As a business owner you often face the same frustrations, roadblocks, and employee headaches. Every day you face some of the same problems with vendors, suppliers, and customers.
And you start to lose your enthusiasm and passion for your business.
How do you get that enthusiasm back? Here are five ways to break out of a business rut:
1. Jump back in the pool. You undoubtedly started your business based on a passion. Unfortunately, as your business grows you gradually spend more time working on the business than in the business.
That’s a good thing—but not when you’re in a rut. The more successful your business, the less time you get to spend actually doing what you love. If you're a landscaper with four crews, you probably spend the majority of your time organizing and managing and fighting fires and very little time creating amazing designs.
This week make time to “work” for a few hours or, better yet, the whole full day. Pick the one thing you enjoy the most about your business and do it. You'll start the next day recharged—and you'll remember why you love your business.
2. Use a different standard. Everyone has ways of measuring how they work. Some people work based on time, thinking, “I'll work on this for three hours.” Some work based on tasks, thinking, “I'll stay on this until it’s complete.” Some people dip in and out of various tasks throughout the day.
Think about how you normally approach your workday and switch it up. If you tend to use time, switch over to task completion mode. If you tend to be task-oriented, set a time limit.
You may be surprised by the increase in productivity. If you like to finish projects, setting a time limit will cause you to work smarter and harder to make sure you get done within the time allowed. If you like to work for a set period of time, forcing yourself to finish a task will make you more productive for the same reasons. No matter what, you'll look at how you tend to work a little differently.
3. Stop doing five things. Do you really need to review every proposal from your sales team? Some of your processes and guidelines may have been necessary early on; now they’re not.
Find five things you can stop doing: Reports, tasks, processes... anything that falls into the category of, “Well, that's how we've always done things...” The more you eliminate the more your day changes and the more time you free up to focus on what really matters.
4. Pass off five things. You hang on to too much. Every business owner does. You're convinced there are some things only you can do: No one else has the skills, or the experience, or just cares enough.
Of course that’s not true. Your employees can perform many tasks just as well as you can, often even better. One of your employees has outstanding interpersonal skills. Let him work with a few key customers. One of your employees is so organized she makes Stephen Covey look messy; turn more processes over to her. Explain, train, delegate, follow up, and let go. Give yourself more room to breathe by giving your employees more opportunities to grow.
5. Spend more time with your best. Twenty percent of your employees monopolize most of your time. It's natural to spend more time with struggling or poor performers. It's also draining.
Take a different approach and spend a few hours with your best employees. They will appreciate the attention and you will be inspired by people you helped develop.
6. Get rid of your worst. In all likelihood one of your employees should be let go. Not only is his performance poor, his actions and attitude destroys morale.
Or maybe one of your customers needs to go because the margins are too low and the effort is too high. Or maybe a product line needs to be cut because it no longer sells. Now it just takes up valuable shelf space and a big chunk of operating capital, and trying to make it a winner drains resources from every part of your business.
Nagging, long-term problems kill enthusiasm and passion. Whatever your “worst” is, let it go.
It may be painful at first, but once you get past the immediate discomfort you’ll wonder why you waited so long.