I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visithttp://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.
It’s February, which means many of us have given up on our personal New Year’s Resolutions. Quite frankly, that’s okay with me. New Year’s Resolutions don’t always work. What does work is good goal planning and creating success rituals that will keep you on track to achieve your goals.
Starting a business and STAYING in business are two very different things. The ebbs and flows of monthly sales and profit charts can often determine our happiness level. I’ve seen entrepreneurs who are so committed to their business (which is a good thing) that they start to burn the candle at both ends. They sacrifice self-care, sleep, relationships and interests (which is a bad thing). It ultimately ends in burnout and a business that is running into the ground -because you are.
To avoid this roller coaster ride, here are four tips that I use in my business to stay motivated, even when things are rough. (Though I’m writing this with a business slant, these tips work for your personal goals, too!)
- Start with your why – Why did you go into business in the first place? What about your business are you passionate about? What does your business provide for you (and your family)? Take a few minutes to go deep and get real about what your business means to you. Once you land at the place that feels right and you get that motivation back, write your ‘why’ on a 3 x 5 card and post it in a place where you’ll see it on a regular basis. When I was in the middle of a transition with my businesses, this is just what my coach ordered. Getting clear and then writing it down so that I could remember it in dark times has been valuable. I hope it’s valuable for you, too.
There’s a chance that through this process, you’ll find out that the passion you once had for your business is not there anymore. Try as you might, it may be difficult to get re-motivated. Make sure you’re not making a quick decision and that you’ve thought through every possible avenue. If after doing that you feel like it’s time to let the business go, honestly, that’s okay. Brainstorm or get help with your exit strategy. Can your business be sold in one piece or in parts? Are there debts or loose ends that need to be tied up? Do you just need to walk away? Again, getting some consulting advice in this department can help you finish up without leaving you vulnerable.
- Write down your goals – Once your ‘why’ is in place, write down your goals for your business. Do you have a sales goal? Do you have a growth goal? Do you have goals to hire employees in a specific department? I encourage my clients to create three-month goals, twelve-month goals and five-year goals. Three-month goals help you think short term results and the fastest path to cash. Twelve-month goals help you think realistically about the year ahead and that some things will take growth and time. Five-year goals help you with futuristic thinking and help you think through the big picture of business growth. The key is to write them down; don’t just think about them. If you have a staff, share your goals with them, and assign projects and tasks that will get them involved in the success of the business. Create milestones and even a rewards program for those who embrace the goals of the business and contribute.
- Break down your goals into daily, weekly & monthly action items – Once you’ve determined the big picture on your goals, the key is to create regular and routine practices that bring your goals to fruition on a regular basis. For example, marketing is not a project that gets checked off of a to-do list. Marketing is a series of regular actions that keep your pipeline flowing week after week. What daily, weekly and monthly activities will help you keep marketing at the forefront of your mind and bring you the results you deserve in your business? This is where planning and productivity intersect. It’s one of my favorite subjects and the basis for my book, “Make It Happen.” Remember that Success = Vision + Action. If you want your goals to come to fruition, you’ve got to make it happen!
- Stay Positive – It sounds woo-woo, but positivity really is powerful in goal achievement and motivation. If you need help in this department, take a minute at the end of each day and celebrate the wins of the day either by yourself or with your team. Start with what’s working, instead of dwelling on what’s not. Put motivational and success quotes around your office to keep you on track. Get support from an accountability partner or coach that can help you keep your eye on the prize. Keep negative comments and self-talk in check. If you catch yourself being negative, replace those comments with statements that are more positive. Simple efforts in happiness and motivation bring great results. Give it a try.
I’d love to hear your tips: What are your favorite tips for staying motivated when you hit a dip in your business?
Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on February 20, 2014