It seems to be a fact of today’s business world that entrepreneurs who own and run a business usually find their business to be on a crazy roller coaster ride before long. With the ups and downs of making sales, managing defeats and seeing your bank balance rise and fall, every day can feel like you’re taken as high and as low as you can possibly imagine. While some of those ups and downs are inavoidable, you do have options for making the path a little bit smoother.
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If you’re struggling to keep a balance in your business so that it doesn’t have too many ups and downs don’t worry, we’ve made a guide to help you through. Make sure you apply these measures to your business to enhance success.
1. Plan and Forecast
Being pushed and pulled in a dozen different directions might feel like the way of the entrepreneur, and some days, it’s just going to be that way. But if you’re not taking the time to map out your goals and to lay out the necessary steps to get to those goals, you simply won’t get there. If you didn’t start with a solid business plan, you made a mistake, but it’s not too late to fix it. Get help from the Small Business Administration or use other entrepreneurial tools to help you create a business plan that all the leaders in your workplace can refer to when they have questions about your target market, your business model or any other piece of the business structure.
But wait, you’re not done. You should also be setting and monitoring weekly, monthly and yearly goals for the business. Add time for goal-setting and check-ins to your calendar, and don’t let anything take precedence over those sessions. During the sessions, write down your goals, and then work backwards to lay out each individual step you need to take to meet that goal by a certain date. Using the SMART goal setting model can be helpful.
What’s more, you should also be forecasting and planning for future problems or hiccups in your master plan. Have a contingency plan put in place for common problems, so that everyone you work with knows what they should be doing and who’s doing what when a crisis strikes. As far as roller coasters go, a crisis in the workplace guarantees a plunge.
2. Follow the Plan
Once you’ve mapped it all out, write down those individual tasks on your daily calendar, so that you’ve scheduled time to do them. Bit by bit, you’ll make progress toward your goals. Whether it’s a basic goal such as staying on top of record-keeping, or a bigger goal such as opening a new location, breaking the goals into small pieces can help both you and the rest of your team with not feeling overwhelmed.
3. Take Time for Yourself
With the chaos and worry that comes with running your own business often comes a serious lack of work-life balance. You might think you need to devote all of your working hours to your business in order to succeed. What you might be overlooking is the possibility of a burnout. When you’re burned out, your creative juices are depleted, your motivation is at a minimum, and you simply may not be able to accomplish the amount of work that you think you should be doing. And here’s where the roller coaster comes back into play, if you yourself can’t function properly, then neither will you team, which means that the business is going to be taking a plunge.
When you’re burned out, the solution is not to push through, but instead, the solution is to take a break. Sometimes all that’s required is a short break away from your computer or the task at hand. In one 1997 study, participants were found to be more productive when they took frequent 30-second and 3-minute rest breaks. That might mean stepping outside for a breath of fresh air, walking around the building, or even hitting the water cooler for a brief respite.
You may also need longer breaks that remind you that there’s something else in your life besides work. Make an effort to do something just for your own pleasure or health every day. Whether that’s going for a jog on your lunch break, hitting the spa on the weekends, or any other activity, the result may be an increased feeling of well-being that can help you better cope with the challenges ahead. In other words, sometimes the roller coaster ride you’re on is simply a matter of perspective. By focusing on a healthy body, you’ll in turn have a healthier mind.
4. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
When you’re managing your own business, it’s inevitable that you’re going to feel overwhelmed on a regular basis. For some people, that overwhelming feeling is very bad as they feel paralysed to do anything. They’re just so mired in the stew of chaos that they simply can’t see what to do next. When you’re on that roller coaster and you feel like giving up, remember that you don’t have to do everything -in fact, you can’t do everything all at once- but you can do something. Pick one small task from your to-do list and get it completely done. Then do another one. If you have to, put a sign on your office door that tells people not to disturb you. Often, getting a few tasks knocked off your list will help you regain your confidence and get you back on track to handle the bigger issues at hand. Besides work tasks, people sometimes employ other methods to regain the feeling of control. Cleaning your office and getting everything organized is one way to regain that feeling of organization. Taking a walk around the block to clear your head can be another.
5. Keep on Marketing
If the roller coaster you’re on is a result of rising and falling revenues, it’s likely that you have a marketing problem on your hands. Maybe you marketed hard for a time, and then let the effort wane as you began to get clients and got busy with the actual work at hand. But that type of routine is a sure way to always be playing catch-up. Instead, you should be employing the "slow and steady" approach to your marketing as well. Have a mapped-out plan for your social media posts so that things are going out regularly. Set a goal to reach out to a certain number of prospects every day or every week, and follow through with that plan. If you have a sales team, encourage that team to not only focus on closing their current sales, but also to be always looking to the next prospect. It can be a balancing act for sure. Without a continual marketing effort, you’ll keep on riding the roller coaster till the end of times.
6. Get Educated
If you’re really struggling with a particular part of your business and you can’t seem to come up with the right strategies to fix it, the solution may lie in seeking out more training. You don’t have to go back to school to pursue your Masters in Business Administration (though you could), but you could attend a training seminar or a conference, or you could enroll in a short course that will help you boost your skill set. For some entrepreneurs, it’s not just the new skills that help -but also the camaraderie that they get from meeting other struggling entrepreneurs and skillful coaches.
Getting more training or education on how to run your business, or on a particular area of your business can be great for you, it’ll ensure that you will have more skills that will help your business to stop riding the roller coaster.
There’s no doubt that running your own business is a challenging, but surely, it doesn’t have to be one that takes you on that wild and worrisome roller coaster every day.
Do you have a business? Have you managed to make it not ride the roller coaster on a daily basis? Share with us in the comment section below.