How to stay motivated as a small business owner

Kate Jones
@kateljnes

Motivation is an essential ingredient for small business success, but it can be elusive at times. That’s why knowing how to find your business mojo is so important when the going gets tough. But where to start?

Find a mentor

Grappling with tricky situations is much easier with someone more experienced in your corner. Stephanie Christopher, chief executive of CEO network The Executive Connection, says learning from a mentor is one of the best ways to stay positive

“A mentor is someone who has walked in your shoes, someone who can ‘yes, I was there’ and keep you going,” she tells ShortPress.

Set rewards

It’s much easier to overcome challenges knowing an incentive is waiting for you. Not everyone can afford to line up a tropical holiday, so think smaller and more regular rewards, says small business coach Kate James.

“Have your coffee after you’ve made three phone calls you didn’t want to make,” she says.

“Even the best business operators find it hard to get started, so having something to look forward to helps rip the Band-Aid off.”

Industry associations are great, but the last thing you need is competitors telling you how great their business is going when you’re struggling to find motivation

Join a peer group

Isolation is enemy number one for small business operators. Having no one to bounce ideas off or make hard decisions with can leave even the most energetic entrepreneurs feeling drained.

Christopher recommends joining a peer group so you can trade war stories and solve problems. It’s best to find a group of non-competitive peers, she says.

“Industry associations are great, but the last thing you need is competitors telling you how great their business is going when you’re struggling to find motivation,” she says.

Change your environment

Small tweaks to your office environment can help reinvigorate your approach to your work. Search for ways to change up your routine and refresh your thinking, says James.

“Try taking your laptop to a coffee shop or arranging a walking meeting instead of sitting in the office,” she says.

It’s important to get back to your purpose and understand how the small things fit into the bigger picture.

Get back to basics

Losing perspective can be a major motivation problem. Revisit the original reasons why you set up your small business to reignite your enthusiasm, says James.

“It’s important to get back to your purpose and understand how the small things fit into the bigger picture,” she says.

Tapping into different sources of motivation will help you get through the setbacks and the flat patches every small business operator encounters.

Kate Jones

Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.

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