You had the most amazing business idea, you conceptualized it, researched it, developed it, spent hours dreaming about it, analyzing it, calculating how much profit you would make and then when you finally started the business you found that your interest waned faster than you could say “one fell swoop”! Why? You didn’t get the response you had expected? You didn’t make the profit you thought you were going to make? Or, you simply got bored with the idea?
Owning your own business has many advantages but one of the keys to a successful start-up and business venture is to maintain your motivation as the business grows and to stay positive through the tough times, which most businesses will face at some point or another. Here are a few points to help you remain positive and motivated as a business owner:
- Keep things fresh . Coming up with new challenges, projects, ideas and strategies are bound to keep you on your toes and to keep your motivation alive. Make a point of having regular brainstorming sessions with your staff and try to encourage everyone to tap into their creative side. This often leaves people feeling inspired and energized.
- Keep your staff motivated with incentives or rewards . It is difficult to stay motivated if your employees and those around you are unexcited and uninterested in work in general. Cash incentives and rewards are a great way to get staff feeling passionate about their work as is giving your staff enough autonomy in the workplace – no one wants to be micro-managed. Encourage people to generate new business ideas and make sure to give credit to those people when and if those ideas are implemented. Making your employees feel as though they are an integral part of the business is a sure fire way to keep them motivated.
- Visualise growth and think positive . Try and maintain positive thought processes and a positive business outlook. Thinking negatively and doubting yourself can be draining, unproductive and can rub off onto your employees (which ultimately affects your business). Concentrate on channeling your thoughts in a positive light and visualize your success and the things that motivate you.
- Alternate your routine . Most business people have a routine, for some it is a structured one and for others it’s a haphazard one but a routine nonetheless! Doing the same thing day in and day out is like starring in your own real-life version of Groundhog Day and what a sad thought that is! So whatever your routine, perhaps try and change it slightly so that you can still look forward to something different each day. If for example you always schedule meetings for the afternoons, perhaps schedule some for the mornings on certain days of the week and take care of admin in the afternoons. Leave work early one day a week, this can be one or two hours earlier than you would usually leave and schedule that as “me” time.
- Have breaks from the office . If you are at your office or in front of a computer for most of the day then make sure to have regular breaks. Go out for lunch, have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper, go for a 30min massage, read your book, get some fresh air, you get the drift! After a break, you’ll be able to concentrate a lot better and will be significantly more productive, not to mention happier.
- Take Leave . Owning your own business doesn’t mean that you should be a prisoner of your own office! Schedule time off at least twice a year and enjoy a good holiday. After some time off you’ll feel refreshed and motivated for another 6 months of hard work. Even just taking a week off can do you the world of good. Your office can still contact you if they desperately need you but try and avoid this if possible and leave a manager to take care of queries. Leave an auto-responder on your email so that people are aware that you are away and that you are not just ignoring them.
- Keep decent working hours, especially if you work from home . This is really important and something that often needs self-discipline. It is so easy to quickly nip into the office to “just check some emails” but the next thing you know, you’re writing proposal letters and doing admin. Lock the office if you can after staff have left and only open it again the next morning when work starts. Being strict with this will ensure that you have a balance between work and play and that your mind can also rest.
- Define what motivates you. Be clear as to what gets you out of bed in the morning and what motivates you to run your own business. Is it the money, the control, the independence, a new challenge, the flexibility or a combination of factors? Identifying what makes you tick means that you can focus more of your energy on those factors. If the idea of a new challenge or concept motivates you, then spend more time brainstorming and developing the idea. If money motivates you then concentrate on how to improve your profit margins or creating new profit centres.
- Make time for exercise, friends, family or social events. Monday to Friday is a typical working week for most companies so try and keep it that way. Let your weekends be a time for family and friends, events or sporting activities. After all providing for your family, enjoying overseas holidays and local trips is often a huge motivating factor for business success so try and make the time to actually enjoy these things!
- Set realistic goals and targets. Setting too many goals at once can be a little overwhelming if they are not structured in any way. Rather try and break the goals down into short and long term goals, ones that you would like to achieve this month, next month, by the end of this year and by the end of the following year. Distributing all of this into smaller chunks will help to keep you motivated and focused on one thing at a time.
So in essence staying motivated is really about identifying what motivates you and your staff, thinking positive, achieving a balance between work and play and setting realistic goals for yourself and your company. Staying motivated in business is an integral part of your success and being able to identify when your motivation is dropping, is crucial. Remember that there are ways and means to motivate yourself but sometimes it can take a little effort, thought and discipline!
Author: Franchise Finder, Online Directory of Franchises and Business Opportunities in South Africa