It’s the middle of summer, and you’re stuck behind your small business desk—working and sweating—while your friends’ Facebook feeds are filled with pictures of them happily enjoying a drink at some beach. It’s no wonder you’ve ‘Lost that loving feeling’ for your own business.
Falling out of love with your small business can happen any time, not just in summer. Most entrepreneurs find they hit a period when they’ve lost their momentum and feel like they’re in a rut.
Remind yourself of your “bright idea”
Think back to when you first started your business:
- What was your original business idea?
- How did you come up with it?
- What problem were you trying to solve?
- What opportunity were you trying to seize?
- What excited you about it?
Getting back in touch with what you loved about your business in the first place may help reignite your spark. You have goals and aspirations—let’s bring those to the forefront again. Or, you may be reminded of ideas you had for your business that you set aside during the day-to-day operations of keeping everything running smoothly. Maybe it’s time to dust those off and try some new approaches.
Reassess your personal goals
In addition to what you wanted to achieve for your business, you were almost certainly motivated by personal goals when you began your business. You may have lost touch with those or feel like you’re not achieving them quickly enough.
For instance, my very first clients owned a fashion design company. The two founders were originally motivated by wanting to be creative, but over the years, they were doing administrative tasks almost exclusively, and their staff was doing the creative work. They needed to re-focus on their original personal motivation to get re-energized.
Most entrepreneurs’ personal goals can be summed up by the Four Cs:
- Creativity: If being creative is what gets you motivated, remain closely involved in the creative aspects of your business.
- Control: If you’re driven by a need for control, structure systems to ensure that you have sufficient information about all developments in your company
- Challenge: If you have a high need for challenge, establish goals that provide you with sufficient stimulation, while maintaining the health of your business. Otherwise, you may find yourself continually starting new projects that divert your attention.
- Cash: Every entrepreneur wants to make money. If you’re not achieving your financial goals, it’s time to re-evaluate your business plan.
Emulate your role models
“What would Sheryl do?” Reminding yourself of your role models can help create a powerful vision for yourself and get you re-energized when you’ve lost steam. If your business hero is Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, it might reconnect you with your desire to be innovative. If your role model is Sheryl Sandberg, she might be an inspiration for building a collaborative, highly successful company. Or perhaps you’d like to be like your sister who’s been self-employed for 10 years yet goes to all her kids’ soccer games and PTA meetings?
Our role models don’t all have to be famous. Or rich. They can be those who have found ways to live the kind of lives we’d like to have or to make the type of mark we’d like to make on the world.
Whether you’re just starting out in business or you’ve been in business for years, try this exercise:
- Think about an entrepreneur you admire.
- Jot down the traits you admire in them.
- Brainstorm on how you can incorporate those traits into your life and your business.
So ‘Don’t stop believing’ and ‘Carry on.’ Any relationship can get a bit stale—even the relationship of an entrepreneur to his or her own company. It’s time to get out from behind that desk, give yourself the equivalent of a ‘date night’ or actually take a vacation, remind yourself what inspires you and what made you fall in love with your small business in the first place.
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2015
This article originally ran in USA Today on July 24, 2015