are experiencing will show themselves in revenue and profit stagnation. How can you be expected to generate buzz about your company when you hate everything? Once you get your mind and the collective minds of your team in a better place, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities that present themselves. I think the universe knows when you’re ready to accept something, and when you are completely miserable, it knows you’re not ready at all.
I’ve personally dealt with burnout, so I know how debilitating it can be. But, remember that this doesn’t mean that everything is wrong and you need to get out. Maybe you do, but in my experience, that’s not the case for about 90% of my small business clients. In most cases, the best thing we can do is address the issue, throw our hat over the wall, and then clamber after it.