Great products, superior service, some kind of unique value proposition – all equally important contributors to successful business startups. But at the same time, all completely redundant without the motivationrequired to get things off the ground in the first place.
It’s no secret that getting started in any kind of new business venture these days takes guts. It really isn’t a pursuit for the faint-hearted. Irrespective of how extraordinary the business idea and its potential may be, there will always be periods along the way when the whole thing is clouded by anger, frustration, disappointment and general fatigue.
One of the biggest (and most obvious) problems when it comes to small business startups is the way in which you’re usually on your own. Or if not on your own, you’re probably in charge of everything that happens and bear near-total responsibility. Hence, unless you can keep your motivation piqued at all times, it just isn’t going to happen.
The question being – what can you do to both build your motivation and maintain it consistently, come what may?
A Question of Attitude
The thing is, if you expect your new business venture to run smoothly and without a hitch from day one, it just isn’t going to happen. Unrealistic expectations almost always lead to outright disaster. That said, you also don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming pessimistic, or unnecessarily sceptical about the road ahead.
Instead, it’s a case of taking a tip or two from the experts. Inspirational motivational quotescan certainly help in some instances, though for the most part it comes entirely down to your own attitude and approach.
So if you’re struggling to build initial motivation or have found yourself struggling in something of a rut, the following tips could prove helpful:
Ask Yourself ‘Why?’
First and foremost, it’s worth taking the time to question why you decided to set up a business in the first place. Are you looking to amass an enormous personal fortune? Is it all about independence? Perhaps the prospect of dedicating more time to your family and other commitments? Or maybe you’re working to build a business in a sector you are relentlessly passionate about?
Whatever it is, your startup should in some way have a purpose. A core reason for being established in the first place. When you think about it, you wouldn’t be doing whatever it is you’re doing if it wasn’t some kind of means to an end. So from time to time, you might want to remind yourself why it is you decided to dive into entrepreneurship, and what you expect to get out of it.
Create a Personal Mission Statement
Having a mission statement for your business isn’t the same as having a mission statement for yourself. A personal mission statement sets out your primary goals, objectives and the long-term vision of what you yourself expect to accomplish, should your business succeed.
This is important as owning and operating a successful business doesn’t necessarily guarantee the accomplishment of any personal goals. Your personal mission statement should detail why it is you’re doing what you do – get rich, work fewer hours, be your own boss etc. Once you’ve created it, mount or position it somewhere prominently and don’t let it out of your sight.
Get into a Routine
Some argue that getting into a routine represents the first step towards monotony and boredom. In reality, routine is borderline mandatory when it comes to establishing new businesses. The reason being that in the absence of some kind of routine, you’re essentially making things up as you go along – crawling in the dark and not really having a clue what you’re doing.
Getting into a routine can be as easy as allocating different days of the week to specific jobs. For example, you could dedicate Monday to writing blog posts and general content, Tuesday to website development and optimisation, Wednesday to social media, Thursday to accountancy and Friday to planning the next week. It sounds simple, which it is, but it can also be an effective way of remaining motivated.
The reason being that rather than wandering around aimlessly, you’ll know exactly what you should be doing and when you should be doing it.
Take Sufficient Time Off
One of the biggest mistakes newcomers to entrepreneurship can make is not making enough time for fun. Even the hardest-working individuals have their limitations, after which they cannot expect to remain motivated, productive or efficient. Just as would be the case if you’re working for any established and responsible organisation, you need to ensure you take sufficient time off.
Once again, this is something that needs to be built into your routine. You cannot simply promise yourself you’ll take X amount of time off every few hours, or work a maximum of Y hours per week. Unless you create some kind of schedule and stick to it, you’ve no chance – you’ll work yourself into the ground.
Taking time off when you are your own boss can be tricky, as you can’t help but feel as if every minute away from work representsa wasted minute. In reality, this can turn out to be the most valuable minutes of all, when it comes to motivation, energy, enthusiasm, renewed creativity and so on.
Set Yourself Challenges
There’s something of an overlap between goals and challenges, though the latter can be somewhat more motivating. Rather than thinking about what you expect to achieve by the end of the month, set your expectations a little higher and challenge yourself to perform. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly complicated – why not challenge yourself to write 10 blog posts this week, instead of the usual five?
Little challenges like these are great for not only boosting your output and productivity, but also delivering a real sense of satisfaction if and when you accomplish them. Just try not to take things too far with the kinds of challenges you’ve no chance of accomplishing, as you’ll simply be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Reward Yourself Regularly
To be frank, it’s probably safe to say that around 90% of all startup entrepreneurs cannot remember the last time they genuinely rewarded themselves for a job well done. In this instance, we’re not simply talking about the obvious rewards of running a small business – earning cash, not having to answer to anyone, finishing early on Fridays etc. Instead, we’re talking the kinds of rewards and indulgences you’d typically talk yourself out of entirely.
Unplanned weekends away to places you’ve always wanted to visit. Gadgets and appliances for the home or office you consider to be unnecessary but desirable. Clothes, accessories and other luxuries that deep down you know you deserve. Rewards shouldn’t be confined to those infrequent occasions when you and/or your business achieve something quite remarkable. Instead, they should be a regular occurrence to help you remain motivated to do whatever it is you’re doing.
Once you get into the habit of treating yourself on a regular basis, you’ll find every aspect of entrepreneurship far more enjoyable.
Stay Inspired and Educated
Another great way of remaining motivated as an entrepreneur is to take inspiration from the trials and tribulations of others. From books or journals to articles to blog posts to video tutorials and so on, the web is bursting at the seams with motivational content to keep you inspired and educated.
It’s always worth remembering that no matter what kind of difficult situation you find yourself in, you’re far from alone. Take advice and inspiration from others, join online business forums and build the strongest support network you can. Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself able to deal with just about anything the future may throw at you.
Sleep Well, Eat Well and Live Well
You can’t expect to stay motivated and capable as an entrepreneur if you are not in at least a reasonably good shape. The biggest mistake business owners at all levels make is that of working themselves so relentlessly and continuously that they end up in a pretty sorry state of health. They sacrifice sleep for the benefit of their business, fall into poor dietary habits, scrimp on their prior trips to the gym and so on.
Your physical and psychological health will have a direct impact on your capacity to remain motivated and establish and run a successful business. Something as simple as a good night’s sleep (or lack thereof) potentially impacting some of the most important decisions you make at themost important stage in building a successful new business.
Learn How to Bounce Back
Last up, failures and setbacks are all part and parcel of new business establishments. As mentioned previously, you cannot realistically expect things to run consistently smoothly at all times. In reality, you’re guaranteed to face all manner of difficult situations and disappointments along the way.
When it happens, you can take things personally and allow your motivation to slip, or learn from your mistakes and boostyour motivation to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t compare your performance to that of others, don’t beat yourself up for making silly mistakes and don’t forget that today’s problems can easily be made into tomorrow’s opportunities.