Launching and running your own business is an amazing adventure. The sense of accomplishment that accompanies building a profitable enterprise from the ground up is second-to-none.
But for each entrepreneur, there comes a point when you simply get off track. Your energy may wane or you become too focused in one area, typically to the detriment of many others including your employees.
Here’s how to refocus, get back in the groove, and live the dream once again.
The reality of entrepreneurship
At some point in nearly everyone’s lives, dreams of business ownership take hold. For a multitude of reasons, those dreams may never come to fruition for many. For others, those roots take hold and absolutely nothing will shake them loose.
I land squarely in the latter group, fortunate to have honed my background and skillset into a thriving business. It certainly hasn’t been an easy road or an overnight success. There have been layers upon layers of work completed to get to this point, and even now, there are always another 100 layers stealthily creeping up on me.
Despite all those obstacles though, I, like most entrepreneurs, have happily carried that stress. I simply considered it part and parcel of entrepreneurship.
We recently went through another booming growth phase at Restaurant HR Group. I’ve been busy meeting with new clients and ensuring continued support for our existing ones. And up until just a few weeks ago, I thought all was well.
In actuality, my stress had begun to trickle down, infiltrating the company culture we’ve worked so hard to develop and sustain. In my busyness with growing the company, I had inadvertently neglected my team.
Sure, we had managed to get together for a few dinners and fundraisers. But that wasn’t enough. My team needed more concrete support, and it was my job to ensure they had it. A couple fun, extracurricular activities just weren’t cutting it.
Pulling it together
While the team was thrilled with our expansion efforts and the future trajectory of the company, something was missing for them. After having one-on-one meetings with each employee, my eyes were permanently opened. Turns out, my team was exhausted, confused, stressed, and undertrained.
During my time focusing on the growth of the company, I had spent less and less time making sure that we had the right foundation in place to handle that growth — things like systems, processes, and up-to-date training.
It’s amazing how quickly “living the dream” can turn into a nightmare. When you’re too heavily focused in one area, everything (and I mean everything) can rapidly go south. Your team may become disengaged as a result, completely losing their sense of direction and purpose. And don’t think that clients aren’t affected either. They feel the stress and disorganization, which may prompt them to go looking for greener pastures. Talk about a way to undo all of your growth efforts.
As the infamous Dr. Phil saying goes, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” I now had the knowledge, and swift and significant change was inevitable.
While that last sentence sounded a bit ominous, the changes I’ve implemented have been nothing but positive. No one was reprimanded or fired. That’s not how we handle things around here, and after all, it was really my fault anyways.
Here is a quick snapshot of how we’ve gotten the business and team back on track and working in unison:
Weekly in-person check-ins — As our schedules got more cramped, our usual weekly team meeting had a tendency to fall by the wayside. Instead, we relied heavily on the convenience of email and texts. But meeting in-person offers so much more — a chance for all of us to unload, chat about issues, and really feel the synergy that comes from working towards a common goal.
Redefine goals — When our workloads increased, the ultimate end goals became harder to identify. Caught up in the busyness and focused on imminent deadlines, our vision clouded. This has been a great opportunity to redefine our goals, both short- and long-term.
Streamline systems and processes — We’re experts at putting systems and processes into place for our clients. But in doing so, we lost traction with our own. We found we could streamline, or even eliminate, certain systems that we had in place. Together, we took a hard look at what everyone was doing and found that some of our systems didn’t bring as much value as we originally thought.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — owning and growing a business is HARD! I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but man oh man, it certainly comes with its own set of unique challenges along the way.
The takeaway here though is that when you start to sense your business and team going wayward, take action immediately. Talk to everyone, pool ideas, develop a plan, and vow to get back on track…ASAP.
Has your business or team gotten off track? How did you pull everyone back together? Please tell me in the comments below!