If you exercise regularly, you know that horrible feeling when you haven’t been in class or the gym in a while and you feel like all your muscle memory has drained away. Your exercise takes more out of you, and you end up terribly sore. You curse yourself for not having kept up your physical routine.
It’s the same with your business. Get a little lazy and you have that much more effort to make to catch up with the competition. Here’s how you need to continually work to ensure your business muscles continue to grow over time.
#1. Hit the Gym Even When You Think You Look Good
“Eh. I worked out yesterday. I think today I’ll just lay on the couch and eat ice cream.” (You know you’ve thought this.)
The same attitude in your marketing efforts will have similar results: flabby sales and lackluster growth. Even if you have tons of customers right now, you still need to market because, as I always say, you market today for tomorrow’s customers. What’s been working to attract new business may suddenly cease to work tomorrow. So you can never have too much (or even enough) marketing. Keep at it, just like you keep at whittling down your belly fat. Only maybe with better results.
Your Exercise Assignment: If you keep putting off marketing tasks because you don’t have time, hire someone — even part-time — to get it done.
#2. Step on the Scale Once in a While
I hear you ladies groaning. But bear with me. Yes, we hate getting on the scale, deathly afraid of what it will tell us about our midweek beer binge, but doing so is actually informative. It tells us when we need to back away from the junk food and amp up our exercise routine.
With your business, the scale is a metaphor for simply checking in and measuring your company’s success. How have you done over the past few months? Year? Five years? What areas of your business are weak and in need of a little TLC? What are you totally rocking that you can do more of? This reality check keeps you grounded.
It’s also a good idea to reexamine your business goals from time to time because, believe me, they will change. What you hoped to achieve two years ago may make you laugh now (“Why did I ever want that?”). So ensure that either you update your goals to better reflect the direction you’re taking your company or that you are working toward the goals that still make sense.
Your Exercise Assignment: Put it on your calendar to really dive into assessing your business every quarter. Then do it.
#3. Check Out Everyone Else
While it may seem like it’s a bad idea to compare what you can benchpress to what the giant next to you can handle, it can at least motivate you to work harder. The same goes for your business. What’s your competition up to? What innovations are they doing that might threaten your business? What weaknesses do they have that you could leverage to your benefit?
When you know what your competitors are up to, you can ensure that you continually step up your game to stay relevant.
Your Exercise Assignment: Spend some time each quarter reviewing your competition’s websites, blogs, social media, and advertising efforts so that you know what they are doing to attract customers.
#4. Assess What Your Body Wants
When I’ve been traveling or working nonstop, my body often cries out, “Yoga!”
Getting on the mat and stretching out the kinks that stress has caused is the best way for me to get back to my best self.
What does your business want right now? Does it want to stretch out and grow? Or maybe it’s happy with just continuing to do what it’s done well. Listen to what your business tells you rather than trying to force it to go in a direction that it doesn’t want to.
Your Exercise Assignment: Look at the last few years of your business and notice patterns. Have you seen a steady increase in sales and customers? If so, maybe it’s time to push just a little bit harder to grow. Or has business slowed down due to industry or economic issues? In this case, it may be better to pull in and focus on sustaining business right now.
#5. Do What Feels Good (But Also Maybe What Doesn’t)
I love Pilates, Barre, and Yoga. So I do a lot of those. I don’t, however, love running. But sometimes it’s a necessary evil to help me reach my fitness goals.
You probably stay in the same rut when it comes to the marketing or business strategies you rely on. You know what works, and so you keep doing it. But sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to get better results. So try something new. Don’t be afraid.
Your Exercise Assignment: Think about that one tactic or strategy that you always veer around. Why are you resistant to it? Is it because you simply don’t know enough about it, or that you fear it will be time-consuming to figure out? Acknowledge these concerns, then dive in and give it a try anyway.
#6. Get Into a Routine
The more regular your business patterns, the easier your schedule is to manage, and the more you can focus on growth. It’s the same with exercise. If I know I have Barre class on Tuesdays, I can plan the rest of my exercise for the week around that.
Rather than checking email constantly and deciding what to work on next willy-nilly, have a routine. Maybe you check email first thing in the morning, and then tackle your biggest priority project next. The afternoon you reserve to deal with client requests. Then on Fridays, you spend half a day brainstorming your next strategic move.
Your Exercise Assignment: Map out your schedule on your digital calendar. That way, you get reminded when you need to switch gears, and doing so will keep you accountable and ensure you never miss a task.
Keep working hard to get that business you always dreamed of. Just like getting ready for bikini season, preparing for business growth takes hard work, and it never really ends. Accept that, and you’ll be successful.