Everything’s chugging right along in your business. You love getting to the office every day, interacting with clients, and having the freedom to set your own schedule.
But then something happens, and you’re less enamored with what you do. You start to feel jaded and frustrated.
Maybe your client base has trickled down dangerously low. Or you’re just not excited about your products anymore. You don’t know how to move forward and grow your business. Whatever that “thing” is, it’s made being an entrepreneur decidedly less fun.
So what do you do? Pack it up and go home? Give up on all the hard work you’ve put into your business thus far? Not at all. These strategies will help you get over that hump and move forward.
Evaluate What the Problem Is
If you haven’t been able to put your finger on what exactly is wrong in your business, now’s the time to dedicate some energy to figuring that out. Ask yourself:
- Is my attitude toward the business what’s wrong?
- Is it the clientele I’m attracting (or not attracting?)
- Do my products feel outdated?
- Do I feel frustrated because I don’t know what decision to make?
- Do I feel overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do?
- Do I feel lacking in skills in a particular area?
The more you dig, the more you’ll discover. You might find that there are a few areas that are causing problems, and knowing what they are will help you figure out the appropriate solution.
Take Some Time Off
This might seem counterintuitive, but getting away from your business — even if it’s half a day — can give you perspective on how to improve things. The longer you can take off, the better. Start with an extended weekend … and don’t check your phone or email. You’ve got to completely remove yourself from all work distractions. Don’t even think about work! Even if you’re not trying to think directly about the problem, you might come up with solutions when you’re doing something else.
I know business owners who have gone away on vacation and come back with completely new business models or ideas. Sometimes that break is exactly what your brain needs to work through the issue and come up with a solution.
Conduct a SWOT Analysis
If it’s been a while since you (or you never have) conducted a SWOT analysis, it can be helpful to look at your business’s: (S)trengths, (W)eaknesses, (O)pportunities, (T)hreats.
Seeing where you are in the bigger picture of your industry can help you figure out what needs to change to get you unstuck from where you are.
Consider Your Options
You’ve identified the problem or problems. Now list out possible solutions, including worst-case scenarios. I’ll go ahead and air out the one you probably don’t want to address: closing your business. Once you’re faced with that thing you fear thinking about, it’s not so scary. And likely, that’s not the solution you want. So continue to explore other options.
If you don’t enjoy working with the types of clients you’ve been attracting, outline who your ideal client would be. Maybe you need to zero in on a more niche market, or raise your prices so you only attract people who value the services you provide.
If you think your products aren’t remaining competitive in the marketplace, spend some time seeing what’s out there, and look for gaps. What need can you fill with a pivot of your product strategy that isn’t getting filled elsewhere?
If you’re simply overworked and stressed out, that’s an easy fix. Hire a freelancer, part-time employee, or full-time staff to alleviate some of your workload.
Be Willing to Change
Chances are, you’re part of the reason you can’t move forward with your business. Change is difficult, to be sure, but it’s necessary. Unless you’re willing to change, change can’t propel you forward.
Remember, whatever the issue that’s got you stuck, it will pass.
Hitting the Wall Photo via Shutterstock