Are there aspects of your business that you no longer enjoy? Are you finding that the business is not as much fun or as rewarding as you once thought it to be? Do you find yourself asking yourself why you are putting yourself through all of this anguish of running a business, and for what?
Especially when faced with challenging times, such as these last couple of years, it is easy to get caught up in all that is not going as planned and allowing it to consume your time, energy, and resources. It is also easy to feel burned out.
According to an EOS (Entrepreneurial Operations Systems) article entrepreneur burnout can reveal itself in ten ways:
|Exhaustion and overwhelm||Treating people poorly|
|Frustration and cynicism||Nothing seems good enough|
|Inability to think effectively||Less socializing|
|Personal performance dropping||Difficulty sleeping|
|Always at work, even when you are not||Having health issues|
If any of these sound like you, it’s also a surefire sign you are falling out of love with your business and allowing everything, and I do mean everything, get the best of you and your focus.
So, how do you fall back in love?
When you no longer love your business or like what you are doing, it can feel as though everything has gone wrong. Tackling some of what is distracting or frustrating you will put both your business and your frame of mind back on track. In working with entrepreneurs for more than 30 years, I have found several areas that can take a toll on an owner’s focus or enthusiasm for his or her business.
Here are just a few of them:
1. Wayward Customers: When you love your customers, you are more likely to also love your business because you feel continuously reinvigorated. Just because you should be grateful for the business you have does not mean that you should take any and all customers. Many businesses get themselves in a rut by forgetting who they best serve, still taking any and all who are interested in purchasing. As a result, they get caught in a quagmire of trying to keep customers happy that are not ideal, who are not making them money, and who are keeping them from effectively serving those customers who are ideal and profitable.
Bottom Line Rule #2
It's not about appeal; it's about preference.
Are you continuing to appeal to prospects that you don’t want? Do you have customers you wish you didn’t have? Do you even know which customers are most ideal, most profitable, and worth keeping and replicating? If not, then taking some time to profile and prioritize your ideal customers is time well spent.
Being a company that is preferred by your most valued and valuable customers is what momentum-building companies know how to do. Most important, keep in mind that preference IS a two-way street. Every great company has certain aspects of the business that are non-negotiable for customers because it is critical to how they do business better than anyone else.
Momentum-Building Decision #11
Choose your customers wisely.
For more insight into what are valid non-negotiables in your business,
read my blog, "Could your non-negotiables be a game changer?"
Take stock in your customer base and graciously hand off or refer those who are not ideal. And stop taking on customers who simply are not a fit.
2. Putting Your Hands on Things: Disorganization breeds discontent. Spending time looking for something is frustrating, so why are you allowing this to be the case? When you are constantly chasing information, paperwork, and documents, you are working a lot harder than you need to be, and so is everyone else in your company.
How organized is your office and place of business? Could you easily tell someone where to find something in your business or would you have to be the one to go find it or send out a search party? Having a place for everything and everything in its place allows you to focus on what you love to be doing. Part of loving your business is the excitement of what lies ahead. Time spent “looking for things” can be replaced with time spent “visioning” your business’ future. Which would you rather be doing?
Momentum-Building Decision #6
A place for everything and everything in its place!
In our ongoing study confirming attraction and retention of customers and employees, the biggest underlying factor for people possessing a positive state of mind about the company centers on convenience and ease in doing business with the company or for the company. We are a convenience-based society. The easier it is for us, the better. Period.
According to a study conducted by Economists Intelligence Unit (EIU) sponsored by Citrix System, employees spend 25% of their time searching for information and managers spend more than 50% of their time executing routine tasks. Does that sound easy or fun? Not at all. Does it sound productive. Definitely not!
3. Taking Your Hands Off Things: It simply amazes me how many business owners are doing things in their business they don’t enjoy doing because they either think they cannot afford to have someone else do it or they think they are the only ones who can do it. Either way, you are wrong.
Bottom Line Rule #8
If you do it more than once, document it!
While there are always going to be times you have to do things you don’t want to be doing, it should not be an everyday mode of operation. The price you pay by not doing what you are best at doing is costing you dearly. Let go and see the payoff almost immediately. How do you make that happen? By getting what’s in your head out of it and in a place where others can reference and effectively execute what needs to be done. When your head is wearing too many hats, it’s because there is too much stuck inside your head that someone could be doing for you. All they need is guidance.
