How to Stay Motivated While Running Your Small Business

Lee Polevoi by Lee Polevoi on March 14, 2013
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When your small business is flourishing, staying motivated is rarely an issue. But when you’re experiencing setbacks or feeling like you’re in a slump, your personal drive may take a hit.

Here are seven tips for staying focused on your dream and reinvigorating your entrepreneurial spirit.

1. Find your original spark. Has it been a while since you thought about what inspired you to start a business? Was it someone you met? A seminar you attended? A vision you had while on vacation? Reconnect with that person or experience to reignite your entrepreneurial spark.

2. Set new goals. Working toward business goals — and achieving them — is a sure-fire motivator. Write down three to five short-term goals with specific deadlines for reaching them. In addition, break down two long-range goals and into manageable daily or weekly tasks. Track your progress. With each step forward, your interest and self-confidence are likely to increase.

3. Celebrate your successes. Take pride in what you’ve already achieved. Recall how good it felt to reach a milestone in your career, to become a small-business owner, or to make a life-changing decision.

4. Seek inspiration from others. We all admire and look up to someone, either in our personal lives or on the world stage. For example, many entrepreneurs have been moved by the achievements Steve Jobs or Richard Branson. The more you learn about how other successful innovators overcame their obstacles, the more motivated you’ll be to attack your own challenges and setbacks.

5. Just say no to negativity. When external events prevent you from reaching a goal, try to avoid falling into a negative mind-set and losing motivation. Instead, adjust your thinking and look for the opportunities these events may create. Surround yourself with positive influences, too. Trade bad-news media coverage for feel-good motivational tapes. Listen to music that lifts your spirits. Avoid friends and colleagues who exude negativity and hang out with upbeat, ambitious people who have the desire to make their dreams a reality.

6. Break out of your routine. At some point, almost every small-business owner feels stuck in a rut. To get out of yours, shake things up. Be creative. Find new ways to tackle your everyday business processes — or, better yet, delegate them to a responsible employee.

7. Take a break. Perhaps all you need to get motivated is a little time off. Do something that has nothing to do with your business: Exercise. Read. Take a class. Enjoy that long weekend away you’ve been promising yourself. Recharge and reconnect with your underlying passions for the job that originally propelled you forward.

Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning business writer specializing in the challenges and opportunities facing small business. He is former Senior Writer at Vistage International, a global membership organization of CEOs.

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