7 Motivational Tips for Small Business Owners
Have you always wanted to be your own boss? Does working
from home fit in with your lifestyle and family commitments?
Whether you’re self employed or running a business, working for yourself does take some self-discipline. And with the best will in the world, everyone has times when they feel unmotivated.
You may have gone independent to do what you enjoy, only to find that a lot of the work involved in running a business is not so much fun.
On the other hand, you might feel as though you’ve been ploughing the same furrow for many years without growing or developing your business.
For many of us, deadlines are the biggest motivator. We all go to great lengths to meet an order, deliver a piece of work on time or prepare for an event. But do you leave things too late, creating unnecessary stress?
There’s no question that to grow your business, deal with all the tasks that that may involve and avoid procrastinating, you do need to maintain a high level of determination. So to help you stay motivated, here are our seven top tips:
1. Start making plans
The great thing about plans is that nobody will know if you don’t achieve them. But they will give you a framework to work on.
To start, set realistic goals for the long and short term, and then plan how to achieve them. Don’t be surprised if you constantly need to re-set your plans as things are always changing.
On a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you’ll need a workflow plan for the tasks you need to do. Take a look at free online tools such as Trello and Asana, which are simple to use and make managing work easier and more fun.
2. Keep track of what you do
If you haven’t ever enjoyed the satisfaction of ticking or crossing off a job on a to-do list, now’s the time to start. Tick lists, or an online equivalent, are a great motivator.
While keeping track of tasks completed, also keep track of how long they take. This will not only help ensure that you can quote accurately if you’re charging by the hour or pricing products, it will also help you plan better.
Keep a record of your wins and achievements. It will be a helpful motivator if you ever start to feel stuck or frustrated (and may also be useful in your marketing).
3. Find a way to get started
Sometimes it can be very hard to get going on certain jobs for a number of reasons. Here are some common difficulties and ways to get round them:
- The job’s too big – break it down into achievable, bite-size chunks and then work your way through them in the most logical order.
- You’re not 100% sure what’s expected – don’t be afraid to keep asking questions about what your client or customers really want. Ask as early on as possible and don’t worry about being a nuisance.
- It’s not your ‘bag’ – there’s always a lot to learn when you’re running a business. If you need to work on something that’s outside your comfort zone or skill set, and you don’t have the money to pay a specialist, look for online for guidance and ‘how to’ articles, or call in friends and family.
4. Reward yourself for effort
As soon as you’ve met a big order, delivered a project, had a successful day of sales or completed that niggling tax job, it’s time for a small treat.
According to experts, if you reward yourself for the amount of effort you’ve put in, rather than what you’ve achieved, you’ll be more motivated.
5. Find out how others do it
Networking events are a good way to get to know other small businesses and freelancers. Find out how they keep going and see if they have any good ideas that could work for you.
Additionally, many leading business figures have written their life stories and these books can be a real inspiration.
6. Don’t let the dips get you down
While a positive attitude will always help, you do need to be aware of all the things that can go wrong. If they do, don’t be deterred and try and view the situation as objectively as possible.
You can learn a lot from experiencing setbacks and they might turn out to be an opportunity to change your business for the better.
7. Get a work-life balance
It’s very easy to become a workaholic when you’re running your own business. And if you’re working from home, you can end up working 24/7 with no separation between your work and private life.
This can lead to a demotivating feeling of being overwhelmed or be harmful for personal relationships. To help maintain a healthy balance, separate your work and living spaces and avoid working in your private time, such as answering emails in bed!
Need more motivation?
Check out these articles about how other people are using Avery to grow successful businesses: