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5 Simple Steps to Get Out of an Entrepreneurial Rut

It happens to the best of us. One day, out of the blue, things start to turn in your business. It could be that you feel sluggish and don’t want to make sales calls, or maybe you’re dealing with the “Monday blahs.” Whatever the case may be, you suddenly find yourself off track and in a rut.

If you find yourself in a rut, don’t panic or worry. Most of them end as quickly as they started. My advice is to follow five simple steps that will pull you out of the hole and get you back on track in no time.

1. Step Away from the Computer – Sometimes the biggest mistake people make, when in a rut, is to fight through it. They continue to answer emails, write proposals and go about their business as if nothing was wrong. If your head is not 100% ready to do business, then step away from the computer. Take time to clear your head and reset your battery. It could be as simple as walking around the block or it might entail an hour or so of strenuous exercise.

The key is to stop working inefficiently.

 2. Identify Your Roadblocks – Once you’ve cleared the cobwebs from your head, write down the things or areas that are keeping you from success. Are they financial concerns, sales, or customer service issues? Is the problem within the company or are there external forces putting pressure on you?

The key is to identify the enemy to your success so you can deal with it correctly.

3. List Possible Solutions – After identifying your roadblocks, the next step is to list all the different ways you can get past them. For example, if the big hurdle is related to finances, can you get a loan to help your business through difficult times? Another option is to address your accounts receivable. The roadblock may disappear by doing a better job of staying on top of the time it takes customers to pay you. If the problem is with sales, set up a meeting with your sales team to review any changes that have taken place recently that would cause your company to lose sales. Is a competitor offering a new product or better pricing? Have you recently received bad reviews online?

The key is to make sure you identify ALL possible solutions before selecting the best one for your business. Otherwise, you might not get out of the rut you are in anytime soon.

4. Delegate if Necessary – Sometimes it’s just easier to hand over responsibility to someone who can get the job done now. I liken this to calling in the professionals or experts when you can’t fix something on your own. If your car gets a flat tire on a highway, and you’re going to a business meeting, call AAA and have them change the tire for you. It is better to delegate fixing the flat tire, and stay focused on your meeting. Besides, that’s one of the main reasons you have AAA—so they can help you when you are in a rut. It’s the same reason you hire employees with certain skill sets. Give them the opportunity to show you why you hired them in the first place.

The key is to find the right help, when necessary, if you’re stuck in a rut. Don’t try and fix everything yourself. In some instances, you may make matters worse.

5. Review Your Results – Once you and your business are back on track, take some time to figure out how you fell into the hole. Why did it happen? More importantly, how can you avoid it in the future?

The key is to learn from your mistakes, and don’t make the same mistake twice.

When you fall into a rut, step away from the computer, identify your roadblocks, list possible solutions, delegate if necessary, and do everything you can to get through it stronger and smarter than you were before you fell into the hole. Everyone falls down; not everyone benefits from the fall. Don’t let that happen to you or your business.




Brian Moran

Brian Moran

Contributor at Fundera
As the founder and CEO of Brian Moran & Associates, Brian helps entrepreneurs run better businesses. He was formerly the executive director at The Wall Street Journal, overseeing the financial and small business markets across the WSJ franchise. From 2002 to 2010, Brian ran Veracle Media and Moran Media Group, content companies in the SMB market.
Brian Moran