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How to stay motivated as a business owner

Business is about moving forward – if you’re only treading water, you’ll soon find yourself way behind everybody else. Sometimes, though, it seems that this is easier said than done, so we’ve devised some great tips on how to stay motivated as a business owner.

By its very nature, your role as a business owner makes you a leader, even if you only have one member of staff. You’re the one steering the ship, and often also the one feeding the furnace to keep it going. This means that when things get tough, it can be easy to lose heart, and before you know it, despair and apathy set in. The question of how to stay motivated as a business owner, when you’re trying to be your own inspiration, is a knotty one indeed, but a few simple steps can help you to take control.

First of all, keep your eyes on the prize. Remind yourself of your business plan (check out our article on why a business plan is important) and stay focused on what you want to achieve. Remember the excitement you had when you first started out, and take stock of all the things you’ve achieved so far – even small things can make you feel better about the progress you’ve made to date.

Stop making excuses. If you find that your business’ growth is being stifled because certain important things aren’t getting done, it may be a sign that you’re procrastinating. When considering how to stay motivated as a business owner, you have to be unflinching in your analysis of your own behaviour, and don’t justify inefficient work when you know, deep down, that you’re just putting off the parts of your work that you don’t like.

Don’t be afraid to bargain with yourself if you find that this helps you to get things done. If your to-do list is full of unpleasant tasks, offer yourself a reward for doing them. For example, get those difficult phone calls out of the way and treat yourself to a nice lunch – even a small incentive can spur you on to accomplishing tasks you might otherwise avoid. The big picture of running a business might be a daunting one, but if you work on some smaller tasks you can get a great feeling of success without running yourself into the ground. Small victories will often give you the drive you need to achieve the bigger wins.

Many people answer the question of how to stay motivated as a business owner by engaging in useful conversation, rather than struggling alone. When you’re not sure of how to proceed in business, it can be easy to retreat into your shell and do nothing, whilst pretending that you’re “just having a bit of a regroup”. Working with a mentor is an excellent way to maintain perspective and stay focused on what you want – and need – to achieve. Left to their own devices, many business owners don’t have anyone to share their ideas or concerns with; relating these thoughts to an external mentor is a great way of getting feedback and advice, and can keep you motivated about moving forward.

When battling with the issue of how to stay motivated as a business owner, it’s very easy to find yourself feeling drained. You’re the one making the decisions, and the buck stops with you – it seems overwhelming, but it really doesn’t have to. Look at each day as a step forward, and be realistic with yourself. You can’t achieve everything in one day, and nor should you try to. Remind yourself of why you wanted to start out in business in the first place – it’s to be your own boss, so that you don’t have to be resigned to 9-to-5 drudgery. It might be hard sometimes, but the prospect of staying in control of your life, your business and your future is surely the best reason anyone should need for staying motivated!

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