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Things Gone Stale? 20 Surefire Ways To Freshen Things Up In 2020

‘Same old work, different decade’…

…is not the attitude you want to have going into 2020. 

We can get so bogged down by doing the work and fulfilling client requests that it’s easy to forget to take a step back every now and then to gauge whether you’re still doing what’s right for you and by the business. Regain control and get back that same sense of enthusiasm you had when you started out.


Five signs that things have gone stale 

  1. You’ve forgotten why you’re doing it. 
  2. You don’t feel valued. 
  3. You’re struggling to get motivated. 
  4. You’re neglecting your brand. 
  5. The Sunday blues.

“If you start getting the Sunday blues it’s a sure sign that things have gone stale in your business.”

Samantha Dawkins, Owner at Koala VA

If any of these sound familiar it’s time to rekindle that spark and fall in love with your business all over again.


20 ways to freshen things up in 2020 


1. Give yourself a break 

Running your own business is no mean feat. It’s hard to ever switch off knowing that the buck always stops with you. But you’ll fizzle out if you don’t get enough fresh air. Get outside. Reevaluate your work-life balance. Have a holiday or take a long drive to give yourself the space you need to revive and reflect. 


2. Focus 

Sometimes the flexibility of working for yourself means that you can allow too many distractions in or try to take on too many things at once. Do your business justice by giving it the attention that it deserves. Play to your strengths, refine your offering and build a really good reputation. 


3. Go back to the dream 

When did you love your business the most and why did you start?

“Goals are part of it, but the dream is why you do it and why you will rise above the staleness and negativity. The dream gives us the ability to overcome obstacles and push through the endless and often infuriating preparation to achieve the goals we set. If you go back to your dream or the reason why you started what you do, you will find a way to reinstate motivation and break through the barriers of the slow times.”

Lee Booth, Creative Director at OI Marketing and Consultancy 


4. Find your ultimate role model  

It might be in a book or a blog, it could be another business or someone you know personally. Who or what represents what you’d ultimately like to achieve and why? Where are the gaps between them and what you’re currently doing?  


5. Stop making excuses 

If you ask for advice, take it. Don’t let anything restrict you. Don’t avoid doing what’s hard. Learn to smell when your favourite excuses are sounding fishy and instead have the confidence to think “I can do it!” 


6. Invest in yourself 

Keep learning about new aspects of business to stay up to speed with the latest developments and feel inspired. Choose a training course to go on and challenge yourself. 

“Never get complacent. I have clients that become just that when thinking about their marketing strategy. I try to take my own advice on board and make sure I put myself out there to learn and improve my skills as well as informing myself about the latest industry trends and tips. It’s tiring and there’s never enough time but staying on top of industry trends and new skills is important to avoid the risk of becoming a stale business.”

Gabriele Richardson, Concepts Factory 


7. Review and plan 

Take some time to reevaluate your business, brand and client base. Decide what you’re going to change and aim for and then make a business continuity plan to achieve it. 


8. Get a mentor or coach

When you’ve got clear objectives, consider finding someone to help you achieve them and to hold you accountable. 

“In May this year I was struggling with motivation and with things not feeling as fun and flowy as they once were – they were more of a chore or obligation. I did a mini business review of what I was happy with and what I wasn’t enjoying. I’ve slowly manipulated my offerings to be more in line with what lights me up.

“And I hired a business coach to give me a bit of oomph back. She’s really helped propel me forward in the areas I was cautious about and lacking sparkle in. I’d followed her for a while and spent time being really clear about what I wanted to achieve from working with her. Do your research first to check the coach actually knows their stuff and don’t expect them to magically cure things without putting any work in. I really made sure I honoured the investment as much as possible by putting in the work.”

Jen Eastwood, Freelance Social Media Marketer at Rock Rose Digital 


9. Be a mentor 

Volunteer locally as a business mentor to help others set up their own businesses. It will renew your passion for startups, give you confidence by making you realise how much knowledge you have and will probably make you see that you don’t always take your own advice… and maybe you should start. 


10. Try new marketing channels 

Where are your competitors’ advertising and what’s giving them the edge? Are you setting aside enough time each week to work on the business, not just in the business? 

If you’re looking in the same places for new work and your contacts list has dried up it’s time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try some new targeted marketing communications and consider new networking groups to broaden your reach.

Rosie Kirby Refresh Marketing 

11. Delegate and automate

If there are tasks you really dislike or that are taking up time when you could be doing something more valuable then work out if they can either be automated or delegated. 

12. Celebrate how far you’ve come

Make a list of the things you’re grateful for and a list of all your milestones and achievements. Go on, actually write the lists. Plan a little celebration for your next milestone hit whether it’s a few drinks with clients or dinner with your partner. 

13. Find a business partner

Is there another business with a natural fit with yours? Or is there a clear skills gap in your business? Choosing a partner is not something to be taken lightly but working on your own can be hard. Teaming up with the right person could be the answer you’ve been looking for. 

14. Relocate

Are you working in the best environment? Do you have a dedicated place to work? Maybe it’s time to get an office, find a coworking space or at least have a clear out. Treat yourself to that new office chair that you’ve been swooning over. 

15. Launch a product or new product line

Start a magazine, write a book, design a line of tee shirts or take photographs. It doesn’t even have to be related to your current business. Do it for the love of it and to release your creativity. 

16. Call your customers

Arrange to have a chat and find out what’s going on with them. Ask what they’ve got coming up and if they’d give you a testimonial which will act as a fabulous confidence boost. 

17. Rebrand

How old is your branding? Be honest, is it classic and timeless or really looking a bit tired? 

18. Join a community group or project

Often sports clubs and other community groups offer better networking opportunities than formal networking events. Doing something completely different can help give you perspective, get the endorphins and creative juices flowing and you just never know who you might meet or what opportunities will arise but it’s bound to be more than from sitting in your office. 

19. Review your website

Look at your website through the eyes of your ideal new prospect. Is all the content up to date and do all the links still work? Do the design and imagery do you justice? Is it time for a new website? 

20. Say no

No work or client should give you a sense of dread. Always trust your gut and work for people who you like and respect and vice versa. 

“I only offer services to clients that I enjoy delivering to now.”

Sharon Schulz, Owner and VA at SES Business Solutions 

You’re in control of making 2020 a great year for your business and to find your ‘why’ again. Have a positive mindset, be open to opportunities and surround yourself with people who inspire you. 

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Sophie Cross

Sophie Cross is a freelance writer and marketer specialising in business and travel. She is the editor for London Revealed magazine and her clients include Group and Merlin Entertainments.

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