By Richard Hubble 

Director & Regional Consultant itseeze Gloucestershire  

Running a business is hard! Whether you own the company yourself or manage it for someone else, the buck stops with you… and keeping motivated and positive is sometimes quite a challenge – especially in the very difficult times that we’re all facing at the moment. 
I have been running businesses for most of the last 40 years, so here are a few ‘top tips’ on how to help you stay ‘up’ when you start to feel that things really aren’t going your way. 

Visualise your dreams 

I’m a great believer in having a crystal-clear picture of where I’m going and what I ultimately want to achieve from life – and I don’t mean my business goals (although obviously it’s important to have a proper business plan which sets out how many new customers you want to have by the end of the week/month/year/etc., and how much money you will therefore generate for your business and yourself when you achieve this target). 
What I mean here is your personal goals… places you want to visit, holidays you’d like to go on, that house/car/boat/set of golf clubs/etc. that you’d love to be able to buy, experiences you’d like to have, how and where you want to live out your retirement years, that trip of a lifetime you’ve always dreamed of, and so on. 
Then you need to Google images that reflect these goals and create a ‘dream board’ with these photos on. Mount your dream board on the wall at eye level height right in front of your desk, or next to the front door, so you look at it every single time you sit down or go out to work. This will constantly reinforce your ‘why’ – the real reasons you’re running your business – and will definitely help to keep your motivation level high. 

Establish a routine 

One of the key reasons why people lose motivation is that they get bogged down with having to respond to emergency situations and unexpected demands on their time. This constant ‘fire fighting’ can be extremely demotivating, as it creates a culture that you’re out of control of your business. 
One of the best ways of reducing this is to have a regular routine which includes an hour each day of ‘unallocated’ time. You then feel much calmer because you know that, if/when a fire fighting situation comes up, you’ve already set aside that hour to deal with it. You therefore feel completely in control, you don’t get fazed when something unexpected is thrown at you, you become more efficient in your time management (which is especially important if you employ staff, as they invariably take their lead on handling crises from the boss), and if an emergency doesn’t come up, you’ve got an extra hour in the day to focus on something on your ‘long list’ of things you’ve been meaning to get round to! 

Surround yourself with positive people 

This one is a no-brainer. It’s very hard to feel down and unmotivated when the people you’re working alongside and spending time with are all upbeat, constructive and encouraging. 
I find that business networking groups are excellent for this. Arranging to meet with a bunch of like-minded, successful local business people every week is a great way of getting a regular injection of positivity – not to mention the additional business recommendations and opportunities you’ll start to receive once they know, like and trust you! 
Similarly, if you find there’s a particular person or group of people who constantly seem to find the bad news in any situation, or who are always pessimistic about your chances of success, then stop seeing them. Don’t waste your time and energy on people who don’t share your enthusiasm for the fantastic opportunities that life can give those who look for them! 
Note: This is especially true for your employees. Make sure the people you hire are naturally of a positive outlook, and if they don’t fit into this culture of optimism, don’t delay: help them to pursue their success elsewhere. “The team is only as strong as its weakest link”, and all that… 

Get a coach and/or mentor 

Running your own business can be quite a lonely place. Simply because of your position, the rest of the company’s employees will all expect you to know what you’re doing, so you can’t really ask any of them for advice or guidance if you’re not sure what the next best step is for the business. And of course, if you’re a sole trader, there literally isn’t anyone else to ask anyway! 
That’s why I think it really helps to get a business coach and/or a mentor. Someone who doesn’t work directly for or with you. Someone who has experience and knowledge that you don’t have. Someone who will keep you accountable for the actions you previously committed to take. Someone who has your best interests at heart. 
Whenever I’m feeling a touch of uncertainty rearing its ugly head, I always find that calling my mentor helps me to re-set and go again. He keeps me motivated and positive, and will give me the proverbial kick up the backside when I need it! 

Act happy! 

We’ve all heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it”. There’s a reason why it’s so widely known. It works! 
I’ve run sales teams for many years. There is no doubt that the sales people who are positive, enthusiastic, high energy; the ones who always have a smile on their faces; they’re always the most successful. 
So, even if you don’t feel great, even if business isn’t all it could or should be just at the moment, stick a smile on your face and ‘act happy!’. It will change your fortunes for the better every time… I promise! 
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful. If you’ve enjoyed it and felt it was useful, please share
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Here at itseeze Gloucestershire we specialise in business-winning, new sales enquiry-generating web design and support services for small and medium-sized organisations in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Cirencester, Tetbury and the surrounding area. 
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