Small Business Owners: Here’s How to Stay Motivated

small business motivation

When running a small business, motivation is critical and often a deterrent to your success. Temporary setbacks and exhaustion increase stress levels, which leads to complacency and an inability to achieve our goals. Worst of all, it can spread to others. Feeling unmotivated is a way our body tells us that we need to be doing better things—a need for achievement. That’s why it’s important to understand what motivation is and how it affects us.

What Are Your Incentives?

Incentives are attached to motivations and can influence our behavior. We learned from an early age that achievement brings rewards. They direct us toward positive outcomes and away from negative consequences. Not everything that we do is tied to an incentive, but much of what you do at work and in your store is.

There are two types of incentive-based motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. For small business owners, common examples of extrinsic motivation are autonomy and money. We tap our intrinsic motivators when we do something simply for the enjoyment of doing it. Exercise and volunteering are two great examples of doing something to feel better about ourselves. Every day these give us that get-up and go attitude to take on the world.

What Motivates You?

Many of our everyday tasks make us feel good. And, we know that if we don’t do them, then we end up feeling bad. Why? Because we don’t have a feeling of accomplishment, which in turn makes us feel overwhelmed. Our schedules are so busy, and we are pulled in so many directions during our day that it keeps us from being able to do what we need to do to feel good. This has a snowball effect, and eventually we lose the motivation to do what needs to be done.

Some incentives can motivate you more than others. Not all are created equal. So, if you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, then you may need to know what inspires you to do more.

Break Goals Down into Smaller Targets

One of the best strategies to stay motivated is to break goals down into more manageable chunks. This reduces stress and chips away at those major projects that seem to never end. Each milestone helps us feel good about being on task and getting one step closer to the end.

Small goals allow you to change course and be more adaptable to challenges that may pop up along the way. It also lets you get the help you may need to move forward quickly and efficiently.

Celebrate Big and Small Accomplishments

A huge part of being motivated is the reward we receive when we reach a goal. This can be as simple as treating yourself to some free time or celebrating with your employees. Rewarding ourselves for our accomplishments actually triggers a response in our brains that make us feel good. Plus, a celebration marks the end of a task and the start of something new.

Make a Plan

After celebrating, you can reflect upon what needs to be done next and make a plan. A written agenda provides you with a roadmap toward success. If you give yourself time to think about the process and any roadblocks in the way, then you may spark new ideas on how to save time and money.

When making your plan, always keep in mind that deep, meaningful motivators are intrinsic and give us the drive to succeed. Research has shown that intrinsic is more powerful than extrinsic and tied to very successful businesses. This helps remind us that owning a business is not just about money, it’s about the journey toward personal success.

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