How To Reduce That “Out of Control” Feeling In Your Business

Jan 28, 2020, Written by Sue Miley

I hate roller coasters.  The feeling of being out of control has been unpleasant to me since I was a kid.  You feel disoriented. You don’t know which direction you are shifting next. You feel your stomach come up to your throat as your body plummets down the next descent.  And, on top of it all, it is scary. They do break you know. Maybe not often, but I don’t want to be in the 1% or whatever it may be.

If you think about it, a rollercoaster ride is actually a good analogy for owning your own business.  And yes, for business owners that love rollercoasters, there is some fun too. But, admit it, there is nothing worse than the anticipation as you are slowly climbing to the top.  At first it is slow and smooth. As it gets steeper and you get higher, the anxiousness starts to spread through your chest.

The Ups and Downs of Business Ownership

In business, sometimes it is like riding a roller coaster with a blindfold on because you are not even sure if or when a drop is going to come.  I can sometimes begin to feel that anticipation and stress creeping in even if externally things aren’t that bad. It usually starts when I feel like something is out of control.

Some ways business owners can feel out of control are:

  • When expenses are climbing every month and all of the sudden you are paying bills with an extra 0 or two at the end.
  • When a couple of employees quit, and you have what feels like holes everywhere.
  • When you lose a big account, yet you don’t really know what you would do differently.

Usually when I feel that way, my first reaction is to grab hold of the business and try to control things even more.  I feel pressure to make things happen….. or not happen.

Resist the Urge to Take Control 

We start feeling like things are out of control, so we pull back.  We reduce spending. We try to make things work with fewer people and delay filling the holes.  And we lose our appetite for new business development. Our confidence is just not there.

This type of control actually chokes the business more.  If you have a problem in any or many areas, when we pull in, tighten up control, we smother the rest of the life out of our business.

Is the Alternative to Just Stay “Out of Control”?

If you feel out of control, then the reality is that you may actually be out of control. Adjustments and changes may be necessary. But determining how, when and what to do is challenging. 

Here are some suggestions to consider:

Give it 48 hours or even a week.

Sometimes our feeling of being out of control is just that, a feeling.  Many people are harder on themselves than others. We feel like everything is going wrong and it must be because we are doing or not doing something right.  But in business, stuff happens. We do lose employees and customers. We do have inefficiency creep in. It doesn’t mean it is going to be the new trend. Wait a few days before you make any significant decisions or changes.  See if it is just your mood.

Go Back to Basics.

Rather than taking control and retreating or smothering, go back to the fundamentals of growing your business.  Review your vision and mission. Focus on things like excellent customer service or employee encouragement. Business basics are like our security net.  They catch us so we can bounce back. Soon you will be back to adding your own eclectic extras that make your business what it is; but getting your foothold back when things feel crazy will stop you from spiraling out of control.

Plan forward.

All business owners want healthy growth.  When a setback happens, we need to get back on the horse and reestablish a growth trajectory. As mentioned above, we just don’t want it to be an impulsive reaction that could cause more trouble.  Once you identify that the setback is an actual problem and you reset your foundation, then you want to spend some time planning a strategy and course of action that will actually move you forward.  That may be rebuilding talent in the team or developing a marketing plan to attract new leads. The important factor is that it is a thought-out strategy and plan with expected results so you can ensure execution and measure impact.

Spend time with God.

In general, we should spend time with God.  When life seems crazy, I double down my time and attention to the Lord and His Word.  There are many benefits.  

  • It quickly reminds me that I am not in control and never have been.
  • It gives me comfort remembering that He is in control and has a much better handle on everything.
  • I focus on the fact that God loves me whether I turn around the business situation or not.
  • I usually hear directly from the Lord that I need to quit worrying and focus outward on building others up and helping others at work or in life.
  • I feel much more at peace, regardless of the situation.
  • Only God can help me with all of this.

Move forward.

Once I quit obsessing on everything going wrong, get back to basics, start planning the path forward, and stay close to the Lord for help and peace, then I do my part and execute.  At this point, I have to trust in the foundation, trust in the plan, trust in the Lord, and execute.

Unlike a rollercoaster whose purpose is to go up and down, our business doesn’t have to.  The more we focus on these steps when we do have a problem or setback, we will have less low dips.  When we start climbing back up the incline, we don’t have to fear an unknown, gut wrenching drop, we just stay focused, remember we have that safety net, and we minimize the drop each time.  Soon it is just a steady, smooth ride forward and up.

And hopefully the ride never ends.

If you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster you didn’t sign up for, then there are ways to get off the ride and steady your business. Let’s talk about practical steps you can implement in real time. Give us a call at (225)-341-4147.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.