Has your business been in a rut? Are you full of ideas but not sure where to go with them? It's time to get unstuck.
Three years ago, I was full of dreams but tired of trying things just to see them not work out. Today, while not free of challenges, great things are happening every day in life and business, and I'm about to tell you why. If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or aspiring entrepreneur, you've certainly experienced this feeling of being stuck - not ready to give up, but losing the energy to keep fighting an unseen enemy. Don't give up! There is a science to success, even if there doesn't seem to be one for starting and running a business. My goal in this article is to help you revitalize your outlook and get you back on that path.
Here are some valuable tips to help in your journey:
1. It's Not Just About You
One of the most important keys to keeping your energy and enthusiasm up while setting out on this journey is team-work. I can conclusively say that it is impossible to do everything by yourself. Some business owners hate the feeling of giving up control of their business. This is a legitimate concern, but getting the right person involved with ownership stake in your business will have a multiplying effect - we all know that two heads are better than one, but even more true is that two heads working together are better than two working separately. Find someone that is good at what you are bad at, and pitch your business to them. They don't have to be a 50% partner, or even close. You might even have a star employee who would work much harder if he or she knew that your business growing meant their paycheck growing as well.
If your business is a one man show, find a consultant that has a track record of real passion for the businesses he or she works with. Another option is use SCORE - an organization that connects CEOs and experts as mentors with business owners. This is a fantastic resource and can give your business a fresh set of eyes. Here is a link to SCORE's video introduction.
2. Stop Worrying and Start Wondering
Worrying is a state of losing power, and wondering is a state of curiosity and empowerment. Let's get real for a second here, worrying has never done anything for anyone - ever. You may be thinking "it's easy for you to say, I've just lost two of my best employees in a week!" I would respond that the sooner you stop worrying and feeling sorry about your current state of affairs, the sooner you will find a solution to the problem. Worrying says "what am I ever going to do to replace this employee?" Wondering might say "Is there a way I could streamline my business using scheduling software and a call center to completely replace this employee and save me money while I'm at it?" If you can adopt a mindset of belief in yourself and can truly believe that problems come into your life and business to help you grow, then you will come out better than you were before. This belief will then hold true every time you encounter an obstacle.
3. Start Learning
I should highlight, underline, and asterisk this point. Learning and growing as a person is the only way to grow your business and get unstuck. Learning unlocks creativity and energy. I have a habit that every time I get into a cycle of negative thinking, or when I don't feel creative enough to solve problems, I go to the book store and browse the books until I see something that catches my eye, or relates to a problem I'm currently having. Sometimes I'll find the perfect book the first try, and sometimes I'll read a chapter of a book and decide to keep browsing. I read through a couple of chapters and suddenly my mind is firing on all cylinders, coming up with ideas, and solving problems. Your mind is a problem solving machine, sometimes you just need to feed it the right information to get it going.
In addition to the book store, there are thousands of videos on Youtube, and hundreds of self-help, or business blogs that can get your problem-solving machine going. Make a promise to yourself to not let a day go by without taking at least a few minutes to learn something new. Here are a couple great resources:
TED Talks Ideas Worth Spreading - Short videos from great business people
Marie Foleo A life coach who has tons of inspirational articles and videos on her blog
4. Reach Out To Someone - Ask a Question
Whatever your problem in business might be, someone has already solved it. You might be surprised at just how willing that person might be to help you solve your problem. I think that people innately want to help other people (ok...some exceptions) and most successful individuals will jump at the chance to offer their advice to you. Even if you don't exactly want advice, just finding a sounding board and talking the problem out can do amazing things to help you resolve it. One approach might be to use social media - just post a question like "anyone know anything about scheduling patients?" and see who responds. The SCORE mentor or consultant mentioned above would be a great resource here as well.
The most important point here is to ask the right questions. If your employees are leaving, the right question might not be "how much should I be paying them to make them stay?", it could be "what tools can I use to better learn what motivates different employees?". Think through the problem and get to the heart of it before you ask for an expert's valuable time.