4 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Business Rut

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It doesn’t matter how you got there; every entrepreneur has been there with you. The sense that everything that can go wrong, is going wrong. The feeling that you’re stuck on a treadmill and not making any forward progress. The feeling that you just can’t ahead.

These are all signs that you’re in a business rut and need to make a change. Let’s talk about what that change can look like.

Identify the problem
The first step is to figure out why this rut is happening. Is it emotional, physical, financial?
Some ruts are factual; business relocation, your business isn’t gaining new customers, gathering new income, or progressing in a meaningful way.

Some ruts are emotional; you miss the breakneck pace of startup or product launch, or you’ve been extremely involved in the day-to-day of your business and miss the excitement of creation.

The first step to breaking out of your rut is knowing what kind of a rut you’re in. Fixing emotional issues when your business is actually the problem isn’t going to help you feel better.

Reconsider progress
When you’re in the trenches of your business, it’s almost impossible to see the forest for the trees. You can become so caught up in the hustle of the day-to-day that you can only see that you still haven’t accessed a particular market, and have missed that you’ve penetrated three new customer segments since startup.

When you feel like your business isn’t making progress, going back to your monthly and annual reports is a great way to get some perspective. Don’t just look at your business’s annual income. Consider statistics like employee retention, repeat business customers, and social media engagement.

All businesses go through growth cycles, and if everything is growing at once, something’s going to break. It’s okay for a business to focus on employee satisfaction for a time in order to drive profit growth in the future.

Take a break
Entrepreneurs work longer hours than almost anyone else in the American business world. It’s considered bizarre to work less than 60 hours a week. No one goes into business for themselves thinking that this will be a great way to take a long vacation, but that doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs never need a chance to relax and recharge.

If you feel like your rut has more to do with emotions than business, it’s a good time to take a break. Depending on how deep your rut feels, this could be as short as a walk to the corner coffee shop to grab a Red Eye, or as involved as a vacation. The point is that everyone needs a chance to recharge their batteries. Even planning to attend a business convention, or teach a class regarding an expert topic can help you take a look at your work with fresh eyes.

The goal is to change your perspective. Even if you feel like taking a vacation is impossible, stand up and move around for a minute. Look at your desk from a new angle, and see what shakes loose.

Finish things that never get finished
I always end up with a list of things that I’ve never quite gotten around to. They’re obviously not crucial piece of business implementation, but they linger around, and sometimes, my feeling of being in a rut stems from that mental list getting a little too long.

If you feel like you’re just not getting anything done, make a physical to do list. Put down your phone, walk away from your apps, break out a pen and some paper and write down everything you need to do in a day. Every time you accomplish a task, cross it out.

Make a list of those half-done things, and when you need something new to shake up your perspective, reach for that list. Cross off everything that never gets done, and see how you feel when that list is complete.

Every entrepreneur will feel, at one point or another, like they’ve hit a rut. One thing that sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the pack is how they handle those ruts when they occur.

What is your most successful strategy for jolting yourself out of a rut?

Margarita Hakobyan
CEO and founder of MoversCorp.com, an online marketplace of local moving companies and storage facilities. Business women, wife and mother of two with bachelor's degree from the University of Utah with a concentration in International Studies and a Masters Degree also from the University of Utah with a degree in International business.

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