scott anderson

Breaking Through Business Plateaus: Insights from Doug Thorpe and Scott Anderson

In a recent episode of “Leadership Powered by Common Sense,” host Doug Thorpe welcomed back Scott Anderson to discuss a prevalent issue among small and medium-sized business owners: hitting a plateau. This episode dives deep into understanding why businesses stagnate and offers actionable strategies to overcome these hurdles. Below, we break down the key insights and tips shared during the episode, providing a comprehensive guide for business owners looking to reignite their growth.

Understanding the Plateau

The Nature of Business Plateaus

Scott Anderson, who has launched ten companies and sold eight, explains that business plateaus are a common phase in the entrepreneurial journey. These plateaus can be particularly challenging because while business growth stalls, personal and operational costs continue to rise. This discrepancy can create significant stress for business owners.

The Impact of External Factors

The episode highlights how external factors such as economic fluctuations, inflation, and workforce challenges, especially post-COVID, exacerbate the plateau effect. These factors make it even more critical for business owners to adapt and find new ways to drive growth.

Strategies to Overcome Business Plateaus

1. Identify Your Genius Zone

Scott introduces the concept of the “Genius Zone,” which refers to the activities that a business owner excels at and that significantly impact the business. He emphasizes the importance of spending more time in this zone to drive growth.

Actionable Steps:

  • Genius Zone Assessment: Conduct a self-assessment to identify your top 2-3 strengths.
  • Time Audit: Track your daily activities for a week and highlight the time spent in your Genius Zone.
  • Set a Goal: Aim to spend at least 10 hours per week in your Genius Zone. This might sound like a lot or a little, but it’s often significantly more than what most business owners currently allocate.

2. Conduct Regular Time Audits

Doug and Scott stress the importance of understanding where your time is actually going. Many business owners feel busy but are not necessarily productive.

Actionable Steps:

  • Daily Tracking: Write down your activities in 15-minute increments for a week.
  • Calendar Review: Compare your actual activities with your calendar to identify discrepancies.
  • Adjustments: Make necessary adjustments to ensure more time is spent on high-impact activities.

3. Focus on Leading Indicators

Scott points out that many business owners focus too much on lagging indicators like net income, which reflect past performance. Instead, they should pay more attention to leading indicators that can predict future success.

Actionable Steps:

  • Identify Leading Indicators: Determine which metrics (e.g., customer engagement, sales pipeline) are most predictive of future success.
  • Daily Review: Spend at least 30 minutes each day reviewing these indicators.
  • Customer Conversations: Engage with customers and prospects daily to understand their current needs and challenges.

4. Recalibrate Regularly

Both Doug and Scott agree on the necessity of periodic recalibration. This involves stepping back to reassess your strategies and ensure they align with current market conditions and business goals.

Actionable Steps:

  • Monthly Reviews: Set aside time each month to review your business strategy and performance.
  • Feedback Loop: Create a system for regular feedback from customers and employees.
  • Adjust Strategies: Be willing to pivot your approach based on new insights and data.

5. Leverage Technology and Tools

The episode also touches on the importance of using technology to streamline operations and free up time for strategic activities.

Actionable Steps:

  • Automation Tools: Implement tools for automating repetitive tasks (e.g., email marketing, social media scheduling).
  • Project Management Software: Use software to manage projects and track progress.
  • Analytics Tools: Invest in analytics tools to gain deeper insights into business performance.


Breaking through a business plateau requires a combination of self-awareness, strategic focus, and regular recalibration. By identifying and spending more time in your Genius Zone, conducting regular time audits, focusing on leading indicators, and leveraging technology, you can overcome stagnation and drive your business forward.

For more insights and a deeper dive into these strategies, listen to the full episode of “Leadership Powered by Common Sense” with Doug Thorpe and Scott Anderson. And remember, the key to breaking through a plateau is not just working harder, but working smarter and more strategically.

Scott’s entry into business started when he was tasked with turning around a 3rd generation family group of construction equipment and industrial engine companies, which he was able to scale and sell at a premium.

Following this, Scott built 3 for-profit businesses, including an agency that he ran for over 25 years and later sold to his employees.

Scott also combined his business acumen with his experience as a licensed mental health therapist to establish the not-for-profit, AtEaseUSA.org, which develops and deploys leading-edge PTSD treatment technology in partnership with Tel Aviv University and the Israeli government.

Scott’s experience in business is matched by his premier training in coaching and therapy. He trained at the preeminent Coaches Training Institute and is certified by the International Coaching Federation (IFC).

He also graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska School of Clinical Counseling.

Small business owners will hit an invisible wall that can stall the growth of the company. The key reason there is a wall is that owners need to shift from manager to leader. The question is, how to do that?

Doug is a coach for CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams with 30 years of leadership experience. He is the president & CEO of Doug Thorpe Group. Doug is also a podcast host.

He helps owners understand the ways they need to reshape their thinking and attitude to make a successful break through the wall.

Learn how to move from Founder to CEO.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dougthorpe/

Doug Thorpe Website: https://dougthorpe.com/

Podcasts: https://podcasts.dougthorpe.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dougthorpe_com

Doug Thorpe Facebook: https://facebook.com/headwayexec

Instagram: https://instagram.com/dougthorpe_com YouTube:https://youtube.com/@dougthorpe

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

Let’s make your vision a reality!

Want to discuss my work or a challenge you’re facing?  Leave your details and I’ll get back to you