Hamster Wheel or Business?

Hamster Wheel or Business?

Working Hard? Getting nowhere fast?

Get off the hamster wheel you call your business.

As small business coaches and skills trainers we get to see and work with lots of individuals across a wide range of small business disciplines – trades people, retailers, business service providers, accommodation venues, hospitality/food outlets and health practitioners. Surprisingly (or sadly – I’m not sure which) more than 80% of the almost 1000 small businesses we have worked with shared one main thing in common – they all felt like a hamster on a wheel working harder, running faster and getting nowhere fast.

When we delved deeper into their reasons for feeling this way we found 2 main issues that over 90% of them also commonly shared…

1 – they either had no clear direction for their activity or, through their busyness, had lost sight of their original goals and/or direction

2 – they also had no real understanding of what was happening in their business OR what to specifically work on to get the results they required – typically they shared the belief that if they worked ‘harder’ things would improve.

No wonder they felt like hamsters on a wheel – the faster they ran, the more energy they expended yet the results they were chasing always seemed to move further out of reach. So they run faster – more hours, more stress, less results – so run faster, create more stress and keep repeating these futile exercises until something forces them to STOP.

When finding and dealing with one of these clients the first thing we get them to do is stop, and boy does this freak a lot of them out particularly as many have been on the treadmill for so long without vacations or even short breaks that the whole idea of stopping brings up all their Chicken Little fears about the sky (or in this case the business) coming crashing down on their heads. Yet stopping is the ONLY way to break this vicious cycle.

I remember reading about Hugh Hefner riding on a bullet train in Japan and realising his whole life was like that – travelling at 200 kph and seeing (let alone enjoying) very little of what was going on around him. So he stopped, got off at the next station and started to look at the scenery. Once this metaphor hit home he made a conscious decision to slow down his life and I believe, continues to do so to this very day.

So, and as stated before, our first action when working with a new client is to get them to stop and step off their own personally created hamster wheel so we can undertake a thorough a reality check on both the business and the business owner to determine what’s REALLY going on in their minds and hearts and what hidden drivers are keeping their ‘have to work harder ethos’ in place.

Once we have some clarity about these drivers and patterns, we can start delving into the business owners desires to either find or reconnect them with the underlying purpose and reasons for those desires. For some it is about getting (or regaining) some clarity about why they are in their business, for others it is about what they would like to achieve from being in their business but for most it usually comes down to how they can connect the business with the lifestyle they (and their family) require to lead a more balanced and fulfilling life.

It’s been both rewarding and amazing to watch the changes in the faces of those who start to see a positive future – some for the first time and others to see it again. We both see and hear a sense of inner excitement – the passion returns to their face and voice as they talk about the picture emerging from faded dreams. Previously limiting beliefs and negative self talk seems to melt away like snow in spring and their whole world takes on a fresh, clear and positively charged view. Many describe it as coming out of a fog or as a huge weight being lifted off their shoulders.

Once we reach this point of reconnection to the possibility of a positive future, we start on the process of creating (or re-creating) the business into the shape and style required to meet the individual business owners new or renewed view of how his/her life is to be.

In its simplest form, we help clients know where they are, know where they are going, decide their income (business AND lifestyle financial needs), tell the world (assist with developing marketing and promotions appropriate to each clients industry/marketplace) and manage for success using management tools suited to client environments and skills.

Once clients work with and embrace the steps above, they quickly turn their busyness into the business of their dreams, the business that supports their life’s desires, provides the work/life balance appropriate to their needs and provides all the satisfactions that come from doing and enjoying what they love the most.

Article written by Anthony M Turner – Small Business Coach/Mentor, Speaker, Author and the founder of Transform Your Business.

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This Article was sourced from Transform Your Businessa specialist coaching, mentoring, consulting and skills training services for small and micro businesses