Get Your Business Out of Its Midlife Crisis

At some point in the life of every company, the pace slows, activities become mundane, and owners may start to feel like they’re just going through the motions. The trick is to recognize your lapse in motivation — and take steps to overcome it.

Here are some tried-and-true techniques to help you and your small business through its midlife crisis.

1. Take a break. What if you just walked away for a day or two? This may seem like a frightening prospect, but it’s also a useful reality check. If you’re concerned that the enterprise will crumble to pieces without you at the helm, this may be a good time to see what actually happens in your absence. This means you’ll need to delegate more duties. Allowing trusted team members to assume control not only gives them the opportunity to prove their value to the business, but also frees you up to think strategically about where you’re headed. There’s even a chance you might relax a little.

2. Go back to square one. Once you’re caught up in day-to-day operations, it’s easy to lose sight of why you got into the business in the first place. Do you remember what your original drive was? Did you see a need for a product or service that no one else saw? Did you set out to achieve a specific goal? Whatever the reason, reflect upon whether your initial passion still holds. If not, you can certainly reinvigorate your business by changing your vision and focus. Think about where you want your company to be one year and five years from now. Maybe it’s time to reframe your vision, based on changing market conditions in your industry and in the economy in general. Consider creating a new product or branching out into a new area. A new goal can bring excitement and focus to your life.

3. Talk with customers. One way to generate ideas for new products or markets is to touch base with your customers. Conduct mail or online surveys to ask customers questions that will spur your thinking: How can I improve the service I’m providing you? Is there something else you want or need from my business? You might not like hearing everything your customers have to say, but their responses are likely to surprise and enlighten you.

4. Talk with peers. Soliciting unbiased, third-party advice or meeting new people can renew your enthusiasm. Look for upcoming trade shows, industry conferences, and chamber of commerce events. Seek out fellow entrepreneurs and ask how they’re handling their midlife crises. People are often more willing to share their opinions than you might think. It also feels good to offer some insights of your own.

5. Change your daily routine. Perhaps it’s time to establish some new patterns. Change what you wear. Find a different way to go to work. Do something spontaneous in the middle of the day. Most importantly, if you’re not exercising or eating right, adopt healthy lifestyle habits: There’s no quicker or more positive way to get out of a rut!

About Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning freelance copywriter and editor and a former Senior Writer for Vistage International, a global membership organization of chief executive officers. He writes frequently on issues and challenges faced by U.S. small businesses.
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4 comments
Pr121
Pr121

Today it's a little harder to get thing up and running in a battle of whose company is better or visa versa. Sometimes with just a little more effort put forth like advertising, marketing, promoting, coupons and even a website like the one that I've created at http://www.readyhtml.com it helps promote and gets you out there in a different standing. Everyone goes through the hardships, But the trick is to keep your head up and keep on pushing. 

 

Thank you for the read. 

Ken Schmitt
Ken Schmitt

In this difficult economy, I think most business have experience a midlife crisis of sorts.  As the owner of a boutique executive career management and recruiting firm I have not only experienced it myself but seen many clients face this situation as well.  Although it can be easy to give helpful counsel to my clients, it is not always easy to know where to start with your own business.  For me, taking a step back and taking a new look at the foundations of my firm brought new life to us.  First, I was reminded of the principles on which I built my firm- my Core Values.  Although I had never strayed from them, revisiting them with a fresh perspective helped me to add a few and breathe new life into them.  Second, I met with my team to discuss new ideas they had.  Because I invested the time up front to hire a strong, capable team I knew they would add valuable insight to the discussion.  We were able to look at the areas in which we were less strong or losing steam and determine an action plan to "kick it up a notch." 

 

By going back to "square one" in a way, as you suggested, I was able to build upon the strong foundation I had created from the beginning and institute innovative ideas to take us past the "rut" and into a time of creative development.

Ken Schmitt

www.turningpointsearch.net