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Feeling Stuck in the Business? Tips to Level Up Your Entrepreneurial Journey

There is a bleak statistics that might discourage wannabe entrepreneurs from pursuing their dreams. Take note however that these numbers will either challenge you to traverse the jungle of an unknown future with a resolve to arrive at your desired mountain peak or weaken your resolve to pursue and be among the majority of people whom Henry David Thoreau described as leading lives of quiet desperation. Brace yourself with these data: Around 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of the second year, it will go up to 30 percent. Half is expected to close by the end of five years and only 30 percent will remain by the end of a decade.

If you’re on your 3rd year in business and is going strong, congratulations, you’ve survived mortality!  Get ready and be prepared then for the next two years for there is a grimy outlook for another 20 percent death of businesses.

At this point, whether you’re just starting or have already hurdled the 10-year mark in the business and is now doing well, it could be that in either of the scenarios, you may be experiencing getting stuck. You could be spinning your wheels and seems clueless of what’s happening and what to do next. For some time, this is okay but be careful not to be in this situation for too long as it might eventually pull you backwards.

The statistics above will guide our decisions to be more realistic and pragmatic. To gauge our progress, we can use our revenue as a measuring stick. It is said that a modest 5% growth on an annual basis is a good way to measure the rate that our business is growing. Something to ponder however is when you’re in a situation where your business growth shows a flat line. If you’re feeling that way or you see the data of your company slapped hard on your face, it’s now time to face reality and take a concrete plan of action to steer the company into profitability, growth, and a new level of excitement.

Here are some tips on how you can ignite the passion and excitement in your business that will translate into profitability and growth.

1. Go back to where you started

We need to frequently remind ourselves of the Main Reason why we established the business. This will anchor us back to our Why. Oftentimes, when we think we have already established the business, we tend to be complacent, get out of touch with day-to-day operations, and slump back. Get excited once again about the small details of your business. Talk to your people, know their aspirations and rebuild better relationships among your employees. Set clear intentions and re-map your business plans.

2. Set aside regular time for reflective thinking

John Maxwell defined reflective thinking as thinking with the purpose of growing by examining the events in the past, big or small, good or bad, and those that worked and that didn’t. This enables us to gather the best takeaways from our successes and failures. Looking back to the past will prepare us to look ahead. It is through reflective thinking that we can put our experience into perspective and evaluate some details that we may not have noticed before. This makes our experiences become insights.

3. Perform R&D

If we truly want to level up and skyrocket our progress and get ahead of other players in our industry, research and development is of key importance. It is obtaining new knowledge and innovating our existing products or services or creating new ones. For small entrepreneurs, you don’t need to be overwhelmed by R&D. You can start with the very basic of doing a lot of readings. There are tons of available free information that we can easily access on the web that will help us to spur breakthroughs in our business.

4. Know your Hedgehog

When we scatter our focus, our competence and efficiency also diminish. The hedgehog concept, as mentioned in the book Good to Great, is creating clear focus for the organization. As the ancient Greek parable says, “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Like the fox, many people pursue a lot of interests and goals at the same time. This results to scattered focus and very little achievement. The hedgehog concept answers the following:

1. What are you passionate about?

2. What do you do best?

3. What drives your economic engine?

When you find overlapping answers to these three questions, you found your hedgehog!

5. Get the right people on the bus

Finding the right person to be part of our business could be a challenge. We need to exert due diligence that will ensure we are hiring the right people to help us in growing our business. The people we need to look for are those who are motivated, committed, and aligned with our company’s values which will help us to bring our business to the next level.

The true mettle of whether an individual is sculpted to be an entrepreneur is his ability to persist and continue despite setbacks, discouragement, and challenges. The journey of a business owner is like a journey going up a mountain. You’ll traverse mountains, plateaus, and hills. There are also canyons, valleys, and basins. As you trudge up the mountain, remember to love and be excited about your journey. Remember, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that makes it worth going forward – Paulo Coelho

Riza Jane Buarao

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