10 Ruts That Entrepreneurs Can Fall Into (That Will Stall Growth)

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Have you ever been stuck in a rut?

You’ve probably heard the saying about getting stuck in a rut.

Maybe you feel stuck in a rut or maybe you see someone else and you think that they’re stuck in a rut.

The idea that someone or that you are stuck in a rut is that you’re not moving toward a goal. That’s the way I like to look at it.

You’re doing something maybe that bores you. You’re doing something that maybe doesn’t move you toward business growth, but for whatever reason it’s become a habit and you’re not seeing the growth that you want.

In this post we’re going to look at some of the common ruts that entrepreneurs often fall into and a few tips for getting out of those ruts.

1. Chasing A Dead End Initiative

This is a common one for people in business. You get a pet project. You sink money into it and you go past the point when your team knows that it’s never going to work and deep down you probably know that it won’t work, but you keep investing energy and money into it anyway.

This is an example of a rut. You’re going down a path that you know won’t work. Your gut is telling you to move on. The numbers are telling you to move on, but because of stubbornness or pride or whatever you want to prove that you can make it work.

Successful people have failures. But they’re able to identify when it’s time to move on and invest in other areas.

2. Loss Of Purpose

By this one I mean that maybe your business has grown to the point where you’ve had to delegate most or all of your tasks. You’re still the leader, but you’re not sure where you fit in with the business anymore and that can lead to you feeling like you’re stuck in a rut.

The obvious answer for getting out of this one is identifying what’s going on and looking at yourself, what you love and the business and see where you can fit in and help the team. It might not be easy, but usually everyone can find a place where they can excel in the company.

3. Dreams Without Action

Having dreams is good, but it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of dreaming about vacations or doing something with your company, but if you do it all the time without putting any of them in action can lead to the feeling of getting stuck in a rut.

Dreams can make you feel happy, but things can quickly turn unless you take those dreams and do a little digging. See what it would really take to make them reality and with that you’ll find some that are real opportunities and when you find those then definitely go for it.

4. Unproductive Tasks

There is a pride in our world around the idea of working long hours. I feel that once you get past that 40-hour workweek that you’re starting to take away from the quality of your work. And it’s probably a sign that you need to figure out other ways for people to help you build your business.

You can get away with doing long hours when you’re starting out, but that will lead to burnout and it can hold the business back. I’ve been in this rut before. It’s an easy one for entrepreneurs to get into, but it’s important to recognize what’s going on. Then audit the tasks you’re doing and figure out what to delegate and what to simply remove from your daily effort because they’re unproductive tasks.

Some tasks keep you busy, but they don’t move your business forward.

5. Kidding Yourself

This can manifest in different ways. The one that I’ve experienced and that I’ve seen is that you pay attention to little details that you take as indication that the situation you’re in is a good one, but you really know that things aren’t going to improve.

An example on the personal side of life would be a person that’s close to you in your life. They don’t treat you well. They drain your energy. You know they’re not good to be around, but once in awhile they do one small nice thing and you really key in on that and keep them in your life. You know you’re kidding yourself, though. You know it’ll never change.

This happens in business and in real life. Know the difference between real indicators and fake ones.

6. Chasing Material Happiness

Many people get caught in this one from time to time. I think I’m pretty good at it, but I know I still fall into this one at times.

It might be buying vehicles. It might be buying clothes or sporting equipment or whatever. We all have things that we like and it doesn’t really matter what others think. I think we can fall into ruts of trying to impress others and also trying to impress ourselves.

But we all really know that happiness is not about material things. The more we can stay out of those ruts and find happiness in other areas of life – experiences, relationships, etc. – the happier we’ll be and the more success we’ll feel and find.

7. Rushes Of Failure & Feeling Inadequate

This one is really common in the business world. I think entrepreneurs are kind of wired to never be satisfied. If they felt satisfaction then they can get complacent and they wouldn’t continue to push forward.

But the risk on the other side if that you feel inadequate especially when you have little rushes of failure like a bad day, week or month or whatever. It’s hard to get through those times, but we usually do get through as long as we can realize that it’s probably not as bad as it feels in the moment.

8. Poor Team Members

I’ve seen bosses have a little too much loyalty with certain team members and have it negatively affect everyone in the company or at least most people in the company and the company itself. It’s hard to think that one person could have that big of an effect, but it does happen.

I like loyalty. I think it’s good to be patient with people. You have to believe in people, but there has to be a point when you know that it’s time to move on. Does that person really want to be part of the company’s success? Do they fit with the culture you’re building? Do they bring down the performance of others?

9. Poor Clients

The same can be true or even more true with clients. Sometimes entrepreneurs hang onto clients too long for various reasons, but I guess the biggest reason would be money. You might have a client that is taking up too much of your time. That is a big rut in life and business.

The reality is that if a client is taking too much of your time it’s probably a sign that you can’t provide what they need. They’re not your ideal customer. You don’t need to please everyone in life. I just watched a video about Southwest Airlines. Their goal was to be the lowest cost air travel provider. That meant they couldn’t do food and treats and things like that. Not everyone liked that. Some customers complained, but Southwest made it clear that this is how they would operate.

10. Tech

This is a good one to end on…as I’m taking a quick break to check my phone…

We live in a world where we’re always connected with tech. We have screens all over. It’s great, but we can really get stuck in a rut with the tech in our lives. We need to unplug and pay attention to the real world. We need nature. We need time to get lost in our own heads and to spend time with others that we care about.


We all get stuck in ruts from time to time. We know they happen, but the key is recognizing them as soon as possible and working our way out of them. We might not be able to avoid all the ruts, but we can kind of avoid some of them and put ourselves into situations where we can succeed. Hopefully this post will help you out a bit if you are or possible will get stuck in a rut.

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