Many small business owners sometimes get into a routine that then becomes a "rut." Whether it's getting complacent from repeat business and not doing enough new prospecting, or just losing some of the passion for finding new opportunities, some business owners find themselves coasting and drifting. This can be dangerous, because small businesses are like sharks – they have to keep moving forward, or they die. If you’re feeling complacent, bored or disinterested in selling, this could be a warning sign your business is at risk of decline. It’s best to get out of the rut as quickly as possible and keep moving forward with energy and purpose.
Here are 4 tips to help you escape from your rut and get re-energized for business success:
1. Take some time off
Sometimes small business owners get in a rut just because they are tired. How long has it been since you had a real vacation? One of the best ways to re-energize is to take some time off – even if it’s just a long weekend or staycation – and get away from your business. Do or think about anything BUT business. Come back from your time off feeling refreshed and inspired, with a clear mind and new perspectives to tackle your business challenges.
There’s no shame in taking time off – many business owners pride themselves on being constantly nose-to-the-grindstone, ambitious, hustling, hard-charging people who are too busy to slow down. But ultimately, your business will suffer if you don’t take some time away. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you’re “busy,” it means you’re being effective. Because you could probably boost your efficiency significantly by taking some time away.
2. Ask for help
Especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur, your business challenges might be as simple as getting some outside help from an objective third party. There are many great options like hiring a business coach or utilizing resources like SCORE for a business mentor. Either a coach or a business mentor can help your business by providing you with strategic counsel, technical consulting, new ideas, new connections, and new perspectives on what you’re doing right, and what you could do differently. If you’re feeling stuck, indecisive, or just burned out on your usual business routine, asking for help from a business coach or finding a business mentor can help you get back in touch with your energy and productivity.
3. Expand your network
If your small business sales are in a rut, or if you’re feeling less passionate about your business than you used to, one of the best things to do is to go meet some new people and expand your network. Go beyond the usual suspects of posting on LinkedIn or attending conferences in your industry – think creatively about what kind of learning experiences and networking opportunities you would most like to have. Is there some new industry that you’d like to sell to? Some new geographic area that you’d like to do business in? Are there any business leaders or speakers or writers whose work you admire, who you would like to meet or work with? Reach out. Get outside your usual circles, and expand your reach to new areas of the business world. Not only will you make new sales, but often the new energy and inspiration of expanding your network will also help you get more excited about your existing business.
4. Retreat inward
Instead of looking for new connections and new answers by reaching out to a bigger network, you could also find new insights by looking within your business and retreating inward – literally, by hosting a strategic business retreat. Block off one day on your calendar, and dedicate it to an "executive retreat" for your own business - go off site, work with your team to think about the big picture of your business. What's not working? Where do you want to go next? Or if you’re a solo entrepreneur, organize a Mastermind session with other business owners in your area. There are lots of ways to get new insights and ideas to help your business, while also being supportive and helpful to other business owners.
Being in business can sometimes be lonely and isolating, but it doesn’t have to be! Sometimes when business owners are in a rut, the real problem is that they are feeling isolated, like no one else can help them with their challenges. But this is not true! Lots of small business owners need to hear from each other and reach out to each other for ideas and answers. Create new connections – you might even find that this reminds you of what you loved about your business in the fir