Have you been running your small business for a long time and lack the enthusiasm you once had? Do you miss waking up in the morning and feeling excited about heading to the office? Whether your revenue is up or down, it can be hard to sustain your initial zeal when faced with the ongoing challenges, stress, and disappointments that come with operating your own business.
In order to be not only successful, but to also feel fulfilled by the work you do, it’s important to keep your passion alive. Running a business will not always be enjoyable, and there will be responsibilities you don’t like, tasks you find difficult or boring, and clients and vendors who will test your patience. You can renew your love for your chosen career by reconnecting with why you started your business and making small but impactful changes in how you work and think.
Spring is the season of rebirth, and those who observe Easter or Passover this weekend will be celebrating fresh starts and new beginnings. With this in mind, here are 10 tips for renewing your relationship with your small business.
1 – Reflect on what has changed.
In order to shift how you feel about your work, it’s important to understand what has changed. Sometimes the answer is as obvious – you are experiencing burnout from putting in too many long hours or have lost focus on your core values. If your disillusionment has built up over time, you may not be able to pinpoint a single cause.
In either case, it pays to take time to reflect on your professional life. Assess your accomplishments, refresh your goals, and identify specific incidents that have impacted your outlook toward your work. This will make it easier to create a plan to address the issues.
2 – Delegate tasks.
Entrepreneurs often start out with limited resources and a desire to keep costs in check by doing everything themselves. As the business grows and the workload increases, many small business owners fail to adjust and end up stretching themselves too thinly.
If there are tasks or responsibilities that no longer need your personal attention or expertise, consider handing them over to staff members who are perfectly capable of handling them. Business owners who have trouble delegating often feel that it is faster and easier to do the task themselves. Remember that the point of delegating is to take work off your plate and to foster a competent and confident workforce. With only so many hours in a day, you will have to let go of managing every last detail in order to dedicate time and energy to growing your business.
3 – Streamline processes.
Improving processes and working more efficiently can help ease the strain on small business owners who constantly feel exhausted from carrying more than their share of the workload. Take an objective look at how you are producing your products or services, managing your employees, and running your business overall to identify productivity roadblocks. Brainstorm with your team to develop tactics and tools to increase workflow and yield better results with less effort.
4 – Practice positivity.
One of the simplest and most powerful things you can do to reframe your relationship with your business is to remember the positive aspects of entrepreneurship. Practice talking about your company the way you did when you first started. Avoid the temptation to complain about how hard or how boring things are and commit to saying only positive things. Speaking positively engenders positive feelings and an upbeat attitude that can be contagious.
Consider making a list of what you’re grateful for, such as having greater control of your schedule, the ability to choose the people you work with, or the loyal employees who work hard to help your business grow. Refer to this list whenever you need to put the pitfalls into perspective or recharge your batteries during a rough stretch.
5 – Take on a fresh challenge.
Tackling a project that is inspiring and rewarding or exploring new opportunities may be exactly what you need to pull yourself out of a professional rut. Looking for ways to expand your business offerings or enter new markets can reignite the spark that led you to launch your business in the first place.
Is there an initiative you would like to take on that falls outside the scope of your day-to-day? If you have always wanted to start a mentorship program or introduce a company-wide recycling program, embrace the challenge and commit to taking steps to move the project forward.
6 – Learn a new skill.
Sometimes a lack of inspiration can result from not knowing how to approach a business problem or obstacle. One way to address this is to explore education or professional development opportunities.
Investigate workshops, conferences, and other programs that offer relevant development opportunities. Consider taking a course online or at a local university or community college to work on a skill that can help you take your business to another level. Build time into your schedule to read business blogs, books, and articles to keep pace with industry trends and incorporate key concepts into your planning in order to stay competitive.
7 – Switch things up.
Doing things the same way over and over again can lead to boredom and stagnation. Break out of your routine and try making changes to the way you approach your day. Work outside your office. Go to a networking event geared toward a different sector of the market. If you rarely leave your desk, take yourself to lunch or head outdoors for a 15-minute walk. If you always approach daily tasks in a certain order, try to mix things up. You may find that a little variety will shift your perspective and breathe new life into your workday.
8 – Take a break.
Burnout is a key reason why people become dissatisfied with their work. Being overworked and not taking enough time for themselves often leads to feelings of resentment. There are numerous reasons why getting away, even for a short time, is good for your physical and mental well-being. These range from reducing stress and the risk of heart attack to returning with renewed energy and motivation.
You may be so consumed with running the business that you think you can’t afford a single day away from the office. However, it is important to trust your team to handle things while you’re away, as well as to trust that your clients will understand that they are in good hands. The more you’re able to delegate, the less time you’ll spend connected to your business and the more you’ll benefit from your vacation.
9 – Join a networking group.
Connecting face to face with entrepreneurs and professionals can be invigorating and inspiring. Not only can you meet potential customers, vendors, or partners, you can take advantage of opportunities to learn from leading experts. Perhaps most importantly, mingling with fellow business owners and experiencing their energy and enthusiasm can revive your business drive.
10 – Find a mentor.
Many small business owners come to realize that the do-it-yourself mindset prevalent among entrepreneurs can be a drawback, and that getting support from mentors or other business owners can be extremely helpful during tough times. A mentor can provide the honest feedback and guidance you need to get back on track when you are struggling or strike out in a new direction. Seek out someone in your industry or professional network who you admire and respect. Discuss their willingness to brainstorm, serve as a sounding board, and provide help and motivation as needed. Knowing you have someone in your corner can help shift your mindset about your business and revive your determination to succeed.
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