From the April 2004 issue of Entrepreneur

Turn on the TV most nights and you're likely to see someone or something undergoing a transformation. Whether it's an individual, an entire home (or just a room in a home), a backyard or merely a flower bed, it seems nearly everyone or everything is in need of a redo. Obviously, makeover mania is sweeping the nation. For the uninitiated, this current obsession with the before and after may seem a bit surprising. But the many of us (mostly women) who have been captivated by makeover stories in fashion and decorating magazines for years think it's about time the rest of you caught up.

While we at Entrepreneur usually prefer (like most entrepreneurs) to lead the pack, we're not opposed to occasionally jumping on the bandwagon. Months ago, in preparation for our first makeover issue, we picked five entrepreneurs who needed to update at least some portion of their businesses. We then came up with our own team of pros who applied their expertise and tried to turn these businesses, as the cover states, from "drab to fab." As you'll find out, starting on page 64, the transformation worked-in most cases.

Is your business in need of a makeover? If you're like most entrepreneurs, of course it is. That's not to say your whole business is a mess, but almost every entrepreneurial enterprise has at least one area where it could use a shot in the arm. For most entrepreneurs, the hardest part is to figure out what that is and how to tackle it. This takes a bit of introspection, and unfortunately, introspection does not come easily to many of you. You're generally so busy concentrating on one part of your business (most often increasing your sales) that you neglect the other parts. But to put a twist on an old saying, the whole of your business is the sum of its parts. Many of you will discover that you only need a tweak here and there to get back on track. Others will learn that there's more amiss than you ever suspected.

So do yourself a favor-take some time out, and look at your company. If you can't be objective, ask a respected friend or colleague to give you a hand. Or try a business coach. I've run into more and more entrepreneurs who swear hiring a business coach gave them and their companies a much needed boost.

Remember, though, unless you're in danger of losing your business, this isn't the entrepreneur's version of Extreme Makeover-don't try to change too many things at once. That too easily can lead to chaos.

The good news is you don't have to do this alone. Or at least you won't if you're one of the winners in a new contest we're sponsoring with Xerox. See the box above for more info.

In the women's magazines, the women most in need of a makeover generally are not a total mess; they just tend to be stuck in a rut-reliving some past glory. The same can be said about most businesses. Stop living in the past; stop relying on what got you to where you are. You may need new people, new technologies or new thinking to take you where you want to be today-and tomorrow.