Top 5 Tips For Pulling Your Business Out of a Rut!

Two women sitting at a table with a bunch of papers spread out. Text, "Top 5 tips for pulling your business out of a rut!"

Top 5 Tips For Pulling Your Business Out of a Rut!

Every business owner has a different idea of what a rut looks like for them. Maybe it means you’re not pulling in new clients as often as you’d like. Maybe it means you haven’t posted to social media in a while and don’t know what content to create. Maybe it means you are bored with the services you are providing but don’t want to alienate current clients. Whatever it looks like to you, being in a rut feels the same way to everyone, terrible.

It is important that you know, you are not alone.  Everyone has been there at one time or another. Sometimes a rut is not a bad thing. Sometimes it just means that your business ready to grow. Whatever it is, the first step is realizing you are in one.

Here are our top 5 tips for pulling your business out of a rut:

  1. Speak with a trusted advisor.

Being a small business owner or entrepreneur can feel isolating at times. Like you’re under all this pressure to hold everything together. It’s okay to ask for help. The key is to find someone with a similar business or business philosophy but with a different perspective than you. Someone who has fought the battles that you face now. You can take comfort in the fact that there are other people who understand what you’re going through, and who can provide tangible help and strong advice. In addition, they can look at things in different and refreshing ways. As we say here at Advokate, “You can’t taste the inside of your own mouth.”

Advokate would not be where it is today without the help of our trusted advisors at SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). We also highly recommend Wendy Waldron at WaldronWorks, who works with the Entrepreneurial Operating System and has many useful tools to share, and joining the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Business Council, which offers mentorship opportunities as well as networking. Advokate also offers one-on-one Amity Meetings, which can help revitalize your energy and create paths to where you’d like to be.

Having a trusted advisor you can turn to can also prevent your business from falling into a rut in the first place. That’s what it’s important to get counsel from someone who has already been where you are now.

Kate in her yellow coat stands with Wendy in a dark blue blazer. Both are holding their business cards and smiling.

Kate with Wendy Waldron.

2. Launch a new product or service. 

Maybe you and your team need to flex some different muscles! Get together and brainstorm some things you’ve always wanted to try or have been working on in your spare time and see what makes sense for your clients. This will not only get you thinking outside the norm it will change the content you are putting out on social media, on your website, your e-blasts, and basically, it could open up the flood gates for creativity. An Advokate example is that we were all feeling a bit bogged down by pandemic life last year and we’re talking about our lives in and out of work when we realized that our graphic designer Angie is also a super talented singer! After talking it through a bit, Advokate jingles were born! This was something we had also wanted to try and now had the perfect opportunity.

Launching a new product or service gets all members of your team involved in one or another which can also build morale a sense of camaraderie. It also shows your clients that you are innovative, creative, and always thinking of better ways to serve them.

Our Advokate 10-year anniversary video pulled on the talents of both Caitlin (video editing) and Angie (graphic design).

3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

One of the best ways to get out of your own head about the future of your business is to look back at how far you have come. Acknowledge those milestones and successes. Read through client reviews and testimonials. Review (and revise if needed) your mission statement. Remind yourself why you started this crazy adventure in the first place. Share those testimonials as graphics on social media. Take a photo that makes you happy and share your gratitude in the caption.

Take the pressure off. Taking a moment to really absorb where you are and where you’ve come from might be just the thing you need to propel yourself forward. It’s been scientifically proven that practicing gratitude improves your mental health and helps you build stronger relationships. Give it a try! 

4. Take a break.

When you’re feeling bogged down at work you tend to spend a lot more time sitting and staring at a computer screen. Enter the looming cursor of DOOM! Getting started on projects is hard and your overall productivity is about half of what it normally is. Now, these are the times that I think it is okay to take a breather and just goof off for a while. Do something you really love to do, maybe go to a movie, go for a walk or catch up with a friend for a coffee and a chat. It’s kind of like when you can’t remember something and then you take your mind off it and BAM you remember!

Maybe you’ve really been banging your head against the wall. If so, you might need more than a break…. take a vacation! Finish up your loose end projects and tell clients ahead of time that you’ll be gone. I promise, if they’re your people, they will wait for you. If you feel trapped by your business, it’s not working for you. This leads us to our final tip.

Ellie stands with arms wide open looking out over Bear Slide water, rocks, and trees on a sunny day.

Ellie when Kate and family escaped to Bear Slide in Lake Luzerne.

5. Re-evaluate your processes.

If you feel swamped for a short period of time, that can be a good thing! Congratulations, you are valued and business is taking flight! Feeling swamped for them long-term can also be a sign that things need to change. Maybe this is time for your business to level up. Think about hiring new team members that you can delegate tasks to. Maybe you work at home and it’s time to get an office. Maybe you’re spending too much time with the back-and-forth and you need to automate some things.

There are ways you can make your business work for you but make sure the processes you are implementing are actually making things easier for you and your team. Not everyone works the same. Some teams may like to utilize online platforms like Monday to organize workflows while others prefer an old-fashioned corkboard. All that matters is that it makes your work easier.

Just like there are endless reasons why you could be in a rut there are boundless options to pull yourself out!

Here are some bonus tips:

  • A full re-brand
  • Update your logo
  • Update your website
  • Join a new social media platform
  • Re-arrange your office
  • Host a (COVID safe) mixer or special event
  • Celebrate a milestone

Need help pulling out of a rut? Let’s talk about it!


Caitlin Stedman

In addition to being Advokate's Marketing & Communication Director, I own the film production company Snarky Aardvark Films, LLC, in Queensbury where I live with my dog, Vinny. Helping people succeed in a way that aligns with their values is my passion. I enjoy planning and executing anything clients may need to thrive. My work experience is varied but it all centers around community interaction and project management. I especially love Instagram!