Does your business run like a hamster wheel?

by April Cummins

Getting stuck in the same patterns

Your business started out slowly and then eventually built up as time went on. Now you’re finally gaining some momentum, except it’s not momentum – it’s a loop you can’t get out of; one that’s probably preventing you from truly achieving what you really want. This is what I like to call “The Hamster Wheel”…..So what is it?

The actual definition of a hamster wheel is a circular cage for a hamster or other small rodent, which rotates vertically as the animal runs at the bottom. A monotonous, repetitive, unfulfilling activity, especially one in which no progress is achieved. In business terms, a hamster wheel is a pattern most owners are stuck repeating over and over again. The issue is that most don’t even realize they’re in it. You may eventually make some progress, though it’s not consistent, nor do you have a clear idea of what generates your business. You may also not know the real reason people buy from you.

Does this sound like you?

As the business owner, you are 100% involved in all the processes of your business, even though you should have some delegates, and more importantly, mentors! If you take yourself out of the equation, your business would fall apart. It’s 100% reliable on you. -Does this type of mindset sound familiar? 

Listen, I get the hands-on business owner approach, but when you focus too much on operations and are constantly putting out fires, you’re losing the bigger picture of what your business should achieve and why you started it. I’m sure you didn’t intentionally sign up for 70-hour workweeks, unpredictable levels of cash flow and a blow to your personal health.

Take a step back

Business owners should take a step back from operational tasks and focus on business growth and establishing effective internal systems. It’s difficult to be the owner and an employee at the same time. 

When’s the last time you took a vacation or didn’t answer a work call during dinner with your family? The hamster wheel you created does that to you, and you can become so invested in the business, that your personal life takes a back seat. That’s not a sign of dedication, it’s a sign that you are worried. So much so, that you feel like you can’t afford to take a few days off because the business might go under if you’re not overseeing all the processes at all times. 

What can you do?

Let’s be honest, you can’t escape it overnight. At this moment, your business works like a machine to which you are the engine. Take away the engine, the machine stops working.

With proper strategy, systemization and mentoring, you can plan to replace the engine. In other words, you can slowly take yourself out of certain processes and create more time for yourself.  If your business is getting some extra cash flow, great! Don’t start thinking about how to expand to increase profits. Instead, start saving those funds to invest them in your personal growth.

The most successful people in the world understand the best investment you can ever make is in yourself!

The bottom line

If your business can’t run without you, there is something wrong with the structures, delegation of tasks and overall stability within your company; you may need some assistance.

It’s time to get off the hamster wheel.

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