After the past two years of the recession – watching expenses like a hawk and keeping a close eye on receivables – it wouldn’t be surprising if you ended up with a bunker mentality.
Maybe you don’t embrace new opportunities with the same enthusiasm any more. The business just doesn’t hold the excitement it used to have. You and your team may find your creative edge dulled. Those would be natural feelings after the rough economy we’ve been through.
But here are five ways to bring the life back into your company so you and your staff begin to approach each day with renewed excitement and a burning desire to grow the business:
1) Remind yourself why you started or entered the business
Get a cup of coffee, find a quiet place for an hour, and write down the reasons you launched your business, or joined the company. Think back to what made you start your business. Were you planning to revolutionize your industry? Or was your goal more basic – to provide a great product and excellent customer service, at a fair price? Have you achieved those goals or have you drifted?
Remember how you felt, too: excited, confident, happy, invincible? Reflecting on your original goals and feelings can help you regain some of that old “zing” you may have lost. At the very least it helps clarify your goals and direction.
2) Reflect on those who rely on your business
It can be scary to realize how much your customers and your employees all rely on your business – it’s a weighty responsibility. On the other hand, reflecting on that can also renew your sense of purpose. According to the Guardian Life “What Matters Most Index”, the top 3 things that matter most to small business owners are:
- Customers who appreciate what we do
- Keeping customers we have from leaving
- My employees
Do some blue sky thinking. Think of scenarios that would make your customers more appreciative and keep them from leaving. Think also of scenarios that will make your employees more loyal – perhaps offering a profit sharing program or starting a recognition program. Focusing on “servant leadership” – leading by serving your customers and employees – can give you the drive and confidence to reach for more.
3) Get out of the office
You can lose sight of the marketplace and the big picture if you stay cooped up in your office. Get out and about. Schedule some customer visits today – your customers will love it and you’ll learn a lot. Get out to networking events to meet potential new contacts. And don’t forget to spend time with your peers – other business owners – to share ideas and tips. Nothing broadens your perspective more than focusing outside the four walls, rather than inside.
4) Find something to celebrate
Celebrating helps you build a positive, growth-oriented, fun culture. Celebrate your business anniversaries and milestones – and accomplishments. And if you don’t think you have any accomplishments, you’re wrong. We can all find things we’ve accomplished if we’re not so matter of fact about it – think on it and start writing your accomplishments down. Remind your team of them. There are lots of ways to celebrate – from a simple memo thanking the staff for another profitable year, to awards and recognitions, to big parties. However you celebrate, just know that it gets you and your team feeling excited and successful.
5) Do something just for you
Getting burned out won’t help a thing. It saps your energy. It gets in the way of doing your best for the business. To recharge, take some time off – perhaps a long weekend. Even a few hours helps. Turn off your BlackBerry or iPhone. Let people know you don’t want to be disturbed for anything short of a dire emergency – your staff will get by somehow without you. Do something just for you… a family vacation, some golf, reading a book, visiting an attraction. Find time to recharge your body and soul and you’ll bring more enthusiasm to your business when you get back to work. Encourage your staff to do the same.
Remember, it’s natural to sometimes feel that your business has gone a little stale or stalled, especially after hunkering down to beat the recession. Don’t just accept it as the “new normal.” Take action to gain back your lost excitement and enthusiasm, and propel the business forward faster.
As a business owner, how do you enliven your business?