Let’s say you have a very successful business and an incredible product that sells easily, scalably and repeatedly. But you’ve hit a cap in terms of how much of that product you can create and/or deliver.
Your revenue, in other words, is limited.
(And it’s really hard to grow without new revenue)
The solution, then, is to find ways to drive new (or more) revenue.
Not so fast.
Imagine that you have an outdoor faucet.
You open up the tap.
Water comes out.
You open up the tap further.
More water comes out.
You don’t want the water to get everywhere, so you have a bucket to capture the water as it comes out.
Maybe you want to water some of your tender veggies.
If everything is working properly, then you’ll have no issues.
But that’s a big if.
So let’s say that you’ve opened up your tap and things are flowing. You’ve got water (revenue) coming out of the tap (team), into the bucket (profitability).
How do you get more flow?
Well, the obvious answer would be to just open the tap further, right?
But what happens if you don’t have enough water pressure? What if there’s no more water to come out through the tap?
You won’t get any more water coming out, no matter how wide open you open that tap.
On the flip side, if you have all the water pressure in the world, but your tap is closed, you won’t get much flow either.
So this is what we had to discover for a client we worked with recently:
We knew she wasn’t getting the flow she wanted: the revenue was holding steady, but she couldn’t get more to flow.
But was this a revenue problem — as in, there wasn’t enough leads, enough revenue, available to her?
Or was this a team problem — as in, there was plenty of leads and revenue available, but she couldn’t capitalize on it?
Spoiler alert: it was the latter.
So even though it presented as a revenue problem, what was actually going on was a team problem.
Here’s the way we explained it in our conversation with this client:
Look, you built your business to $1m based on you following your gut and your intuition. That means you have an amazing innate sense of what your people want and how to sell it to them. Further, you are an amazing connector of people and community builder. This is your zone of genius.
The problem is not that you don’t know how to make more money. You’ve proven that you know how to do that.
The problem is that you don’t have the capacity to let yourself do that. You’ve put yourself in a position where you simply don’t have the time, space or energy to operate from your zone of genius.
In other words, you’ve got your tap stuck in the half-way closed position.
And the reason you’ve got it stuck there is because your team (the bucket you’re pouring into) can’t handle more water, anyway.
So you’ve been holding yourself back, keeping yourself locked in your zones of competence and excellence, because even though you’ve got loads of water behind you, you don’t have a container that can hold all that water.
The solution, then, is to solve the container problem first. Create a more suitable container, a more suitable structure for your business and team, and you’ll be able to open that tap up — spend more time in your zone of genius, and the revenue will begin to flow again.
Don’t Misdiagnose Your Problems
This wasn’t a revenue problem, even though from the outside it looked like one.
It was a team problem.
Thus, the way to solve the revenue problem was to fix the team problem.
Having identified that, we were able to get down to the business of coming up with a plan for how to do that — in a way that would respect the profitability, the revenue, the customer experience that were all already in place.
But it only happened because we knew what problem we were solving — and that it was the right one to solve in the first place.
Solving problems in your business is great …
But solving the right one is critical.