Number Muncher hits small business wallEvery runner on the planet knows what it’s like to “hit the wall”. Your legs are filled with lead. Your lungs have shrunk to the size of a pea. Visions of cold water dance in your head. All you want to do is just give up.

Every small business owner, entrepreneur, and freelancer hits the wall.

Your new business leads have dried up like the Sahara Desert. Your cash is flowing out, not in. The grass must be greener somewhere, anywhere else. All you want to do is just give up.

Experienced runners know, if you can just hang in a little longer it does get easier.

Here’s how to tear down, scale, or break through that small business wall.

As a long distance runner I’ve learned various tricks and techniques to push through the wall. These lessons translate readily to small business.

Heading Uphill? Focus on your next step, not the summit

When I was on the Cross Country team back in high school there was one summer workout we all dreaded. Running up the local ski hill. The hill was for DOWNHILL skiing. We ran UP it.

The first time I thought it was a joke – they couldn’t really expect us to run up that thing!

They did, and while it still surprises me, I made it to the top courtesy of the assistant coach’s prodding and advice.

Don’t look up. Look straight ahead. Focus on your next step. You can do it. Just a little farther. Don’t look up! Just one more step.

Instead of focusing on this seemingly impossible goal I just thought about the next step. Instead of trying to find the energy to tackle an entire mountain, I focused on tackling just one step.

With each step I became more invested in getting to the top.

If you feel overwhelmed in your business, intimidated by your goals, or just plain tired, focus solely on the next step. What one thing could you do today to keep your momentum? Ask only that of yourself today.

Tomorrow repeat the process. And the day after. With just one more step you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Hydrate and Replenish Your Brain to Unlock Business Solutions

Creativity, brainstorming, and innovative problem-solving are skills that require nurturing and at times a jump-start. Your brain needs creative juice like your body needs water.

Here are a few great tools that can be your creative catalyst.

Caution: Objects May Appear Greener Than They Are

Sometimes the temptation to give up disguises itself as the “rational mind” or a “window of opportunity”. It’s easy to be fooled. Like the mirage of an oasis in the desert, you want to believe the grass is greener elsewhere.

The “rational mind” may argue a salaried position, working as an employee for a large company, would be more secure. It’s not, especially in today’s environment with persistently high unemployment.

Being an employee rather than an entrepreneur may be the right choice for you, but don’t kid yourself that it offers a panacea of safety.

Ever thought you just need a new product offering, new service or new marketing approach to (magically) fix your business? The temptation to keep trying new things, new ideas and new approaches instead of staying the course is strong. Who doesn’t like shiny and new?

You can’t get to the top of a mountain if you keep changing the goal. Two steps up Mountain A plus five steps up Mountain B plus 3 steps up Mountain C will NOT get you to the top of Mountain D.

Final Thoughts

Starting and running your own business, setting your own course, and blazing your own trail is work. Hard work. You will hit the wall. You must overcome it.

What are some business walls you’ve encountered? How have you overcome them?