After two years of a pandemic wreaking havoc on small businesses, followed by skyrocketing inflation, labor shortages, layoffs, and now a pending recession, many small business owners are beginning to feel like they should tap out, sell their company, and get a job.
Before you make a decision this drastic, you might want to consider a few things.
How To Gain Back Control
The world has changed over the last decade—not just in the past three years. A good chunk of your time is likely spent mindlessly scrolling or consuming other content, and you may find it harder than ever to focus on your business. Here are some ways to help you gain back some control.
1. Get clear again.
Do you remember why you started this business? Do you remember the differences you wanted to make when you first started, and do you still feel connected to those differences?
Reconnecting with that and with who you hope to be in the next five years can help you feel more grounded and committed to staying the course when things are hard.
2. Look at your numbers.
Before you decide your business isn’t worth keeping, act like a mad scientist and do a dive into your numbers. Get honest about your financial situation and what your desired state is.
Say you’re losing money right now, many small businesses are, what do you want the bottom line to look like? What would it take in terms of sales, marketing, and reduction of unnecessary costs to get back there? If your business has been successful in the past, chances are it can be again, but you need to look at your numbers to find the clues that will lead you back to your profits.
3. Set some boundaries.
You may need to start with you. Do you have boundaries around how much time you spend on social media? Do you have boundaries around what you will and will not accept from clients and or your team? Consider where you’ve allowed boundaries to be broken and where you need to start being clear and firm on what you will tolerate. Sometimes that means saying no to people but that’s okay, you can do hard things.
4. Redefine expectations.
Over the last few years, policies and expectations have changed with many people working from home, kids not being in school, etc. There were many months of cutting people slack because of COVID-19, and perhaps some bad behaviors have crept into your workplace.
Take stock of what you expect of people, and bit by bit, reintroduce what your company expectations are and what the individual expectations of each role include. Your employees deserve that type of clarity from you.
5. Hold a team meeting.
Last week, I hosted an all-employee meeting with my team to restate our vision and help everyone get clear on what our top priorities are right now. One of those goals is to gain efficiencies and improve productivity in our work. We met on zoom, and I sent groups of two into breakout rooms with a simple question. “If you were the CEO of this company, what would you do to improve our productivity and gain greater efficiencies for the company?” I gave them ten minutes to talk with their partner, and the group came back and shared their ideas. Collectively we voted on the best idea to start with, and those team members won a $50 gift card.
When you involve your team and ask them for their ideas, you might be surprised at how committed they are to help you steer your business in the right direction.
6. Invest in yourself.
As the leader of your company, the greatest investment you can make is the one you make in yourself. You’re the leader—you’re responsible for setting vision, strategy, and objectives for your business and team. If you’re not clear on what that is, it makes it difficult for your team to support you. If you’re not able to do this work on your own, hire a coach or advisor to help you and guide you through to the implementation stage, and help you stay accountable.
While it is great to engage your team and get their help, the ultimate vision of the company should be set by the owner. Owning a business is a big responsibility. It requires a tremendous amount of effort, but you can do this and be successful at it too.
Sometimes there are seasons in life where things are hard. But you’ve done hard things before so you can do them again. You have to choose your hard. I believe in you, don’t pull the plug too soon. You’ve worked too hard to build this business of yours.
Comment and tell me how you are staying motivated to keep working on your small business.