Growth is a sign of life. If something is not growing, chances are that it is shrinking. When you started your business, I am sure you had plans for it to grow. Have you taken time lately to access whether growth is happening as you envisaged it? It takes courage to admit that something is not quite what it should be. It takes courage to admit that perhaps your business is in a rut. You can’t really do something about a problem if you don’t know that that problem even exists. Many times when we are stuck we are the last people to admit it because we stick our noses in sand and pretend everything is all right.

Its important to understand that growth is not just about how much money your business is turning over although that is certainly one way of measuring growth. Other ways of accessing growth could include how many more people you are impacting with your product or service, the increase in the quality of your product or service, and then there is your own personal growth as a business owner. Are you able to handle more risk? Make better decisions? Spot opportunities quicker? Deal with challenges more appropriately? These are all questions you be exploring as you try to gauge whether your business is growing or not.
Some signs that you may be stuck in a rut:
1. You don’t have any new ideas about growing or running your business
2. You lack motivation and what started off as something you love is now a chore
3. You cant remember the last time you took time to plan strategies to grow your business
4. There hasn’t been any increase in your income in the last 3 years (you need to allow for greater expenditure that has arisen as a result of expansion in some area of your business)
5. You haven’t had a decent time off or holiday in the last 2 years
6. You haven’t spotted or explored new opportunities in the last 12 months
7. Your client base has either reduced or remained the same in the last 2 years
8. You have not learned any new skill or improved one you already have in the last 12 months
9. You have no vision about where you would like your business to be in 5-10 years
10. You are stressed, burnt out and just surviving from day to day instead of thriving and enjoying being alive.

If 5 or more of these describe you, then your business is definitely in a rut and you need to do something about it. Admitting the reality of where you are is the first step to getting out of the rut. Next is realizing that nothing will happen unless you take some action. This action will often involve change. Human beings are habit-forming creatures. The human brain is wired in such a way that pathways are created when we learn new behavior. These pathways are such that when we have carried out the new actions for a sufficient length of time, the behavior gets embedded and we can the carry out the same actions almost without thinking. For example when you first learn how to drive, you have to think, ignition, gear, accelerate. But after a while, you can drive without giving much thought to this sequence of actions.

Now this is often a good thing, because it means you spend less time doing things that you have become used to. That is why practice makes perfect. However, it can also be a negative thing, especially if the learned behavior is not helpful. We call these bad habits. Or in coaching language, limiting beliefs. It takes courage to let go of the old in order to embrace the new. Everything within you screams in protest because the old is familiar and comforting, while the new can be scary because it is such unfamiliar territory and the outcome cannot be guaranteed.

There is no easy way or short cut to change that works consistently. Like bungee jumping, you simply have to let go of the anchor you are clutching to and take the plunge. Once the initial fear is eliminated, along comes the excitement. And so, one way of dealing with fear of change is to take action. Take some time to think about where you are right now and where you would like your business to be in say six months time.

Just as you would do when you set out on a journey to somewhere you have never been before, map out a plan for your journey. Get yourself a business coach or mentor. They will help you with blind spots and also keep you accountable for the goals you decide to set for yourself. Grow yourself through personal development. When you grow ,your business inevitably grows with you. Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill or hone one you already have.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Alan Watts