Five Easy Ways to Make Things Happen for Your BusinessIt’s pretty much a rule of thumb for every small business: Waiting around for things to improve in your business won’t get the job done. For something good to happen, you have to make it happen.

So says Steve Tobak, a Silicon Valley-based strategy consultant, in an article on “Successful business owners make their own luck by constantly seeking to improve their situation,” he says. They understand that “day-to-day inertia, the status quo, is the enemy of business.”

To prove his point, Tobak cites the humble origins of several famous companies, such as McDonald’s (“started as a hot dog stand called The Airdrome”) and Kraft (“sold cheese door to door”).  The hugely successful entrepreneurs behind these billion-dollar ventures made things happen. Here are five ways for you to make things happen for your business as well.

Go Into Turnaround

“We tend to think of turnarounds as bad things,” Tobak says. In fact, it’s often the first step towards a dramatic improvement in business operations.

“When you work too hard just to keep things running, you’re not likely to change anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. So make it necessary.” Putting action off until a later date only ensures nothing will happen.

Ask Others for Fresh Ideas

Every business owner is so invested in his or her enterprise that it’s difficult to see things in a new light. Tobak’s advice: “Ask your employees for new ideas or what you need to do to improve.” But don’t stop there. Solicit input from your spouse, your friends, your customers—“anyone who will tell you.” Then you have to listen. “Don’t be defensive and don’t take it personally.”

Even if no great new idea lands in your lap, you’ll certainly benefit from getting views of your business you haven’t thought of yourself.

Run Some Numbers

Many business owners are driven by a real love for what they do, “but numbers and spreadsheets give them a headache.” Unfortunately, no business lasts long by neglecting or ignoring its financial side. “If you’re no good with numbers, then hire someone who is. Even if it’s just a one-time consultant.” A good hard look at your numbers is likely to be an eye-opening experience.

Clear Your Head

A feeling lurks in the back of your mind that there are “things you’d like to do or should do,” but these things are suppressed because change is scary and/or it would take a lot of work to convert your thoughts into action. But the consequences of inaction include “sitting quietly by while your business goes down the drain.”

Instead, Tobak advises, take some time away from the business. “Go off somewhere quiet, relax, and see what pops into your mind.” A great new direction for your business could be lurking right now in your subconscious. Give it a chance to rise to the surface.

Find a Partner

Getting the right partner for your business is all about “sharing the work, the burden, the stress” and “having someone to bounce ideas off.” It’s not an ideal solution for everyone, but it’s worth considering as a way to breathe new life into your business.

The right action to take depends on your particular circumstances. But whatever shakes you out of languishing in the status quo is a good thing.

What ways have you found to improve your business?