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Growth Strategy

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entrepreneurs growth strategy

Ahh, you’ve arrived, but it hardly looks like the destination you thought it would be. Instead of smooth sailing and fewer hours as a reward for years of hard work and dedication, work hours extend beyond what is possible, and it feels like the business is being held together with duct tape and glue. Frankly, it’s a little chaotic and a lot stressful. 

How did you get here? Like most entrepreneurs, it was likely by default, not by plan, even though you had your sights set on a brighter destination from the beginning. One thing you’re sure of — it’s not what you thought it would be. 

Welcome to “The Messy Middle.” 

entrepreneurs growth strategy
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Defining The Messy Middle 

The Messy Middle is the time in your business between start-up and smooth sailing. It generally occurs at around $350K -$500K, then about $750K to $1M, and once again at approximately $3-4M.   

It’s often punctuated by stagnant or slowed growth, dwindling cash flow, a withering talent pool, and missed opportunities. 

The exhaustion experienced by you and your team from what was once temporarily extended work hours is now untenable. 

Not only is there no time to pause to think strategically to make clear, data-based decisions, but the cracks are widening, and critical pieces of the business are vanishing. 

At this point in your business, you realize that what got you here is no longer working. The strategies you use to build your business won’t get you to the next level. 

Surviving The Messy Middle 

Even though you’re drowning in seemingly unsolvable complications and problems, The Messy Middle is survivable. 

Start with a deep breath and realize, first and foremost, that you’re not alone. Even though it may not be reassuring given your current situation, every business enters this unavoidable phase of growth and development. Whether or not an organization passes through to the next level depends on the decisions and actions going forward.  

Muffling The Messy Middle 

You might think you could have avoided this — if you had only known. But unfortunately, the sad truth is that there is little information available about this stage of business growth and development for most entrepreneurs.

Frankly, I don’t understand the lack of knowledge in the business environment, which is why I’m starting the conversation. It’s one we need to have that is long overdue.

Most business journals focus on larger organizations, but only 6% of all business enterprises fit that profile. Even as a member of The Messy Middle, you make up 19%, with the remaining 75% comprised of stage one organizations.  

The Messy Middle is a natural part of the business growth and development continuum. But, sadly, a colossal information gap exists between startup, stage one business growth and development, YOU, and the corporate behemoths. Moreover, it’s vital for solving your enterprise’s problems.

Plus, most entrepreneurs who are members of this elite club known as The Messy Middle are either too busy or utterly exhausted, with little time to learn, study, and share their dilemmas. 

You want proven strategies to stop the stall, turn the momentum around, and get to the next level.

For further insight into The Messy Middle, read: What No One Tells An Entrepreneur About Breaking Through a Business Plateau.

Thriving The Messy Middle

Interrupting and moving through a stall requires new knowledge and skill for entrepreneurs. You can no longer rely upon the know-how and expertise that got you to this point of business growth. This challenge is especially true during difficult economic times. 

Although your chosen strategy is business-dependent, there are several situations to address, such as: 

  • Insufficient access to resources needed to succeed, like money and talent. 
  • Missing growth plan
  • Limited cash. 
  • Inadequate deployment of resources such as staff, time, and money.
  • Burnout and fatigue, yours and your team. 

Regardless of the underlying factor contributing to your plateau, you can elevate your business above the current chaos. It’s a balancing act to test the boundaries of what is possible, understand the limits of your business, and maximize its potential. 


We’re here to help you make the most of your business. If you need advice on where to grow next or just a listening ear, we’re happy to chat.

Growth Strategy Fatigue

Let’s face it. Every small business owner needs — and wants — an “edge” to grow as quickly and efficiently as possible. We dig through industry secrets, plow through top business blogs, and cajole our colleagues into spilling the beans on what makes their business tick. Yet, one of the most unfavorable growth strategy is commonly practiced in business today.

small business growth strategy

The Entrepreneurial Fatigue Syndrome

While recently wilting away on the treadmill, I heard a news report on the far-reaching impact of tired airline pilots. Egads! (Not what a white-knuckled airline traveler needs to hear.) Although the information applies to cargo airline pilots, the devastating effects of fatigue remain – fatigue leads to preventable errors that, in the case of the airlines, can kill.

The news story got me thinking about the impact of fatigue on our ability to perform in our own business and, more importantly, in the companies of those we serve — our clients.

Whether fatigue is instigated by a lack of sleep, working long hours, too many decisions, poor health, stress, or all of the above, the fact remains the same — there is no upside to exhaustion.

What happens when an entrepreneur is tired? In case you need a little prompting, allow me to point out a few of my personal favorites:

  • Crankiness
  • Lack of focus
  • Disorganization
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness

Am I missing any?

These lovely attributes contribute to:

  • Inattentiveness to clients’ needs
  • Excessive and avoidable mistakes
  • Anger inappropriately directed at colleagues
  • Resistance to change
  • Impulsiveness
  • Inability to prioritize
  • Overlooking small and vital details
  • Decision dodging, and the best one of all
  • Doing nothing

And all of these attractive behaviors lead to:

  • Lashing out at valued clients
  • Missing critical deadlines cause clients to lose valuable time in the marketplace
  • Unnecessary costs incurred as a result of fixing fatigue errors

Treatment for Entrepreneurial Fatigue 

We could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. Sadly, we’ve had a front-row seat to the flick called “fatigue.” It’s not pretty.

Fatigue, exhaustion, tiredness, weariness, call it what you will, it’s one vicious, ugly cycle for you and your clients.

Unfortunately, fatigue is all too common a part of the business equation. Furthermore, it comes at a high cost to you, your health, your family, and your clients. And, yes, it is the worst possible growth strategy for your business!

The next time you’re too tired to pole-vault over a chalk mark, take two of these and call us in the morning! Sneak in a nap. Take care of yourself. Grab a day off. Take a vacation. Capture a long weekend. Take a cruise. Seize a long walk. Carve out a break.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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