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Becoming bored or sluggish in a task we once thought was wonderful is just another fact of life. It doesn't matter if you consider your job more exciting than any other job, there are times when the wonderful role because stale where it stands. Having a business become stale is a worry of all business owners and entrepreneurs just starting out. How do you keep the magic alive? Do you continue to introduce new products or mix it up with marketing? Whichever the attempt, keeping your business from becoming stale is a big part of being a solid entrepreneur.
The key to keeping business exciting, interesting and current for both the team and the customers is to continually innovate. Implementing a culture of continuous improvement drives innovation from within the team rather than a traditional ‘bottom down' approach. New products and services often come to mind when it comes to innovation, however innovating systems and processes is just as important. An improved process is often clearly visible and appreciated by those it affects, including both internal and external customers. Businesses that are seen to be improving create a sense of confidence and longevity, as well as generating feelings of loyalty amongst customers and team members. Allowing team members direct involvement in this process empowers them to improve their own working lives and fosters feelings of ownership and confidence. As Mark Twain said “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”.
Thanks to Jo Shanahan, DVE Business Solutions
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Do something different – really different
Einstein's quote is a good foundation for getting unstuck and eliminating staleness: “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.” You drive your business. If the business is stuck, then you are probably stuck personally in life, too. My best advice is to get yourself unstuck by doing something different – really different. Join a CEO club, join a leadership club, get out of the office, get out of your normal circle of business associates and friends, read different types of books, find a life coach, find a CEO coach, take a crazy out-there vacation, do something risky, do something you are afraid of, propose to a new client, propose a slightly different product, form a joint venture, but DO something. Don't just think, worry, and fret about things. Don't bet the farm, but get out and ACTUALLY TRY new things. I believe new ideas emerge when you put yourself in new situations and surround yourself with different people. You can do many of these things while you and your business continue normal daily operations. Devote an hour a day to finding the new thing.
Thanks to David Hale, DHA Group, Inc.
Change one thing every year
I am always trying to shake things up to keep my business fun for me and fresh for my clients. Every year I change one thing, one year I started doing more speaking engagements, one year I started to write more, one year I went on a “listening tour” and one year I joined a few boards. Each of these changes forced me to rethink my business is some small way and lead to some great new product offerings, clients and/or opportunities. You have to keep those synapses firing as an entrepreneur! My contact info and URL are below and head shot is attached.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls
Read, then read, then read some more
Keeping fresh is the lifeblood of a business like ours, someone who hasn't changed what they do in the last year in our industry is simply not going to keep up. With how much Google, Facebook and all the other online marketing channels change on a monthly basis reading and self educating is the name of the game. Seriously, read a half hour a day, every day. Find a few good blogs, set up a Reddit account with a nice stream of the various business sub Reddits and read read read. Also, don't overlook the comments because that's where a lot of the magic happens. It's basically the peer review section of any article.
Thanks to Max Kryzhanovskiy, MOS Creative
Fight stagnation with inspiring motivation
When you find that your business is stagnating, you can inject energy by inspiring motivation in yourself and your employees. First, understand there is no universal motivator–as a leader is part of your job to identify what motivates others. This can be as simple as asking questions and observing their behavior to see when they get excited and winter motion show. Second, turn setbacks and opportunities. Stagnation or setbacks should be seen as an opportunity to learn and you can help others identify barriers and ways to remove them. Third, help yourself and others to see possibilities through the 4Ds – discovery, dreaming, design and destiny. Fourth, set goals and celebrate accomplishments. Stagnation is a sign the company or team isn't being stretched to reach new heights. Make sure you always have a way to focus decisions and actions on reaching a goal and celebrate accomplishments along the way. Last, find the root cause. Stagnation may be caused by burnout. If you suspect this to be the case, take time to understand what's going on with an individual or team and then work with them to make a plan of action that will create positive change.
