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Has Your Business Fallen Into a Dip?

by Hal Levenson on Aug 23, 2012 12:08:42 PM

How is your business doing? Are you thriving, or are you in a dip? If your sales have decreased, are flat or increased by only two to five percent, Trilogy Partners would say you are probably in a dip. When a business is there, it is typically losing momentum – and probably money. Costs are increasing for every business. If your sales growth is not keeping pace with increasing costs, you are probably losing money. On the change curve (see diagram), you should be able to see “the dip.”

Every company experiences the change curve, whether they realize it or not. Many will experience the change curve multiple times. After the thrill of the initial upswing, when everyone is happy, sales are growing, you are picking the low-hanging fruit as fast as you can, and you watch profits and cash increase, the firm finds itself on a plateau – everything flattens out and no one seems to have a clear idea of what to do to create new growth. If you do nothing, or the wrong thing, the company will slide into “the dip.”

Business owners/executive leaders tend to experience several symptoms of a business in a dip. Do these symptoms feel familiar to you?

  1. Tendency to take less risk or more risk.
  2. Business in a downward spiral
  3. Lack of clear focus on where the company needs to go
  4. Tendency to do more of the work yourself (possibly becoming a control freak)
  5. Lack of a clear plan
  6. Inappropriate responses to confrontation
  7. Frustration, defensiveness and denial
  8. Loss of confidence
  9. Accountability is weaker
  10. Lack of cash

The critical question you must answer is, “how do I pull the company out of this dip?”

Trilogy Partners has discovered through our long history of helping clients through this stage in the life cycle of their companies that three things are essential to regain the upswing:

  • Clear Strategy – You need a strategy that is clear and concise. You need to get everyone in the company in line with your strategy. You, as the leader, must have conviction and passion for the strategy.
  • Empowerment – You must empower your people any your outside professionals or advisors. You must delegate, trust, allow yourself and your people to make mistakes, and be open to different perspectives. (This is difficult because it is counter-intuitive. When under pressure, most business owners will try to do everything themselves.)
  • Accountability – Everyone must be accountable – beginning with you. To hold people accountable, you must have clear goals and metrics to measure achievement of the goals. You must also change the corporate culture.

When things are not going well for your business, there is a proven way to recover. By attending to strategy, empowerment, and accountability, you can get back to the Upswing and sustainable growth.

Action Steps

  1. Conduct a reality check of your sales growth or momentum.
  2. Which symptoms of “the dip” are you experiencing?
  3. Take appropriate steps to “cure” the symptoms.
  4. Attend to your strategy, empowerment, and accountability to build a more successful future.

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