The first half of this year has been full of conversations. I have met with almost 200 business owners about the opportunities and challenges they face day to day. Listening to those who felt they had no one else to talk to, advising those who thought seeking help wasn’t an option, and guiding those not heading where they knew they should be.
Reflecting on some of the amazing success stories I have seen over this time helped me recognise two really big factors that, when combined, separate businesses that grow from those that don’t.
Having a plan has consistently been the number one factor in the successful businesses I have had the privilege of working with so far this year.
Now, when I say plan I don’t mean a 75 page document capturing your whole business outlook for the next 5 years, although these are a must when understanding your profitability, selling a business or raising funds.
What I am referring to is a simple plan. One that gives you an understanding of where you are today, and what you want to have accomplished by the end of the day, week, month or year. We all have goals in mind, but to actually achieve them there needs to be clarity around the actions that must be taken to make them a reality. This is where planning for success makes a difference.
One of my favourite examples of planning for success came from a small business owner who contacted me a week after an initial session to share that she had already accomplished more in five days than she had in the two months prior. She spent the first day outlining what was to be done, and then dedicated time to making sure it happened over that week. She accepted that certain distractions were unavoidable, but by having an outline of what was to happen by the end of the week, it was easier to revert to productive activities instead of straying off track.
Setting your plan, and then delivering on it, is not easy. It takes discipline to implement this practice, but the benefits have been consistently showing up in the businesses I have been working with who are using it as a tool to succeed. Not only does it clarify your direction, it also helps to avoid distraction and assess the true value of new opportunities.
Finding, and then holding onto motivation is such a massive part of achieving success in anything we do, but the barriers to remain motivated are never ending.
Seriously, how much fun is procrastination? Surely Netflix is only successful because it fuels our ability to avoid what we know we must do.
When I meet a business owner that is truly driven to succeed it is inspiring. They can so clearly articulate what it is that keeps them driving forward. They are always learning from failure and accepting that the journey is never going to be an easy one. Using every challenge to keep motivated and having faith in their abilities to find a solution to the boundless problems that arise.
The thing is; we all find motivation differently. Some gain it from family, working hard to give those closest to us the very best. Others are driven to be the very best at what they do, or to help as many people as they can. I see a wide variety of motivations in my work, but unfortunately more people have lost this drive to succeed than are using it to move forward.
The challenge I try and set for all business owners is to not only identify what you are working towards, but understand why you are working towards it. This ‘WHY’ is your motivation and it can be the biggest difference between the success or failure of your business.
Simply put, when you combine your motivation with a simple plan the results can be amazing for your business. So many successful businesses are leveraging these two factors as the fuel to reach their goals and see continuous growth.
Leading into the second half of this year, I would like to challenge you to take stock of what motivates you and spend some time setting your plan. To hold yourself accountable set a time to revisit both factors in a week or a month, and you might just be amazed at the results you have achieved.
I would love to hear how this helps you or your business and if there are any other factors you consider just as crucial to your businesses success.