Thanks to Stephen Ladek, Better On Demand
Related Post: What Qualities Make a Leader Great
Unlocking creativity with gentle constrains
Our mission is to make presentations simple, beautiful, and fun. Like the Japanese poem that inspired our name, our free iPad app gently applies constraints to unlock creativity. Limiting the text on each slide to just one or two lines encourages you to keep your message focused. Illustrating each point with an evocative image (from our built-in keyword search, which puts millions of beautiful, high-quality Creative Commons-licensed photos at your fingertips), taps into your audience's emotions with powerful poetic imagery. And keeping formatting consistent by using one of our professionally designed layout options makes your work feel polished and cohesive. The haiku inspiration carries through to one of our classic theme options, Five Seven Five. (Below is a screenshot of the app showing the Five Seven Five theme, and here's an example of a Haiku Deck created with it.) We have even had fans make Haiku Deck haikus! But our Gallery is evidence that giving our community some rules, or best practices to apply, as well as some inspiration, leads to an outpouring of creativity and beauty. When it comes to presentations, we believe less is more, and that everybody has beautiful, poetic stories waiting to be set free!
Thanks to Adam Tratt, Haiku Deck
Integrating customer feedback into our business
To keep MyCorporation from getting stale, I make a point to remind our team to listen to customers and consistently integrate their feedback into our business. We solicit feedback and ideas for improvement, new product lines and constantly communicate with our customers. By paying special attention to customer feedback, we are always listening and growing in order to make sure our customers have the best possible experience. We also try to stay current with social media in addition to updating our website with current information and topics. The key to keep from getting stale is to constantly adapt, but doing so while maintaining your identity.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com
Constant metrics-based optimization
When business owners rely on guesswork to improve, they can end up frustrated and broke, and when they don't see consistent improvements, they can end up bored and in a rut. At Teach Yourself the SAT, we switch to a new “metric that matters” every two weeks to continually optimize what we view as the most important part of our process. By treating our company's improvement like a game, we can always focus on a fresh new element of the business and work like crazy to optimize it, and because we're using data rather than hunches, we can actually see the meter move in the right direction. For instance, our sole goal for one two-week stretch was to optimize leads captured / visits to the site. By offering free literature to both parents and students, we were able to attain an almost 38% visits/leads ration, consistently using AB testing, different images, layouts, copywriting, and more to enhance our user experience. Next up, we optimized leads captured / direct communications with our leads. By tinkering with email messaging, timing, and feedback mechanisms, we were able to communicate with almost 40% of our email leads, which has been HUGE for customer feedback on our product and our marketing. Next up, we're focusing on purchases / lead captured, which is of course our biggest metric to tackle. When entrepreneurs can use data-driven initiatives and switch them up to keep things fresh, they'll see huge improvements in their companies and always have something new and exciting to focus on.
Thanks to Anthony-James Green, Teach Yourself the SAT
By constantly learning
I find that whenever my energy is waning, and I feel like I'm struggling to get things done in my business, it's often because my creative juices haven't been replenished in a while. And, that's precisely when I hop over to my favorite marketing blog, read another chapter in the latest social media book, or flip through Yoga Journal. By giving myself the permission to get out of my own head, and soak up some new information, I not only recharge my batteries but also get great new ideas for CALM biz, through which I teach business and marketing practices to yoga teachers. The next time you feel like you're just “going through the motions” in your business, give yourself permission to learn something new about your industry — I guarantee you'll return to work fired up and with some great new ideas!
Thanks to Cailen Ascher, CALM biz
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Anticipating the needs of your customers
I started my company, Max P. Productions, after I published my first book, Max the Shelter Dog. It was in response to customer demand from children, parents, and teachers to offer a sequel to Max's journey that I went on to write the 3-book series. Now, instead of waiting for my customers to ask me for more, I learned to anticipate their needs. Running a business is very fluid and so we keep our company from becoming stale by adding new product and by fine tuning our existing ones. One way in which we accomplish this is by creating an accessory product that enhances an existing product, making it new in the eyes of current customers as well as intriguing for those customers yet to purchase. For example, we created two supplemental books to our children's title “Max Appreciates.” These two additional books are designed to help the children implement what they learned in the main book. By offering these two books we are keeping our concepts alive and fresh in our customer's minds and they will inherently look for more on the same topic. That is one of the ways in which we keep our company from going stale.
Thanks to Nicole Rivera, Max P. Productions