Why did you start your business? OR  Why are you starting a business?

When we started our businesses, most of us thought we had a great product or service and believed that we could provide it to customers and in the end make a great living.  Too often, the business owner just gets by.  The reasons can be many, but during the recent great recession, many people started their businesses out of a necessity of “putting food on the table”.  Sometimes owners never get beyond that stage.  A good assessment of our business is one way to see into the future.  I’m partial to a SWOT analysis on a yearly basis. SWOT – Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats is a way of taking the personal out and looking to what worked and what didn’t.

Along with analyzing where you have been and where you are going, here are four more tips that may help you get out of your rut and are sure fire ways to have a future with your business.

  1. Avoid Negativity.  Always whining about our lot in life is like serving wine with out crackers.  Looking for the positive can sometimes be hard, but as a leader, my positivity will help others solider forward.  Positivity is infectious just like negativity.  When you have a hard time thinking of anything positive, remember you did wake up today!!!
  2. Follow your Passion.  If your business is not providing you with filling your passion bucket, you are in the wrong business or your business is on the wrong track.  Change something, change just one thing even if it is the position of your desk.  Sometimes simple changes will help remind us of our passion.
  3. Remember, good employees are hard to find, period.  Employees that work well with us in our businesses need to be appreciated.  When your turnover is high, ask “Why, Why, Why, Why, Why”.  No matter what industry your business is in, replacing employees takes a toll on everyone.  Ask past or leaving employees why they are leaving or left.  Ask current employees why they stay. Ask what would help them do their job better and then see what can be changed.  Listening and Hearing are two different aspects of the same action.
  4. Be Strong, Be Brave.  Entrepreneurship is hard, frustrating and will often challenge your every dream.  Setbacks will happen and you have no control of the economy or the government.  There is always more than one way to get the job done, be open to change.

Your path to success was started the day you opened your business.  If it isn’t currently traveling the way you thought it would, change your approach and maybe this week do a SWOT analysis and see where 2014 may lead!