Holly Howard runs Ask Holly How, a small business consulting company based out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn that works with a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to retail to art studios and pretty much everything in between. Her clients report increased income and profit, decreased expenses and a significantly better quality of life. Holly heads up the Small Business Book Club at McNally Jackson Books.
Want valuable insight into how to grow your business? Holly hosts FREE 30 minute strategy sessions at The Yard in Williamsburg. Email her to set up a time firstname.lastname@example.org or to ask a question for the next Ask Holly How.
I’m feeling completely uninspired by my business. I was really excited to dive in, but over the past year, my enthusiasm has begun to wane. I knew it was going to be hard work, and I’m willing to put in the effort, but I just feel like all of my inspiration has dried up, and it’s not as exciting as I thought it would be.
Any advice on how I can pull myself out of this? I think it’s really beginning to impact employee morale and my ability to grow the business. Things feel stagnant around here, and I know something needs to change, but I just don’t know what to do.
Down and out
Dear Down and out,
I know just how you feel! Everything new is exciting, and we’re only successful when we learn to maintain that excitement for the lifetime of our business. I’ve seen too many owners overlook the importance of staying inspired, and the results are lackluster growth, high employee turnover and overall dissatisfaction in their business.
There’s so much you can do to avoid this pitfall. As the leader, it’s a vital part of your job to make sure that not only you stay inspired, but that you inspire your employees and customers as well. It’s your responsibility to fuel your own fire. Take responsibility and take action to turn things around.
First figure out what inspires you. Everyone is different. Don’t get caught up in thinking about what you think you should find inspiring or motivating. If it’s not authentic, people will see right through it, and nobody will be moved by your efforts. Seek out personal sources of inspiration. Get creative and remember that inspiration can come from anywhere; it’s up to you to assign it meaning. Maybe it’s a great story, a great work of art, a walk in the park, a film, a colleague. There’s inspiration all around you if you truly seek it out.
Then incorporate it into your workday every day. You must see this as a priority in your daily schedule, and you must commit to it. You’re probably thinking that with everything else that’s on your plate it seems impossible, but I’m sure you can find at least 10 minutes a day to focus on something that inspires you. When you prioritize your own needs first, your business will begin to change.
Remember that when we run a small business, it is often an extension of who we are. If you’re not prioritizing your own inspiration first, it’s likely that you’ll build a very uninspired and lackluster business. And, in today’s market, nobody can afford to make that mistake. Start small and take action today. If you’re consistent, you’ll see a shift in no time.