We have all been there. I promise you are not alone.
No one ever said running a business was easy, but when you are moving into month 2, 3 or 4 of feeling utterly and completely hopeless and unmotivated, it is easy to feel like giving up.
The good news is that sometimes all it takes to give your business (and yourself!) a much-needed boost is taking a few simple, proactive steps. By making sure you have the support you need, setting actionable goals for both the short and long term, and moving your focus back onto your customers, you stand a great chance of moving your business back into the fast lane!
1. Surround yourself with a support team.
Particularly if you run an at-home business, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone. When the only contact you have throughout the day is with your dog and the mailman, it’s easy to start losing your motivation and entertain thoughts of giving up.
Take steps to surround yourself with positive and helpful people who you respect, and who inspire you. There are a number of ways you can do this;
- Attend local networking events or meetups to connect with other entrepreneurs
- Join an online discussion board in your niche or industry
- Work with a coach who can help you set goals, offer feedback and act as a sounding board
- Establish a formal email, phone or in-person support relationship with someone in your field. Planning regular meetings can be great for having some accountability, getting motivated and sharing the ups and downs of running a business.
2. Set specific short and long-term goals.
Feeling like you’re in a rut can sometimes be caused by a lack of direction and planning with respect to your business goals. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of your business; but simply going through the motions without any thought to specific goals will leave you feeling aimless and purposeless.
To get back on track, try setting some specific and realistic goals for your business, both in the short term and long term.
Short-term, specific goals may include:
- Gaining 3 new clients this month by attending local networking events
- Writing and promoting 3 blog posts each week this month
- Increasing website sales by $500 this month through a targeted email campaign
Specific long-term goals may include:
- Bringing in $100,000 of revenue this fiscal year
- Increasing your social media ROI by 50% over the next 2 years
- Working at improving customer satisfaction levels through prompt and respectful responses on social media
It’s also helpful to look at how your short and long-term goals can work together to be more effective. For instance, if your goal is to increase website traffic by 50% over the next 3 years, a complimentary short-term goal may be to actively promote your blog posts via social media and email at least once each week.
3. Think less about yourself, and more about your customers.
One of the most common reasons why business owners get restless, disillusioned or burnt out is that their focus has become more about themselves, and less about their customers or clients.
So how do you know if this is the case? Try asking yourself these simple questions:
- Am I providing content that my target market needs, wants and is asking for?
- How am I doing in terms of customer service? Am I too concerned about making those sales dollars up front, and less about ensuring an excellent customer experience?
- Do I know the pain points of my audience? Does my product or service help alleviate that pain?
Answering these questions can give you a good indication of where your focus is, and what you need to do to reinvigorate yourself and your business.
It is also helpful to look at how you are feeling emotionally: When you are putting your customers first, you will tend to feel positive, hopeful and energized. When you’re putting yourself first, you’ll tend to feel tired, unmotivated and stressed-out. And since you are reading this article, I’ll bet you are feeling the latter :-)!
Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? What’s the biggest challenge you currently face with your business? Let me know below!