When you founded your startup, you were brimming with business ideas, excitement and determination to succeed. However, somewhere along the way, you fell out of love with your company. Maybe it’s not what you expected, your enthusiasm has dwindled, or you’re facing a rough case of founder burnout. The good news is: it’s not too late! You can still turn your startup business around and fall in love with it again, and here’s how.
Seek Out Some Expert Advice
Can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who’s been in the exact same position as you’re in now to see how they survived and made it out the other side unscathed. If you have some startup friends with more experienced than you, or have been running their company for a while, it’s very likely that they’ll have experienced exactly what you’re feeling right now. Ask them how they overcame their own startup struggles and fell back in love with their businesses.
If you’re a small business in the UK, gov.uk have compiled a list of fantastic resources you can use to get support and advice for growing your startup. With networks, forums and even advice on where to find a mentor, there’s a treasure trove of tools for gaining that expert advice.
Stop Saying Yes
You’re the type of person who wants to make everyone happy, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. Unless you’ve got a business to run. If you’re starting to get overwhelmed, it might be time to start saying no. Come up with a list of the tasks you either hate doing or just don’t have the time to do and think of ways you wouldn’t need to do them anymore (i.e. delegate!).
For example, if you’re manning your website’s blog and that’s cutting into your project work or weekly finances, maybe it’s time to hire a marketer or copywriter.
Upskill Yourself and Your Colleagues
If you’re losing sleep over your business, it could be because you need to polish up your entrepreneurial skills. To maintain your business’ success, you’ve got to also maintain your skills! Maybe you’re unconfident and find talking in front of large groups in presentations and at events
uncomfortable completely terrifying. Or maybe you can’t seem to connect properly with your target audience because your SEO skills leave much to be desired.
Whatever skills you need to develop, and whatever stage of your business you’re in, from just starting out, to serial entrepreneur, check out this list of effective, free online courses – there’s sure to be something to suit you or your colleagues!
Unplug Your Laptop
Founder burnout is real and it’s a big deal. If you’re going on holiday with your partner and kids and taking your laptop or phone with you to do work while you’re away, this is probably your biggest problem. When you’re worn out, it’s hard to enjoy what you’re doing, and you’re more likely to make mistakes, which won’t help the situation
Find a way to leave work at the office – or at least at home – even if that means delegating work to other members of the team while you’re away. The occasional digital detox will only do you good.
Hire a Business Coach
Sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees – you’re so focused on the details (trees) that you’re forgetting, or struggling to see, the big picture (the wood); you’ve lost sight of your initial goals. In situations like this, you need to find a clear perspective. This is where a business coach comes in.
A business coach is an outsider, meaning that they aren’t as caught up in the nitty-gritty details as you so they can offer a clear, objective approach to your business. From helping develop your leadership skills to advice on how to minimise common startup mistakes, having an experienced business expert on your side can really give you the boost you need to turn things around for you and your business. A bit like how a relationship counsellor can help save your relationship with your partner, a business coach can help save your relationship with your business! Here are our top three reasons why every entrepreneur needs a business coach.
Go with the Flow
You founded your startup business because you were (and probably still are) passionate about solving a problem in the world. So, what do you do if that problem isn’t quite what you thought it was? You need to adapt your business to suit the real needs of your target audience. We’re not saying to completely change your business idea – you just need to keep tweaking it until it becomes what you want.
From changing customer needs, up-and-coming competitors and new technology, as a founder of a business, you need to be ready and willing to adapt your business to change. Ever heard the saying ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’? Closely monitor what your competitors are doing to stay ahead of the game. You should also conduct some market research to really determine what it is your customers want from you.
Do a Little Self Discovery
If you’re starting to feel like you’re not the one in control of your business, maybe it’s time to take back the reins. You can start this process by asking yourself some key questions, like how did you end up running a business? If you could do it all over again, what would you change? What was the last project you were truly excited about?
These questions help you focus more on what’s causing the ill-feeling towards your startup and help give you back control over those feelings with actionable insights.
Think About the Positives
It might feel like a desperate situation, but there are plenty of ways running your own business has helped you learn and grow as a business. You’ve shown that you’re not afraid to leave your comfort zone, great at leading a team, marketing a product, showing passion for your cause.
Even if you decide running a business isn’t for you, these are all great skills and abilities you can take with you on the next part of your life’s journey. Get a piece of paper and make a list of all the good things that have come from running your own business, such as learnings, and think of ways you’ll be able to apply this in the future.
Consider a Career Change
If the above options aren’t enough, maybe it’s time to make an even bigger change. Yup, we’re talking about your exit strategy. If you were to stop what you were doing now and start your dream job, what would it be? Bear in mind that this change might mean taking a pay cut – but do all those nice things you buy really bring your happiness? Weigh up the pros and cons, and remember: there’s always the option to leave.
So, whatever issues your startup business is currently facing, have confidence that it’s not too late to turn it around! From getting some outsider perspective to making some small changes around the workplace, little adjustments can help your startup evolve into something you love again. If you still feel like you’re in a bit of a business slump, check out this great advice on how to break out of your rut.