Periodically almost every entrepreneur finds themselves in a business rut. This can happen for many different reasons. Although being in a rut can feel uncomfortable, it is the perfect time to reexamine the reasons why began your company and find a new direction along with renewed vigor. Here are five ways to get out of a business rut.
Ask Yourself Why You’re in a Rut
Ruts happen for more than one reason. They could be due to financial issues as a result of a sales slump or perhaps increased competition. Maybe physically you have not been taking care of yourself, and that is affecting how you feel about your company. A rut can even occur due to boredom, even if revenues are continuing the monotony of completing the same tasks day after day can wear on you.
It is vital that you take the time to determine why the rut is occurring. Get away from the company for a while, perhaps write down a few things that are bothering you and try and pinpoint problem areas. It may take a few days to figure out exactly what the issue is. Talking with another business owner or a friend can also help narrow down the causes of the rut.
Remember Your Purpose
Think about why you started your company. Identify the benefits your product or service offers to your customers. What was your initial vision? Look through your business plan and reread your mission and vision statements. If they no longer fit what you are trying to accomplish, you may want to meet with your stakeholders and work on an update. Often in the day-to-day grind of running a business, we forget what brought us to that point. Sometimes just revisiting the reasons behind what you do every day can boost your energy levels.
Check Some Older Tasks Off the To-Do List
It can be easy to let certain tasks slide with all that is on your plate as an entrepreneur. However, this practice can affect your business and also impact you on a mental level. There is something satisfying about checking things off of a list. Some challenging tasks, such as financial reporting and tax calculations, are easy to put off but can cause problems if neglected for too long. It might be wise to outsource some items to other professionals. Hiring an accountant may feel like just another expense, but having someone else complete those tasks can save money in the form of penalties and interest, and frees you up to do what you do best. If there are difficult things that need to be done but can only be done by you, assess the tools you have and try tackling those items first thing in the morning. Quite often our expectations of what will happen are much worse than reality, plus getting these over with right away frees you up mentally for the remainder of the day.
Stay Educated on the Latest Trends
Businesses can stagnate if they do not adapt to what is going on around them. Depending on the type of product or service you offer, failure to adapt could be disastrous. Companies that deal with computer systems, for example, will need to update their procedures or products on a regular basis. Pay attention to what your competition is doing. Attend a conference. Check out a webinar. It is not wise to conduct your business in a vacuum. Keeping up with trends can also allow you to offer new products or services that meet the ever-changing needs of your customer base.
Build in Time to Have Fun
Entrepreneurs often work long hours and have few true days off. The result can be a mental and physical rut. Exhaustion can affect your business and your personal life. It is wise to take a few days here and there and completely unplug. It is likely that your business will do fine without you for a short time. Taking a short vacation does not have to be expensive and after a few days to unwind you will feel refreshed and be ready to tackle new challenges.
Being in a rut will not last forever. The steps that we have discussed can help reduce the times when you feel bogged down or stuck. Examining why you became an entrepreneur, making forward progress, and taking some time to yourself will produce positive results.