Every business owner gets stuck occasionally on an idea or problem. Three proven ways to get "unstuck."
Do you find yourself turning an idea or a business problem over and over in your head, and no matter the number of Google searches you perform or the number of walks you take, you just can't figure out a way to move forward?
We all go through it. The key is knowing how to emerge. Here are three steps I have taken over the years when I feel stuck to help move my goals and ventures forward:
Lean on A Support Group
I just joined The Young Entrepreneurs Council. The YEC has built a nationwide network of entrepreneurial connections that helps entrepreneurs support each other in the building of our businesses.
Case in point: While in San Francisco last week, I met up with Heidi Allstop, who is there to grow her social life-advice enterprise, Spill. She lives in the Bay Area and I'm from Atlanta, so we exchanged helpful hints and connections from each of our respective geographies.
The meeting grew out of a weekly e-mail that The YEC sends out that simply asks "What do you need from your fellow YEC-ers?" The responses are consolidated and sent out to the group for others to browse and answer. My response to Heidi's question led to an enjoyable and fruitful lunch meeting which provided us both with new insight into challenges we were each facing.
Enlist an Outside Expert
If you spend much time with me, you'll discover that I have a longstanding business relationship with a business coach whom I call my "dark shadow." This person (who wishes to remain anonymous) has been a sounding board for me through most of my career. His background in the finance, mergers and acquisition space helps me to look at potential opportunities from a different perspective.
When I need a sounding board or fresh eyes, I give him a call or we grab a quick bite. I credit him with getting me "unstuck" at one of the most stuck moments of my professional life. One dinner conversation helped refocus me on what I had control over and gave me a clear path forward.
Read a Good Book
While relying on a group or talking to an expert can definitely help, I have come to some of my biggest breakthroughs by simply taking some time to sit down and read a book. While I credit books like E-Myth by Michael Gerber as true turning points for me, the book doesn't always have to be on a standard business topic. For example, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho provided an unexpected insight into how to solve a management problem I was wrestling with.
Reading, unlike watching a movie, listening to a lecture or talking with a colleague or mentor allows you the time to process what's being said and think through how it might apply to your situation. So don't just think of it as a leisure activity.
ERIC V. HOLTZCLAW is a serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple startup companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises. His last company appeared on the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row. Eric advises clients on the “whys” of business – why customers buy, why teams work and the all-important “entrepreneurial why”. He is the author of Laddering and his weekly radio show, The 'Better You' Project, shines a spotlight on entrepreneurs' individual business journeys and successes. Learn more about Eric at www.ladderingworks.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. @eholtzclaw