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Published on October 17, 2018

Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated

Feel like Giving Up? 16 Way to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Motivated

When you’re dreaming about becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business, motivation never seems to be a problem. Once you launch that business and get your hands dirty, well, those long days of burning the midnight oil can really take their toll and suck your motivational reserves dry.

Staying motivated as an entrepreneur is easier said than done, but it’s without a doubt, essential for the success of your business. From its earliest beginnings and into the prosperous years of your business, staying motivated is what will continue to guide your business to success.

Finding motivation will not only help to fuel your own fire, but those who work with you as well. You’ll find that staying motivated as an entrepreneur will benefit you at work and in other areas of your life.

If you’re looking for a motivation boost, here are 16 ways to fuel the fire of your entrepreneurial spirit.

1. Recognize the small victories

Choosing to leave the corporate grind of working for somebody else and embark on a path as your own boss is in itself, a victory. It’s critical to your success that you learn to recognize and celebrate each of the little victories on your journey of entrepreneurship at every step.

Of course those big wins where trumpets seem to emerge out of nowhere and the clouds part just for you are awesome, but they don’t come often. It’s the small victories that drive success and ultimately lead to those huge champagne bottle-popping wins.

Maybe it’s simply getting the contact information of a potential new client or getting the internet set up at your office space. Taking time to not only recognize, but celebrate the small victories will help you to enjoy life as an entrepreneur that much more.

2. Bring your loved ones into your challenges

Former justice of the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor famously said that we don’t accomplish anything in this life alone, that everything is a tapestry of our relationships with others. Some of the best motivation you’ll get as an entrepreneur is going to come from your friends and family. Share with them your goals and the challenges you’re facing.

They’ll not only be there to share in each of your victories, but will be the ones to pick you up after suffering a defeat. Depending on their own background, they may even be able to offer some practical advice. Bring them into your life as an entrepreneur and allow them to help motivate and strengthen you.

3. Take advantage of the morning

What do Richard Branson and Elon Musk have in common? Besides being ridiculously innovative and wealthy, they make the most of their mornings.[1]

Numerous studies have shown that the first few hours after we wake up are the most productive for our brains. Rather than using that hour before heading to work to scroll your social media feeds, you could be harnessing your re-energized brain power to set you up for knocking out the day’s most important tasks.

Stephanie Kersta , co-founder of Hoame, a studio offering meditation classes, recommends using your morning to get in some mediation:

“Studies have shown that meditating for as little as 10 minutes per day can have profound impacts on the way our brain processes information, which leads to increased productivity. We know that habits we implement first thing in the morning tend to stick a little easier due to the sheer fact that there are naturally less interruptions.”

By taking advantage of the morning hours, you’ll be more motivated with the realization that you’ve done more before noon than many people do in a full day.

These 10 Morning Habits of Successful People are something you should start to learn.

4. Get a good night’s sleep

In order to take advantage of your brain’s morning boost, it’s necessary that you get a good night’s sleep. Waking up at 6am doesn’t do a lot of good if you need seven hours of sleep and didn’t roll into bed until 2am.

Everyone’s body is different, but most researchers tend to agree that eight hours of sleep is ideal. Not getting enough sleep will of course affect your mood, ability to focus, and overall health. It’s difficult to stay motivated on growing your business and reaching your entrepreneurial goals when you’re feeling groggy.

Get some shuteye, your business will thank you.

5. Establish a routine

After discussing the importance of sleep and taking advantage of the morning in regards to staying motivated, you can probably guess the overall theme — routine!

Establishing a solid routine will make all the difference in the world when it comes to your success as an entrepreneur. It will not only cut down on stress, but help to maximize your time and efficiency.

Consider developing a routine that hits these points:

  • Diet and exercise.
  • How to start and end your work day.
  • Carving out time for relaxation and reflection.

Here’s a good example of a morning routine:

Want to Feel More Energized Throughout the Day? Start With This

You’ll probably be surprised at how quickly after you settle into a productive daily routine that you start to chip away at any obstacles which may have been holding you back.

6. Track the money

If you want to have some real visual reminders to keep you motivated — and stay in business — then keep track of all the money going in and out of your company.

Set up those spreadsheets and track everything that you’re spending from the very first day.

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Not only will this help you to better manage money and ensure that it’s there when you need it for expenses, but you’ll be able to see how close you are to hitting different financial goals.

Earned financial success never just creeps up on somebody, it’s carefully planned out each and every single time.

7. Remind yourself of the WHY

Just like your little league coach told you, “keep your eye on the ball.” There was a reason why you decided to start down the road of entrepreneurship and launch a business and it’s important that you remind yourself that from time to time.

Call it whatever you want, the big picture or grand idea, looking back at how far you’ve come and where you’re going is a fantastic motivator.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison.

