What’s really holding you back?

It’s a rare business owner who, at some point, doesn’t feel stuck.

Either you begin to experience burnout, or you aren’t reaching your goals and can’t seem to get past the income plateau you’ve found yourself on. It’s a normal part of being in business, but staying there isn’t. Successful small business owners figure out how to overcome the hurdles and continue to grow their business – and the first step is to determine what exactly is holding you back.

The following are four reasons you may be feeling stuck and not progressing in your business.

Lack of clarity

When you don’t really know what it is you want from your business, you’re experiencing a lack of clarity. Maybe you aren’t clear on who you’re meant to serve, or can’t quite envision your product funnel. Or maybe you can’t even picture your epic training course in its entirety.

These are all symptoms of a lack of clarity, and they can stop a promising business in its tracks.

If you’re suffering from a lack of clarity, take a step back and do some brainstorming (or brain dumping) to get everything out in the daylight where you can see it. This alone can help you get clear on what your next step is.

Lack of focus

If you’re clear on your goals but you’re having trouble moving forward consistently, then a lack of focus might be your trouble. You head to your office each morning with purpose, but by lunch it’s clear you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do.

You’re not a bad person, or even a poor business owner. You just have trouble focusing on the next step that needs to happen to make your dreams come true.

Try this: With your end goal in mind, brainstorm the next physical action you need to take to achieve it.

Uninspired image

When you get up in the morning and stare aimlessly at your closet are you inspired or depressed? It’s hard to have focus and clarity in your business when you lack focus and clarity in your closet. The two are usually inter-related.

Here’s the truth: most of us were not taught how to dress in an authentic manner that builds confidence and communicates success. It can be a bit complicated and time consuming to figure this part out.

Start by taking a close look at what’s inside your closet and take inventory of those things that represent your brand, make you feel confident and communicate the image you want to project. Rid yourself of the pieces that don’t quite hit the mark and replace them with items that are aligned with your business goals and intention.

In no time, you’ll find daily motivation and inspiration just in the task of getting dressed each morning.

No excitement

Bored? Lost interest in that business you once loved? This is, unfortunately, pretty common among solopreneurs. That’s why we see so many of them jumping from business to business, never spending enough time in any one endeavor to see it through to success.

Staying excited about your business starts with having a dream that keeps you going even when you’re faced with the day-to-day drudgery that every small business owner encounters. Not everything is fun when you’re running a business, but if you keep your “why” in mind, it can help you get past the dull spots.

Want to know how to easily fix all these issues (and more)? It’s a simple trick that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been using for decades: vision boards. These fun and colorful tools are often just what you need to clarify your dreams, work out your next steps and stay excited about your business.

Vision boards can be as simple as a few images clipped from a magazine and pinned to a cork board, or as complex as a framed poster with hand-lettered quotes and personal inspiration. The choice is yours. It’s completely personal, super fun, and best of all, it works.

Give a few of these ideas a try next time you’re feeling stuck in your business and contact me if you’re looking for additional support, clarity, strategy and style.

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh, a certified image professional and owner of Camas-based Evolve Image Consulting, is the expert behind the Vancouver Business Journal’s advice column: Dress Code. These columns specialize in strategies for developing a positive and professional self-image. Walsh can be reached at carol@evolvingyourimage.com.

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