How To Regain Focus & Drive Business Success
If you struggle with pushing your business, you're far from alone. It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day of running a small business and forget to keep your foot on the gas.
To help get you inspired again and looking at the big picture, we rounded up some tips and advice from other successful small business owners.
Looking for another motivation boost? Click over to How to Stay Motivated as a Small Business Owner.
Learn To Delegate
Time is our greatest resource, right? So if small tasks are taking up the majority of your day, find someone who can handle them and put your mind back where it belongs – on running the business.
Kevin Geary, CEO of Digital Gravy, says it best:
"Make sure you're wearing the right hats in your business. There's no better way to kill your motivation than to do all the jobs in your business that you hate or aren't good at (or just wearing too many hats in general). It's imperative that you find the right people, put them in the right seats on the bus, and stick to the business tasks that are in your wheelhouse. This is the best way to protect and feed your dream."
Plan, Plan, Plan
Setting aside time for planning is a great way to brainstorm business ideas and creative opportunities for both the short and long term. It will help pull you from lower-level tasks and keep your eye on the prize.
Look at what your competitors are posting on social media, check out the top players in your space, and read industry publications. Take notes and save ideas you like.
There are no rules and no end-goals, just brainstorm and see what comes to you. Then think through your ideas and see what it would take to make at least one of those ideas come to fruition.
Quinn Osha, founder of Topmarq Inc. suggests setting big goals throughout your planning process.
"Have both realistic and moonshot goals. I find goals really help drive my motivation but I need both to stay on track. The realistic goals help drive me week-to-week to ensure I'm taking the right steps, and the moonshot ones are what I daydream about and keep me motivated over the long term."
Setting lofty goals is what motivates the CEO of Robben Media, Brian Robben, as well.
"Setting a big goal has always kept me motivated. It's only in moments when I thought small that I didn't get to work with high energy every day. Then, literally the moment I set the goal higher, the fire inside me starts burning.
"So if you're a small business owner who is looking for their next step, ask yourself when's the last time you set a huge goal that brought shivers to your body? That will get you sprinting out of the gate to grow your business."
"I make goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly timeline," offers Christine Wang, founder of The Ski Girl. "It's a way to show constant progress. You don't always reach every goal, but when you have them, it can keep you motivated and working hard."
Help, Motivate, & Encourage Others
In How to Stay Motivated as a Small Business Owner, we discussed the benefit of feeding off of others and gaining motivation and creativity through shared experiences. You can get that same benefit by helping others.
When you share your wisdom and try to help someone else, it can greatly empower you to want to do more with your business or spark a new idea. Be the motivational force for someone else, you'll be surprised how much helping others can affect your mindset and get your creative juices flowing.
"I stay motivated as a small business owner by focusing on how I help others," says Emma Easton, founder of Business Bollox.
"Helping others is especially important at the moment. From helping clients win new customers (which has helped them keep afloat) to offering advice and answering questions from people in my network, it's massively rewarding."
If you have a business that helps other people, it can be even more rewarding. Take it from Chris Brenchley, co-founder and CEO of Surehand:
"Whenever I feel down or unmotivated, I think about the purpose of my business. And when I realize that I'm helping individuals get jobs – that's what inspires me to get back on my feet again. I realize that if I can help even one individual with getting a job, I'm impacting the economy as well. I'm putting food on someone's table, money in someone's wallet, and giving someone the security of a job. And that's what makes me want to keep going."
Communicate With Your Customers
"Get feedback from your customers," says Grant Aldrich, founder and CEO of OnlineDegree.com. "Feedback can be motivation to improve, keep being consistent, or reach for more."
One of the most effective ways to get your mindset back on track is to reach out to your customers, like Aldrich mentioned. Your business is driven by their wants, so finding out what more you can offer is an effective way to think outside of the box and grow to meet their needs.
Email a survey to repeat customers or put a poll up on social media. Direct messages are another option if your business already gets questions that way. Talk to those customers one-on-one to hear how they feel.
Repeat customers that engage with your brand may even offer up their own ideas that you can use as a jumping off point. If they love your business, they can likely offer a different point of view to shake up your creative process.
Small business owner Michael Lowe, CEO of Car Passionate, also believes in customer-driven motivation:
"My advice for those who are struggling a little is to focus on the customers' needs. It is a known fact that we are less likely to let others down, so stay focused on the end result. This will help you stay motivated to complete the job/sale."
Push Your Comfort Zone
It's nice to stay where you're comfortable – you're in control and feel secure. The thing is, it gets boring and it's not stimulating. In fact, it greatly lessens your creativity as well as your motivation to try new things.
So how do you break out of something so familiar?
Go for a walk in a place you've never been, or try a new route that takes longer. Find something you've always wanted to do – business-related or not – and try to do it. Or try something silly, perhaps hop on your kid's scooter and ride around the block.
Switching gears to try something different shakes up your brain and gets your neurons firing. Just being outside your comfort zone for a short time can give your brain the boost you need.
If you want to stay focused on your business during a brain break, try thinking big. Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal offers this advice:
"How I keep momentum is to regularly scare myself. I close my eyes and fast forward. I think about a year from today and things looking exactly as they do right now. The realization that in a year's time my team and I have made little-to-no progress causes me to take action and also alleviates my fear of risk."
Take A Step Back
For Charli Burbidge, Co-Founder of Petz, sometimes appreciating how far you've come can be a source of renewed inspiration:
"On days when my motivation is low, I like to remind myself of why I started the website in the first place and how far it's come. A cool trick I like to do is to put the website into the Wayback machine and look at how different and much better it is today! It's a really clear way to show the results of my efforts and it feels good. Looking back can help you go forward."
The same is true for Hamim Moshtaghian. The co-founder & CEO of Elcid Tour says, "Looking back at how far we have come is a fantastic motivator. I try not forget to identify and celebrate each of the little victories on my path of entrepreneurship. Although small victories seem unimportant, they drive success and eventually lead to those considerable champagne bottle-popping triumphs."
Celebrate The Process
"We've turned improving company metrics into a game. The success of breaking records or hitting goals is thrilling for the whole company. There's nothing like seeing your hard work pay off to make you want to come back and do even better the next day," says Dave Carmany, CEO of OnlineLabels.com.
"It makes us ask, 'how much better can we make tomorrow's numbers than today's?' This mentality brings out the competitive nature in our team and creates an enthusiastic workplace where everyone wants to help the company grow."
That can help not just you as the founder, but everyone related to your company. Take it from Jesse Tutt, CEO of Gotta Sleep:
"Another way to keep your team motivated is to celebrate successes. A simple email to the individual is typically best, but if it's large enough, a post on social media can get your team, friends, acquaintances and even customers excited."
If you feel like you've lost your direction, take the time to flex those creative muscles and truly think outside your sphere of responsibilities. It's important to keep your foot on the gas and keep reaching for those just-out-of-reach opportunities and ideas.
And remember, it's ok to start small and think through your ideas outloud. Don't underestimate the benefits of chatting with like-minded professionals. Good luck and keep growing!