How The Small Business Owner Got Her Groove Back

by Heather Steele February 4, 2016
February 4, 2016

Getting Unstuck

Sometimes, when things aren’t going well in our businesses, we have a tendency to lock up. Our fear moves us to inaction, and we spend more time worrying about what to do next than actually doing something.

When leads are slow to come in or clients are dragging their feet to wrap up projects—when the flow of customers dwindles and moving product gets harder and harder, we have 2 choices:

We can be like Artax (you remember, the white horse from A Never Ending Story) and let the weight of the world root us, sink us lower and lower until we’re completely covered in darkness and unable to move forward.

Or, we can be like Atreyu and trudge on, steadily, one step at a time, until we reach the other side.

Next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and you’re not sure how to get unstuck, try a few of these 10 steps forward:

Connect With Others

  1. Call up 5 old clients to see how they’re doing. Make it a friendly connection: don’t ask for business or referrals, just make a genuine inquiry to see how they are.
  2. Find a forum, LinkedIn Group, Facebook Group, or some other place where your potential customers hang out online and answer 10 questions. Don’t pitch your services, but do casually place your contact information in your signature.
  3. Write a blog post. Don’t have a blog? Publish on LinkedIn or Medium. And if you’re not sure how to start, here’s a handy guide to starting a blog (and before you begin, make sure to learn from the mistakes of others).

Get Away From Your Computer

  1. Get out of the office and go to a networking event. If you’re in Denton, here’s a breakdown of some of our favorite groups around town to help you find the one that’s right for you.
  2. Meet a colleague for coffee or over video chat to talk about your struggles. Sometimes just saying it out loud is all you need to move forward. They may also have a few nuggets of advice to share.

Self Improvement

  1. Use this slow period to increase your skill set. Jump into (which is free if you have a library card in Denton) go to a live event, or just read some great blog articles that will help you improve. Pick one trait or skill to focus on at a time, or else you’ll become overwhelmed.
  2. Move your body: go for a run, do some pushups, or find a local yoga class. Most of us live very sedentary lifestyles—a little activity releases endorphins and helps you improve your outlook. You’ll also be able to think more clearly and objectively when you have a little change of scenery. We take 5-minute breaks throughout the day and use the Sworkit app to get a quick workout in.

Look Inward

  1. Review your past projects and evaluate the type of work and clients that are really the best fit for your business. It can be very tempting during slow times to take on any work you can, but when something’s really not a good fit for your business, it will cost you more in the long run. You can even use our Customer Persona Template to help define who those ideal customers are.
  2. Solidify your brand. Take some time to really think about who you are as a business and what makes you unique. If you’re having a hard time narrowing it down, that could be part of the reason that business is slow. Grab the Brand Personality Worksheet to help you define your unique brand.

Stop Going It Alone

  1. Ask for help. This one’s hard, and as entrepreneurs it is SO counterintuitive to our personalities. Tell your friends and family what kind of leads you need, ask your local chamber about resources available, find a small business incubator, ask others in your industry if they ever get leads that aren’t a great fit for them, but might be perfect for you. No one can do this alone—you can’t get totally unstuck by yourself.

What do you do when you feel stuck? It’s easy to come up with ideas when you’re not feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Grab the Getting Unstuck Checklist and design your own map, then hang on to it, because at one point or another, we all feel like we may just give up and sink to the bottom…but there’s an Atreyu inside who’s willing to trudge on and make it to the other side.

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