There are few things more frustrating than feeling your business is stagnating – that it’s not moving forward or achieving the objectives it should.

It can also be challenging to understand why that’s the case, and how your business came to be stuck in a holding pattern.

But the reality is there are some common reasons why a business may reach a plateau and then struggle to move beyond it.

Here are the five reasons you’re not making progress and how you can get back on track. 

Unclear objectives

If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve or these objectives are unclear it becomes near impossible to move your business forward in a meaningful way.

That’s why it’s important to set goals and map out the actions required to achieve them.

Importantly, these business goals should be SMART – as in specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

They should also be shared with your team, and underpinned with key performance indicators that ensure you’re on track to achieve the outcomes you hope for.

When you set clear objectives and everyone is on the same page regarding where your business is heading, progress is likely to happen more readily. 

Lack of focus

Yes, business is busy and as the owner you might have multiple tasks competing for your attention each day.

However, it’s important to be crystal clear on where your attention needs to be directed at a specific time in order to move your business forward.

That involves prioritising your goals and applying your skills where they are likely to have the most benefit, then outsourcing or delegating tasks that split your focus unnecessarily.  

It also involves completing a task at a time rather than multi-tasking and taking on too many major projects at once.

As the old saying goes ‘the person who chases two rabbits catches neither’, so achieve that first goal then go after the next in the knowledge each stepping stone is progress.


Progress requires consistency – whether it’s consistent daily habits, consistently focussing on the goal, or consistent activity.

If you are inconsistent in your approach to business or the outcome you are hoping to achieve, it will quickly see you lose momentum.

This consistency also applies to the team you have around you. They should be given consistent tools and direction which allow them to make progress on the task at hand.


When it comes to making serious progress, it’s all about achieving momentum. It’s about crossing off the tasks and goals on the to-do list in the knowledge each win propels you forward.

But if you and your team are bogged down in inefficient practices or processes and procedures it can be hard to make ground. In other words, everyone becomes so caught up in navigating the way of doing something that they don’t make any actual progress.

This applies to a range of things that typically occur in a business, including meetings that sap productivity, software that’s cumbersome to use, processes and procedures that are overly demanding or complex, and more.

Lack of strategy

Making meaningful progress in business and indeed life is all about strategy. It involves clearly defining what you are trying to achieve, devising the best way of attaining that goal, then taking the action required to reach that milestone.

And this strategy relates to all of the areas mentioned above. It’s about goal setting, focus, consistency and efficiency.

Without a strategy, your business languishes in its current form like a ship adrift at sea.

There’s no clear direction, there’s no destination and there’s no course of action.

Talk Strategy with Clive

With more than 30 years’ experience in mentoring small to medium-sized businesses around Australia. Clive works with company owners and their teams to grow their business and achieve goals through strategic coaching.