Keep Your Eyes On The Prize: How To Get And Stay Motivated With A Startup

by Demetri Demascus

One of the simplest ways to track progress and move your business forward is by learning to set and achieve rational goals. Achieving goals builds the path to success. With each achieved goal, you are one step further down the line towards your vision of success.

Set benchmarks for yourself and reward yourself when you reach them. Nothing feels more satisfying than reaching a common goal. Remember how great it used to feel when you finished your final exams? In business, there is no end (unless you sell out); thus, setting benchmarks is the only way to create an atmosphere of success.

Start a company culture in which you and your coworkers ruthlessly pursue and achieve your benchmarks. Reward the team when you reach them. Maybe for $10,000 in sales, take the entire team for a night out on the town. Take a break and step back to enjoy your achievement.

Tomorrow you can get right back to building the business, but enjoy the growth and hard work that you have invested. It will keep you focused and excited, as well as maintain an inspired mindset across the entire team at your venture.

Not only that, start-up life can be a lonely, rocky journey. Instilling some fun every so often is essential for both your and your coworkers’ morale. Keep everyone involved and working hard to achieve the next reward.

Keep your goals realistic. Don’t drive yourself crazy or set unattainable goals -- this can backfire. If you never feel a sense of accomplish by setting outlandish goals and benchmarks, what is the point? While a small goal, such as closing five small boutique distributors, might not feel like you have grown the company in any significant way, it is still an accomplishment, and reaching it allows you to see your success and set new goals.

These goals will also allow you to gauge the seriousness of your venture. For example, if you need to work a job in addition to your start-up until you feel that a full-time investment is a smart or rational choice, maybe set a goal of $20,000 in revenue. This will be the point where your venture turns from “hobby” to “business,” and it is time to get serious.

Setting these large goals, though, is essential to long-term growth. These goals should outline where you want your business to be long term. All of your other, more rational goals should be building blocks to your ultimate goals. Maybe it is to close the largest distributor in your field, or maybe it is to lockdown a multi-million-dollar client.

By making each goal an achievement on the road to this ultimate goal, you are creating a nice, organized path to your ultimate vision. You will be able to see how close you are getting to your major goals, and it will keep you on track. So much happens in a start-up, and you have to wear so many hats, that sometimes even the simplest visions never come to fruition.

There is no corporate ladder to climb, nor is there anyone telling you what the next steps are. It is entirely up to you, as well as your job, to make sure that you grow on the right path.

Start-ups rise and fall with the entrepreneur’s ability to stay organized and diligent to keep working towards a common, major goal. Keeping an organized set of goals on the road to a single vision is essential to making sure you reach that goal.

An easy way to set goals is to look at similar companies. How did they grow? Did they reach certain sales or distribution footprints in a certain amount of time?

Look at these companies. They most likely have done a lot of the work for you in terms of where to sell, where to advertise and which leads to pursue. Try to find a case study or a blog describing the growth. See what steps they took and see how it pertains to your business. This should outline their goals and how long they took to achieve them.

Setting goals and having rewards is not necessary, but if you learn how to create a motivating goal structure, you will lay out a path to success. Keep yourself and your co-workers inspired. Give everyone something to look forward to and something to achieve. People feel good when their work is recognized and you will get the best out of yourself and your workers.

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