By documenting how things are done in your business, even the simplest of tasks, you are helping replicate success and eliminating the need to micromanage every aspect of your business. Not only are you empowering your ability to focus on more value-building areas of your business, you are empowering your business’ ability to be more valuable through processes, procedures and protocols being in place. Most important, you are empowering your company to be able to operate without you.
Still having a hard time letting go of control?
Read my blog, "Are you juggling or spinning out of control?"
4. It’s Broke & Needs Fixed: Is there something that irritates you about your business and yet you don’t seem to have the time to fix it? Then, how about handing it off to someone else who can look at it with fresh eyes and another perspective? Chances are what is frustrating to you is also frustrating to others inside your company. While you see a problem, they may see a solution and merely need your encouragement to problem solve and fix it.
Bottom Line Rule #13
Ignoring what isn't working is more costly than facing it.
Years ago, I did this in my business when I became frustrated. Each time I would go through a file at the end of a project to review for final invoicing, I could not put my hands on the documents to compare and became frustrated by the inefficiency. Yes, I was guilty of two issues that needed addressed, disorganization and tolerating something that was broken and needed fixed!
I posed this frustration to the rest of my team, and our graphics/marketing department came up with a brilliantly simply way to clip and color code information, and then my office manager devised how to organize it in our job jackets for easy prioritized access. Two decades later, this manual system transitioned into our electronic filing system, making pulling these documents a breeze. It has also helped everyone else get what they need quickly as well as know exactly how items should be named, filed, and color coded.
If you don’t have anyone inside your company, what is frustrating you may have already been figured out by someone else outside your company. Bring them in to eliminate your frustration. Make the investment to eliminate your frustration.
Momentum-Building Decision #7
Surviving sees expenses. Thriving sees investment.
5. Re-igniting Your WHY: If you have been in business for any amount of time, you have likely seen or read about Simon Sinek’s TedTalk, Start with Why. If you haven’t, take a break from reading this now and click on the hyperlink. If you have heard of his TedTalk, take a break from reading this now, and listen and watch. Yes, it is THAT powerful.
Why would anyone choose to work with your company over someone else's business? Within your why lies the answer. When you started your business, you were in love with it. So much so that you probably spent more time in it than with anyone or anything else. What was it that you loved about it? What is it about what you do that gets your juices flowing and excited? If you can no longer answer either of these questions, it’s time to take stock in what your business stands for. Now more than ever, engagement of others to realize business performance is linked to making a tangible purpose-driven difference. What is the difference your business is making?
Bottom Line Rule #9
A business built on a powerful purpose is one built for profits.
Start with what difference you felt you made when you started the company. Chances are it was that difference that made you the most passionate because you believed no one could do it better or be more impassioned about it than you. How have things changed? Is it time to take what you believed to another level? Is it time to question your own status quo and challenge your thinking or your industry’s way of doing things again?
If you feel it is not about reinvention but that you have lost your way from your original mission and vision, then reclaim this as a part of who you are and what your business represents. Eliminate what is not in alignment. Re-ignite the passion that you felt within your business by embracing its true mission and vision for what it could and can do unlike any other.
Momentum-Building Decision #22
What you love in business grows.
Falling back in love with your business takes two key steps. Step number one is shifting from burn out to reigniting a burning desire, and step two is seeing your business with a fresh set of eyes and a future of possibilities. Once these are what drive you, then not only will you be fully re-engaged in your own business, others will want to be a part of it too.
Be willing to take a step back, adjust, and then move forward with a refreshed outlook. Every relationship, even the one you have with your business, requires nurturing. Before you know it, you will be falling in love with your business again and those doing business with you will also love what you are doing!
Yours in economic vitality,
P.S. Want to know all of my Bottom Line Rules and Momentum-Building Decision Insights? Then keep reading as new ones will be revealed each month in BizGrowth 5.0!
Sherré DeMao, CGS is author of Dream Wide Awake, 50 Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times, and Me, Myself & Inc. – a Synergized World, An Energized Business, Living Your Ultimate Life, and the CEO/founder of BizGrowth Inc. an award-winning growth strategy, training, and intellectual property development firm based in Denver, NC, serving clients across the United States. Her blog seeks to help entrepreneurs build businesses with economic value, worth and preference in their industries and marketplaces.