don't let your business go stale

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Don’t let your business go stale. 

It’s easy to kick off the year feeling excited and motivated. But after a couple of months you can find yourself in a lackluster routine or just feeling blah about the business. And, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, that can leak into your personal life too. No fun!

At some point, if you’re not proactive, your business can grow stale. Stale is defined as “having lost freshness, vigor, quick intelligence, initiative, or the like, as from over-strain, boredom,” “having lost novelty or interest,” and “stagnant”. In other words, what you once felt motivation and enthusiasm for, you now feel uninterested, or perhaps bored or even less confident. Ultimately you teeter on the edge of getting stuck and not growing. This isn’t the same as having a bad day (or week!); we all have those times. This is much more deep, lasting, and potentially devastating to your business.

The dangers of letting your business go stale…

Your bottom line takes a hit. The primary concern about lettings things go stale is that it could eventually impact your bottom line. If you get bored you probably want to spend less time on your business, less time supporting staff or team members, and less time creating and thinking up new ideas, services or products. Businesses stay relevant to their audience by being responsive to their needs and adapting quickly. If you just keep doing the minimum and ignore opportunities to stay relevant, you risk letting your business become stale or worse, die. Keep your business fresh and you’ll have more fun and enjoy bigger bottom lines!

Your visibility and exposure to new leads decreases. You may be tempted to shrink away from “getting out there” when you’re bored or feeling blah. But especially when you start feeling blasé about the biz, it’s not time to pull back and hide; it’s the perfect time to shine by focusing on what you do really well. The energy you get from what you do best in your business is enough to make your day! Find a way to get out there to network, go to lunch with a client or professional friend, or join a meetup group where your core business skills are valued and wanted. If your business has an online presence, get back out there too- write a new blog post, or share some interesting facts or trends that your audience will appreciate. Re-inject some energy into YOU and leverage that to refresh your business.

You waste time and energy. When you start feeling blah and unmotivated, it’s likely that you’re also not feeling creative. That’s when you can find yourself hammering away doing the usual to solve problems or accomplish goals even if they aren’t getting the results you need. This cycle easily becomes frustrating for you and those you work with- clients, vendors, your team. It’s like you’re spinning your wheels hoping for something amazing to happen because you’re too exhausted or tapped out creatively to try something new or different. With one life to live why waste any more time and energy going through the motions? It’s time to get refreshed!

You stop having fun. A huge part of why you started your business is because you wanted to do work you love. But what’s all that hard work for if you’re not having fun? People tend to procrastinate what they don’t enjoy and instead, do the things that they DO enjoy. That means if you’re not having fun in your business, you’re probably not feeling productive, you’re putting important activities off (e.g. client work, follow up), and maybe even having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Get back on track by injecting more fun into your day ON purpose. Is brainstorming with a business friend motivating to you? Give him/her a call and get support to get your content written or marketing plan updated.  It may sound simple, but making subtle adjustments to your workspace can lift your mood too: think decluttering, adding bright energizing colors, and sprinkling some live plants. I love these tips from StyleCaster.com.

Okay, so how do you keep it fresh, or “refresh” an already stale business?

Here are 5 simple things you can do to refresh your business now (decide which one you’re going to try and share below in the comments)

Have a “work-ON-your-business-day” every week. This is a no appointment zone when you get to “play” in your business and do the things that you rarely get a chance to do on the other days. This is my Monday. If you absolutely cannot have a full day without appointments, at least block half a day. This on-your-business-time offers some time to get excited about new ideas or read up on your industry. A powerful benefit of making this time regularly is staying present. I see fempreneurs running from one thing to the next, one meeting to the next, all the while checking text message and phone call after another. Productivity is great, but failing to give yourself space between activities or thinking time, really can set you up for stress and overwhelm. Even if you have a full schedule of appointments find time to check out from being available to others and work on your business.

Read a blog post or listen to a podcast from a different industry. When you are exposed to familiar lingo and ideas regularly, it’s easy to gloss over new opportunities for application, or not get the fodder you need to break out of a creative slump. Tuning into sources outside of your industry or knowledge zone requires more attention for understanding, and you may find yourself thinking, “wow- I can do that in my business!” I can testify to this experience, and it doesn’t take much time or effort to tap into this strategy to refresh your ideas and creativity. Don’t let your business go stale. Check out these top 25 podcasts for entrepreneurs.

Change your scenery. Whether you work from your home office, a coworking space, or lease your own space, staying in the same work space day in and day out can be detrimental to creativity. You’ve got to shake things up! On my long Mondays when I work ON my business, I find it especially important to take a full hour long lunch (most days it’s 30 minutes when I’m doing a variety of appointments and activities). Instead of sitting at my desk eating I’ll go outside on the patio or even check out completely and watch a recorded show. Other times, I need to get out of my environment altogether and go out to lunch or take a mid-day break to work out at the gym. You may need to change the scenery while you’re working; so if you’re tired of staring at your office wall all day, get out and go to a fun café with Wi-Fi, work by the pool, or spend a few hours at a coworking space.

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Have a get-away. Just like in any relationship, quality time is key to nurturing the partnership and keeping things fresh. Same goes for your business. From time to time you need to have business retreats (e.g. for strategic planning, working on your book, completing special projects that require high concentration, or new product or service design). This can be a simple one-day get away to an office space or a day pass to a hotel. You might consider investing a little more to participate in a multi-day retreat or business building intensive facilitated by a professional coach, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need guidance.

Join a mastermind group or coaching program. Getting an outside perspective is critical to keeping your business fresh and having the support you need when things start to feel stale. In a mastermind group (I offer one exclusively for current and past clients) you meet regularly with a group of your entrepreneur peers who contribute insight, feedback, and ideas. Such a structure allows you to delve into challenges and business ideas at a much deeper level. Plus, you now have a group of people who are committed to your success just as much as you are to theirs.

In a coaching program, whether private or group coaching, you typically have a structured program to follow. Most of my clients in my group coaching program have shared that just before starting the program, they were feeling like they needed to make a shift and weren’t sure how to do that, OR were just overwhelmed with how to really grow their business.  If you’re currently feeling stuck in your business and need personalized guidance, or you’re ready to get your business growing, and want to make faster progress, private coaching is most likely the best option. The power here is the personalized, focused guidance you get from a professional coach who’s worked with loads of entrepreneurs to grow their business. Through private coaching you will get support, be asked the right questions, get connected with relevant resources and tools, have the accountability to keep going, and get guidance to know exactly what to do next.

Getting committed, consistent support from a mastermind group or coaching program could be exactly what will make the difference between staying stale and blah versus breathing new life back into your business.

So, which strategy are you going to implement first? Share with us in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!