6 Ways to Ensure Your Business Dies a Slow, Painful Death

If you surveyed a hundred business and organizational leaders you know, I’m fairly certain you’d find that none of them started their business, chose their career or launched their mission with the goal of burning out, succumbing to the daily grind, or going quietly into the night of mediocrity.

And yet many of entrepreneurs and business leaders find themselves in those places, often with no idea how they got there.

In the beginning, it was all fiery eyes and unbridled passion. Your products, your services, and your vision were going to change the world. You were chasing greatness like a greyhound chases the bait.

And then it happened – not suddenly, but over time.

The chase was longer than you had planned and resources ran low. Morale dropped. Hopes faded. And the tyranny of the urgent took precedence over mission, passion and dreams. Energy waned.

Or maybe just the opposite. Maybe you CAUGHT the rabbit. Maybe you ACHIEVED your goal. Now you’re looking at yourself in the mirror after completing your mission, wondering what the heck to do now.  

The good news is that being stuck is an illusion and failure gives us permission to start again. The fat lady is not singing yet. But she may be warming up.

If you’re ready to pull the plug on what used to be the reason you got out of bed in the morning, here are 6 ways to put yourself out of your misery.

1. Stop dreaming.

Your business was the birth of a dream. But like most living things, dreams are either growing or dying. And if you want them to grow, you must feed them.

The proverb says, “Feed what you want to live. Starve what you want to die.”

Have you gotten so bogged down by the everyday minutiae that you have no time to feed your dreams?

You must go back to your “why.” Find the napkins where you scribbled inspiration. Go back to that restaurant and recapture the magic.

Survival mode spells certain death for dreaming. Survival mode is reactive, putting out fires, just trying to stay alive. Shift back into the proactive mode that got your dream off the ground in the first place.

Feed your hopes and dreams. Starve your doubts and critics.

2. Focus on yourself.

As important as you are to the mission, you are not the hero of this story. Your CLIENT is the hero of the story.

As individuals, we are too small to be the focal point of our work. Businesses that turn inward eventually buckle under the pressure of their own weight. To keep fresh wind in your sails, you must turn your focus outward. To your client, to your audience, to the world.

3. Try to please everyone.

It’s long been said that if you try to please everyone, you will undoubtedly end up pleasing no one. And worst of all, your heart may die trying.

Zero in on your target audience. Be as specific as possible.

When businesses focus on trying to reach a certain group of people, they often find that they reach many others in the process.

4. Create a company culture of unrest.

No employee has ever walked into the office at 8 a.m. thinking, “I sure love feeling off balance and underappreciated. Nothing makes me more motivated to give my best than wondering if I’m the next one to go.”

If you are the boss or in any position of leadership, the buck stops with you. You can create an environment of encouragement, appreciation and energy. According to Andrew Chamberlain of the Harvard Business Review, “One of the most striking results we’ve found is that, across all income levels, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organization, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company.”

Did you catch that? According to their research, the most important things to employees is company culture and YOU, the boss. Do what you want with that information.

5. Aim for mediocrity.

There’s a big difference between getting it done and doing it well.

I’m guessing that back when you were excitedly scribbling ideas on your napkin in that restaurant, “cut corners” and “get away with the bare minimum” were not on your list of company values.

People will often rise to whatever standard you set for them. A business who doesn’t value excellence will attract clients and employees with similarly low standards.

6. Never make a strategy.

Passion is important, but it can only take you so far. A clear strategy must be in place to keep you moving forward on the passionless days.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the clearer your strategy, the easier it is to stay fired up about it. And passion PLUS strategy is the formula for an unstoppable force.

Leadership gets it. Employees get it. Clients get it. And those not on board will weed themselves out.

It’s impossible to build synergy around a vague goal. Mapping out your plan to achieve success and communicating that strategy clearly indicates strong leadership.

And the lack of a strategy and/or the lack of understanding by those around you could be one of the beginning of the end.

Self motivation is great. But sometimes it helps to bring in an outside perspective, an outside voice of accountability to hold you steady and push you forward. We can be that clarion voice for you.  Call us for a free strategy and development conversation. There are gems of brilliance within your grasp. Let us help you grab them. 407-563-4806.

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