Over the last 20-plus years running a small business with my business partner, I’ve learned how difficult it is to stay motivated at times. Aside from meeting payroll and keeping the business viable, there are things there that keep you motivated and encouraged. Here are 5 simple ideas on how to possibly spark some motivation or inspiration amongst the deluge of tasks you may be buried under.
1. Engage with your clients/customers at a more personal level.
While in business, communication between you and your customer should be constant. Everything from the cleanliness of your establishment to the tone of your voice is creating an opinion either consciously or subconsciously. Their perception of your business in some ways is out of control unless you take steps to improve it. Taking time to talk to your customers creates a more powerful connection that you can actually control. A nice chat with your customer can be a great source of inspiration as well. Customers are able to offer you feedback that will help you find more ways to improve your business. New ideas can come from anywhere and creating opportunities for them is essential if you are hoping to reinvigorate your business. By opening channels of communication with current customers, you’ll be able to provide for a better customer experience that, in turn, will make your work experience much more enjoyable.
2. Reset and reevaluate your goals.
If you’re feeling unmotivated, take some time to evaluate your current goals and write them down. Set attainable goals. You need to be able to approach them in a meaningful way. Be realistic; if your goals are big or overwhelming, they become a burden rather than a destination. Break them down into smaller milestones to make them more approachable and manageable and keep reevaluating them as your business progresses. Businesses change as they grow. Even a new employee can create a significant change in the progress of your work — hopefully for the better. You can easily find motivation when you are working toward smaller, more realistic goals.
3. Reflect on why you started your business.
Anyone who knows me professionally knows this one is important to me. There is nothing more important than remembering those early fires that fueled a thing as significant as launching a new business. Remembering your mindset then and applying it to the now is a great way to blow the cobwebs off your business approach. Is the problem your business was solving still the same? Or has it changed with the times? Have you changed? Is there a new problem that fits within the scope of serves you provide? Taking time to step back and look at the big picture can provide that motivation. Looking back at where you started is a good way to remind yourself of how far you have come and allows you to measure how much you’ve already accomplished. Seek inspiration from your own small business success!
4. Seek business inspiration from your peers.
This one is a big one. Every member of my staff at some point has been a big source of inspiration for me in work and life. One of the reasons this is true is we hire people based on what we can and cannot teach them. There is teachable talent and unteachable talent. The unteachable stuff is always the best. Keep that in mind when building a team. They have a bigger impact on your business than you may realize. You also have a network of entrepreneurs and small business owners to talk to can be an invaluable support system. Not only can you give each other advice and feedback, it’s also encouraging to hear you’re not alone in your struggles. Join small business owners associations or meet-ups and go to networking events to build your connections.
5. Think about the impact your business has on the community.
How valued are your contributions? Small businesses have provided 47% of jobs in the United States and represent more than 99.9% of all employers. Think about your business as a catalyst for positive change. It has more impact in your community than you can even imagine. A very wise man taught me that when you are feeling uninspired and looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, all you need to do is be that light and inspire someone else. You can literally feel the pressure and worries lift off your shoulders when you can be someone else’s support.
Our need to find clear and new roads to explore is important. These are five ideas. I’d love to hear more that work for you.
Alex Raffi is Imagine Communication’s partner and creative director, not to mention its endless source of creative energy.