When it comes to great business ideas and marketing strategies, you’ve probably got it all sewn up. But what happens when the preparation is complete and you need to put your plan into action?
The determination and perseverance to keep going no matter what obstacles you meet can be a bit of a shock to some new business owners, but if you start off with the realisation that you are going to feel this way at some point, you can plan ways to move past negativity and keep going.
So what steps can you take to keep motivation levels up and procrastination at bay, when you get disheartened, worried, or just plain bored?
Start with your business plan
By reading through certain parts of your business plan you’ll be reminded of the reasons why you took the leap into self-employment in the first place. During quiet times when you begin to lose heart and think it is not going to work out, the business plan can help you focus on a certain area, maybe marketing or cash flow, and then take small positive steps to move you forward. For example:
- Revisit your marketing plan and adjust it a little to include new ways of marketing your business, such as using daily deals sites, guerrilla marketing, or making the best use of social media
- Check that you have efficient invoicing and credit control systems in place so that you can get the money in as soon as possible
Even if the results are not instant, you should be motivated and encouraged just by taking action rather than burying your head in the sand.
Network with other small business owners
Networking is great not only for finding new customers, but also for gaining access to valuable mentoring and coaching services, or simply for finding someone to talk to about the pressures of running a successful business.
Some networking groups have established ‘Mastermind Groups’ within the network. Joining a ‘Mastermind Group’ can be the perfect antidote to a lack of motivation as you have to be accountable for your actions (or non-action) to your fellow members.
At weekly meetings, these groups often ask each member to name a specific problem they are experiencing in their business. Members then brainstorm ideas to come up with a solution, or at least a formal path to follow.
This valuable support network offers instant potential solutions, a shoulder to lean on, and a source of accountability that will stop you cleaning out that fridge too often.
Make sure your goals are stepped, and don’t forget to reward yourself along the way
Trying to achieve goals that are too ambitious can be very disheartening, but if you break them down into smaller steps you will enjoy a feeling of success on a regular basis, and stop the perception that you are failing.
By rewarding yourself for reaching these mini-goals you have recognised the effort exerted, and will be motivated to reach the next goal.
As Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential,” and this can be applied to every aspect of business, from marketing to customer service.