8. Give yourself a personal reward

There are few things more gratifying and motivating than enjoying the spoils of victory that come with a job well done. It’s in our nature to react to incentives and taking time to reward our accomplishments is a healthy thing.

Maybe it’s hitting a new financial goal or reaching a breakthrough in a new technology you’re developing, but work without reward is a killer of motivation.

How do you celebrate? Buy a round of drinks for friends or coworkers? Hit up a sporting event or concert?

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or any money at all if you don’t want to. The key is acknowledging an accomplishment with an incentive to keep you motivated to push onward.

9. Map your goals

Goals without a plan are just ideas. You know what your goal as an entrepreneur is, but you’ll need a mapped out business plan to make that goal a reality.

Every entrepreneur has goals they want to accomplish, the problem is that if we fail to put them down they’re more likely not to happen.

Mapping out your goals and writing them down with the steps of what and when you want to accomplish certain tasks, raises your chances for success by as much as 42 percent.

Whether it’s on your phone or a giant whiteboard in your office, you can look at those written goals whenever you need a motivational kick.

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10. Seek out inspiration

Everyone finds inspiration to help them stay focused, excited, and motivated from sources outside themselves.

For example, Olympic swimming gold medalist Michael Phelps would listen to Eminem to pump himself up before a race. For you, it might be watching Rocky Balboa’s jog through Philadelphia once a week or reading every piece of business and entrepreneurial literature you can get your hands on.

The point is that seeking out inspiration puts us in a positive mindset and having a good attitude is a key for staying motivated and pushing through the tough times.

11. Surround yourself with like-minded people

There are going to be haters and those with doubts about what you want to accomplish. Nobody ever did anything great though by surrounding themselves with short-sighted and negative people.

Surround yourself with likeminded people who also have a desire and drive for success. Find others who share your drive, for example:

  • Join an entrepreneurs book club.
  • Find a local meetup for people in your industry.
  • Seek out entrepreneurs and those in your field online.

In order to see your vision from an idea to a reality, you’re going to need cheerleaders who will root for you, celebrate your wins, and possibly even teach you. Go find them!

12. Create a mission statement

Developing a mission statement can be a fantastic way to stay motivated on what you’re doing and provide direction. It’s important to differentiate that while it certainly incorporates your WHY, it’s not the same as mapping out your goals.

The mission statement is more of a declaration about the impact you want to make.

A good mission statement should summarize your overall goals and values and whom you’re doing it all for. Once you’ve written your mission statement, you may want to consider framing it and putting it somewhere you’ll regularly see it for extra motivation.

Take these steps to write your own mission statement and help yourself stay motivated!

13. Learn from your heroes

The very first entrepreneur on the planet definitely had it rough because they didn’t have anybody else’s stories of success to leverage in their favor.

Fortunately for you, there are countless success stories out there that you can pull both motivation and wisdom from.

Read the biographies of your heroes and the people you look up to. Read the books they read. Watch online interviews with them. Do whatever you can to absorb their knowledge and the wisdom of those who taught them.

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Whatever challenge you might be facing, you’re probably not the first person to experience it. Look to what others before you have done.

14. Give yourself some personal time

Remember how the character of Jack Torrance in Stephen King’s novel The Shining went berserk and kept typing “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Well, as crazy as that character was, there’s some truth to that:

It’s important that you take at least a little bit of time to yourself each day to just stop and chill out.

Find something that you enjoy doing that allows you to decompress and not think about everything you plan to accomplish tomorrow. Whether it’s strumming a guitar, going to the batting cages, or just watching a movie, allow yourself some personal time outside of work.

15. Focus on the positive

There are certainly going to be days when things are not going right and it’s one thing after another. Being a successful entrepreneur is never easy, but it is incredibly rewarding.

Not everyone gets to try and do what they love for a living, but if you give it your all, then you can accomplish your goals.

Even when it seems like nothing is working, try to stop and find at least one thing that day or week that did go right. Channeling your energy towards the positive, rather than the negative will help motivate you to keep climbing that mountain.

16. Remember to have fun

Yes, have fun! That’s one of the reasons you started down this road of being an entrepreneur in the first place. You wanted to do something different than what you were doing and carve something out that was your vision and not somebody else’s.

It’s easy to start your business with excitement and have it become a point of stress, but don’t become that entrepreneur. Remind yourself why you started this journey and don’t be afraid to alter directions from time to time if needed.

Entrepreneurship is a lot like that old saying about life, it’s not about the destination, but the journey. So enjoy it!

Final thoughts

Remember that every entrepreneur is going to find different ways of staying motivated. It’s finding that motivation and focus, however, that every successful entrepreneur has in common.

If you want your business venture to thrive, then it’s important that you not only develop a clear vision of what that looks like, but seek out ways to stay positive and motivated in making it happen.

There may be moments of self-doubt, but remember that the key to success is within you. All you have to do is keep the fires of determination burning.

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Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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