By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
Remember when you fell in love with your business idea. You couldn’t sleep as you tossed and turned thinking about how you would promote your new business. You couldn’t eat with the excitement of getting started. Yes, starting a business is a lot like falling in love. With rose tinted glasses you couldn’t see the potential pitfalls that everyone else warned you about and in the honeymoon period of the first six months everything seemed to be going to plan.
Now, however, things might be slightly different. Perhaps you have had to do your first or second annual tax return and have been left feeling that the business is taking more than it is giving you. Friends and family say that you’re spending too much time working on your business and that it has changed you. Perhaps you have experienced the heartache of having to downsize or close a business or perhaps you feel stuck in a business that is just not working for you anymore. All is not lost, you can fall in love with your business again and recapture the magic you felt in the start-up phase.
- Stuck in a rut? It’s time to take a break. Not just a semi-holiday but a real holiday. Set up your email auto reply and turn off your phone. Leave someone you can trust in charge and take at least a week off. Try a change of scene and aim to completely forget about your business for the first few days. You will be amazed at the perspective this can give you. Towards the end of the break allow yourself to start thinking about your business again but think about the bigger picture, not the little things that drain you. Go back to your business with a plan for three things you are going to change about your business or about the way you manage your business and implement those changes as soon as possible.
- Get some advice. When relationships are in difficulty, seeking outside advice can be a real benefit; the same applies to your business. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner is thinking that you know it all and that you can’t learn from anyone. Look for a business mentor, someone you look up to and can learn from. Arrange to meet with them to discuss the problems you’re having in your business. You may only need one or two meetings to put you on the right track.
- It’s not me, it’s you. Take some time to assess what is working and what is not working in your business. Try to be honest with yourself and your employees and even your customers. Do you have an employee that is not the right fit or perhaps you have a lot of customers that are not paying you on time or in some cases not at all. It’s time to let go of what is not working so you can move forward. If you have customers that take a lot of your time for free, it’s time to change your business policy and ensure that you are billing customers for your and your employee’s valuable time.
- Re-ignite the passion. With all of the hard work you put in, it’s easy to end up feeling dull and jaded. This can come across in your customer communications so you need to put some excitement back into your business. You could consider rebranding your business and getting a new website and marketing material designed. A branding exercise can be really useful as it forces you to think about what your business is really about and gets you excited about your business again. Have a launch event to launch your new brand/product/service and invite your customers and the media. When you see how much everyone loves your business you will too.
- Plan a date night. Just as couples need a date night regularly to get away from the day to day household chores, routine and kids, set a date night to work on your “big ideas”. If you have employees include them in this creative day away from the office. Step away from the day to day cash flow and operational tasks and set some time to do some planning, thinking big, up skilling, reading up on blogs or getting ideas from other markets or forums online. Use this time to get excited about your business and think about all your ambitions and brilliant ideas that you just never get time to sit down and plan. You will come away from this session reinvigorated and more passionate about your business and your future.
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