Have You Lost that Lovin’ Feeling for your Small Business?
I met with one of my small business clients yesterday. It was her day off, but then as a small business owner, she never really has a day off. She’s always thinking about what she needs to do, worrying about all of the what ifs, and mustering the energy to move forward. I was trying to get her to think about where she wanted her business to be two or five years down the line. Her response was “I’m getting a little burned out on my business right now, so I can’t even think about the future”. She’s not alone, but when one is in this frame of mind, it is difficult to see they share these worries and challenges with so many other business owners.
The kiss of death is to walk into a store or meet with a business person who isn’t enthusiastic about what they do.
Question: If the owner isn’t happy about their business, why would anyone else be happy about doing business with them?
Answer: They aren’t and they won’t continue to do business with such companies.
So burn out creates this downward spiral. When you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling for your business chances are so will your customers.
What is important is that every business person recognize when burn out engulfs them and figure out ways to rejuvenate their energy and enthusiasm for their business.
How to erase that burned out feeling?
So, how does one erase that burned out feeling? That’s difficult to answer because the solution is tied to the individual. The suggestions below may uncover some ideas you hadn’t considered and hopefully a few may present you with a path to recover your joy and enthusiasm for your small business. Most of these ideas involve taking a break so you can have a fresh eyes and perspective.
- Buddy up with Mother Nature – Get your hands dirty in the garden. Go for a long hike and focus on the beauty around you.
- Buddy up with a Buddy – Call your best friend…you know the one. The one person you can say anything to and they will always listen and give you words of gold.
- Burn Burn Out – Run until you’re exhausted. Go to the gym and lift weights until your arms burn. Sign-up for a yoga or Pilate class. Go for a swim and swim 10 more laps than you ever have before. Do whatever you can to get the endorphins to spill out into your brain. They can help alter your perspective.
- Go Still – Get up with the sun, light a candle and meditate by focusing on your breath. Let all of your worries drain out of your hands and feet. Stay still for 15 minutes. Practice getting still inside whenever something aggravating pops up during the day. Do for two weeks and see if it doesn’t make a difference.
- Go Zen – Whenever burn out raises its ugly head, stop, smile, breath deep and be calm. Know that the feeling will lift soon and you’ll feel much better.
- Take a Break – Plan a trip to one of your favorite places…the beach, the mountains, a lovely spa with your honey. Take a long weekend or a week. If you can’t find someone to cover for you, put a sign on the door or leave a voice message that explains you are closed and when you will open. As the business owner, you get to decide when it will be open and will it will be closed. Getting yourself into a better frame of mind will work wonders for your business and your customers.
- Identify the Frustration – Then identify a solution to the parts you find frustrating. Do you need to hire someone who can handle that aspect of your business? Don’t think you can afford to hire someone? See if you can bring on an intern for free and see if it makes a difference in your attitude. Whatever the frustration, there is a solution. You just need to find it.
- Firm up your Focus – Recall why you started the business and what you found so exciting about the prospect of being in business. What did you want to accomplish? Do you still want to accomplish this goal? If not, what new goals can you establish for your business that will get you re-enthused?
- Learn More – Sign-up for an industry conference where you’ll meet people in your profession and learn new techniques, meet new people and get re-enthused.
- Get Inspired – It may be a book of poetry, a biography of someone you really admire. As you read it, ask yourself what lessons you’re learning.
- Give Back – Nothing gets one out of the dumps faster than realizing our problems are nothing compared to another. Deliver meals, get involved in a favorite charity, donate time to a good cause.
- Get out of your office – Go to the library or a favorite coffee shop or sit on a bench in the park. Just changing where you are can give you a fresh perspective.
- Change your words and self-talk – We spend a lot of time talking inside our heads and often what we’re saying just reinforces the negatives we’re feeling. So, change your self-talk and the words you use when talking to others to create a more positive mind set.
- Make a conscious choice to feel enthused – They say life is all about choices. So make the choice to feel enthused and thankful for your business instead of feeling burned out.
- Gratitude – Sit down and write at least 10 items for which you are grateful. Do that 10 days in a row and see if that changes the way you view your business and your life. If nothing else, it will help you put the emphasis on those things that truly matter in your life.
- Treat Yourself – Think about one thing you would really love to do, to experience, to see, to taste, to feel and DO IT. DO IT NOW!
- Turn on the Tunes – Turn on your favorite tunes. You know the one that always makes you smile and where you want to dance. That one. Turn it on, turn it up loud and sing along. Play it again until you’re completely satisfied.
- Re-purpose – Maybe you just need to give yourself a new purpose for your business. Could it be to make a contribution to your community, or to your children or spouse. Is there more to being in business than just making profit? If so, how can you incorporate that new purpose into your business?
- Share your feelings – Talk to other small business owners about burn out and see what steps they take. Don’t fall into the piety party trap. Focus on finding solutions.
- Give yourself a Pat – Often we forget to give ourselves a well deserved pat on the back for what we have accomplished in our small business, for what we’ve created. Recognize how far you’ve come and realize that if you’ve made it this far, you can go the distance.
Please feel free to share your ideas on how to snap out of burn out in the comments section below. What did you do on your break from your business? How did you feel after?