Starting your own small business is a lot like beginning a new relationship – the excitement, the sleepless nights, the worrying if it’s all going to turn out alright. You want to inspire, impress and be your very best. Those heady days can be hard work, but they’re also intoxicating. In time however, those initial feelings can fade. Perhaps the daily grind gets on top of you, or growing beyond your original limits has stalled. Tasks you don’t like to do, difficult customers and unexpected setbacks can leave you feeling less than enthused. Perhaps you wake up one day and realise – you’re just not enjoying it anymore.
The good news is, resurrecting the love and passion you once felt for your start-up is easily achievable. Those feelings are still in there – but the course of true love never ran smoothly, as countless novels and films will attest. With a few practical steps, you can rediscover your zest for it all. Here’s your roadmap to falling in love with your business all over again:
Get Networking to Bring in New Energy
One way to realise how amazing the potential of your business really is, is to be able to see it through fresh eyes. And there’s no better catalyst for that than meeting new people with an active interest in what you do. Discover local networking events and specialist programmes within your industry – hearing people talk passionately about exciting new developments in your area can make you realise the potential you have. Similarly, finding a mentor can help you to see things differently and guide you past roadblocks that can sap your enjoyment of running the business, or offering to become a mentor yourself can also give you a boost. Seeing someone else’s wonder and appreciation for what you do every day can be a powerful force to reinvigorate what you do. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Automate Your ‘Frog Tasks’
We all have them – tasks we especially dread. And running a small business means you often get roped in to literally everything – from resolving HR issues with staff, to running off invoicing and scheduling appointments. This all eats into the creativity and available headspace you have for innovation – the very thing that got you into business in the first place. Long term, not only can this dampen your love for a passion project but it can hinder your company’s long-term growth potential. So address it head on by automating as many of the energy sapping tasks as you can. Forget ‘swallowing the frog’ every day – you can tell it to hop off entirely. This doesn’t have to be expensive either these days. Finding cost-effective automated invoicing software, using the services of a virtual PA or outsourcing your recruitment and HR can often be relatively inexpensive, especially when it frees you up to concentrate on driving new projects and bringing in more revenue.
Improve Your Working Environment
We often underestimate the impact of our working environment, but having the wrong set up can seriously impact productivity and drain your energy. So make sure your workspace is fit for purpose. Go back to basics to unlock what really works. Consider a makeover for your office space and any customer facing spaces – find commercial electricians and visual merchandising experts to make a space flow better and become more impactful, sort out the seating and the layout of any working areas and consider if the premises you have is still fulfilling your business needs. Coming to work every day to a well-designed, comfortable working space can do a lot to make you look forward to the day ahead, and to encourage customers to have the best experience with you.
Set Aside Personal Development Time
You are the captain of the ship, and you set the tone for everyone who works alongside you. Others can be quick to pick up on a loss of enthusiasm and become uninspired themselves – or, worse, misread it as a signal that the business is in trouble. You owe it to yourself and others to find your fire again – so prioritise scheduling in some time to work on your personal development goals. Time to plan out the bigger picture, visualise where you want the company to be in 10 years time and looking at examples in your industry and outside it of businesses that are really changing the game. What are they doing differently? Why are they catching your interest? Realising what insights there are that you can adapt for your own operations can get you fired up again.
Take One Positive Action Each Day
When you lose momentum, building it up again can be really hard. Taing baby steps is the key – with each small, positive action, be it ever so simple, you get a boost which then spurs you on to achieve more. It all depends on what your goals for the business are – most often they will centre around finance, so come up with an action plan of one small thing you can complete each day to boost the bottom line. It could be publishing an article on a LinkedIn group that will get the enquiries rolling, or putting together a new sales deck. Achieving something – and something that convinces others why they should buy from you – often reminds you of the company strengths
Don’t Forget Your Downtime
It sounds counter-intuitive to a lot of small business owners working every hour to grow their business. But making sure you schedule in some opportunity to rest and get away from the business can be just the tonic for flagging enthusiasm. With today’s 24/7, always-on access to systems and emails, the hardest thing to learn can actually be establishing boundaries and making sure you take time for yourself. So book in that long overdue vacation, schedule in an afternoon of me time- be that taking a hike in the great outdoors or catching a matinee – and don’t feel guilty. Time to destress is valuable as it helps you to see the bigger picture, take a step back and come up with fresh ideas and new solutions. Think of the time as an investment- in your own mental health and in the engine that drives the business – you! .