Starting a business is great. All the euphoria of getting your idea off the ground and rolling is wonderful. Once it’s up and running, the hard work starts; keeping it running. Sometimes you will feel like you’re stuck in one place and not much is happening. We will address 5 common reasons people feel stuck and how to tackle them.
Infomania is sometimes referred to as the paralysis of analysis. This is a situation where you have too much information and are really stuck on how to act on the information. This happens quite easily with running a business. You discover the wonderful world of marketing and all its intricacies. So you take a deep dive into marketing and learn so much. Then you get an introduction to the online world with websites, digital marketing, social media and more. At the same time, there’s a lot to learn about managing your business’s finances. Many will relate to the feeling of having a lot of information, perhaps too much. Of course, the acquisition of information makes us better business owners but without action, it counts for nought. To get out of this trap, you need to create an action plan which integrates information into action.
The knowing-doing paradox
So you know all these things you should do, but getting around to doing them is difficult. You want to start a loyalty program but must sort out your branding. You want to manage the business cash flow, but you have to pour money into marketing. And so on. The knowing-doing paradox catches a lot of people off guard. The key to success is execution. So how do we bridge the gap between what we know we should do and what we do? Here you have to take things one at a time. This is not to say you cannot implement multiple ideas at once but implementing them one at a time gives you a chance to achieve mastery. High performers in any field are masters of fundamentals.
Another reason we often get stuck, which relates closely to the previous reason given, is the attempt to multitask. Multi-tasking rose to popularity in a world obsessed with productivity and efficiency. Before we can talk about efficiency, we need to achieve effectiveness – being good at achieving our set out goals. Then we can focus on being efficient at achieving those goals. The problem with trying to multitask is that all we are really doing is switching between various tasks. The harder it is to switch between the tasks, the less productive we actually are, thanks to multitasking. The cure for multi-tasking is, of course, single-tasking or single handling. Work on one thing, complete it and move on to the next.
Launching a business comes with an aforementioned feeling of euphoria. Hormones known as endorphins are released by the body when we achieve something and they give that warm, happy feeling. However, what we find in practice is that wins, real wins, come few and far between. Your first, tenth and hundredth customers are all great achievements, but you may find the time between such achievements grows. All the while, you crave the feeling of hitting another milestone. This is achievement addiction. The cure for this affliction is understanding that there will be terribly quiet times when it feels like it is happening, yet a lot is going on. I hope we are all familiar with the concept of boiling water. You will hear sounds as the water heats up and then it is quiet just before it reaches a boil. Accepting these seemingly quiet periods as part of the process is important.
Roughly all the productivity talk of today bashes your phone but do you know why? Earlier I mentioned endorphins which release the feeling of achievement. There is another hormone that is more short-acting called dopamine. Dopamine is released in situations where the mind recognises we are interacting with the outside world when we feel “alive”. Your phone is designed to make you feel this way through the lights, sounds and feeling of vibrations we get when a notification hits our phone. Not every notification is a sign that we are alive, of course. There are those annoying spam-like SMSes, notifications about nothing and so on. We need to tone down our phones and devices to notify us of important things. Employing things like a do not disturb mode and filtering notifications helps in this regard.
If you relate to any of these reasons, the good news is you’re likely not stuck. It just feels that way. Understanding the source of our feelings is halfway to remedying them.