Everyone and every business experiences times when things aren’t going well. You feel like you’re treading water. It is comparable to a sports team or an athlete that hits a slump. It’s a frustrating feeling. You feel like you need to be doing something but it seems like you’re going backwards or standing still. This is a normal situation that happens to everyone at one point or another. The big question is how to get things moving again in the right direction.
Here is what works for me. I am big on lists and notes. When I hit the wall, I sit down with a blank piece of paper and start making a list of all my thoughts and ideas. I try not to be in my office when making these lists to create neutral territory. I outline my thoughts and concepts without regard to whether they are good, bad, crazy or whatever. My next step is to brainstorm the list and expand on it where appropriate. This includes considering the pros and cons of each idea.
Another step is to research each idea that I feel might have some merit. This often leads to checking on what others are doing, especially competitors. During this process, I reflect on what’s working, what’s not, and why. Just engaging in this sort of activity often will jar loose new thoughts and ideas. Often an old idea turns out to be a good approach after a little tweaking.
I am careful not to allow any knee jerk or panic reactions. It is important not to overreact. Take some time and let things settle in and contemplate various possibilities. Also, this might also be a good time to take a break. You would be surprised how this can rejuvenate your thinking. All of a sudden fresh new thoughts and ideas pop into your head.
Often just checking your data and numbers can get you pointed in the right direction. Actually, all small businesses should be checking their numbers and trends each month. This process doesn’t need to take a lot of time. This could maybe take an hour each month. Having a virtual coach or CFO can be a great catalyst in performing this step and a source for some fresh ideas. This approach gives you feedback and an objective point of view.
I’m big on lists and to dos. It helps keep me from procrastinating and putting off things that need to be done now. Procrastinating will get you stuck every time. That’s where my lists and to dos provide the motivation needed to keep things moving. Writing things down helps to reinforce your ideas and concepts and keep your thought process active.
These are things that work for me to keep myself on track and from getting stuck. Hopefully they will be helpful to you as well. Give them a try and you might be surprised on what new thoughts and ideas come to light.