Help! My business is stuck in a rut

Help! My business is stuck in a rut


Dear Aunty B,

I own a publishing company and like many business owners, every December my mind turns to how I can improve my business in the new year.

The problem is, no matter how many articles I read about planning for a new year or motivating my staff, I always seem to fall straight back into the same routine and habits when January comes around as the day-to-day operations of my business take priority. Before I know it, we’re half way through another year and nothing has changed, let alone improved.

How can I get out of this rut and actually grow my business next year?




Dear David,

First of all, I have to commend you for recognising that something has to change for your business to get to the next level; so much of our time as business owners is spend working in our business that we never get a chance to work on our business.

Something that also happens when our time is taken up with the day-to-day running of a business is that as business owners, we become “managers” as opposed to “leaders”.

One of the best explanations I have seen of this predicament is from Virgin founder Richard Branson, who wrote in a recent blog post on LinkedIn about these two types of bosses.

“Management is about maintaining processes, disciplines and systems,” Branson wrote.

“Where managers keep the rules, leaders have to be willing to break them, or at least find create ways around them… Leaders must have vision, creativity, and the ability to influence others to follow and support them into uncharted and often risky territory.”

While Branson says both managerial and leadership skills are important in business, a big part of running your own business is about being a convincing leader.

Branson has two tips for working on these leadership skills and I think they are two things you should think about as we head into the Christmas break. One is passion and the other is collaboration.

Spend the next few things thinking about why you started a publishing business in the first place. Rediscover that passion and share this with your team. You’re motivation level will change and I bet the motivation level of your team will change too.

Use this to develop new methods of collaborating with your team and you’ll be setting yourself up well to tackle 2016.

Be smart,

Aunty B


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