4. Write your goals down
Those starting out need to be extremely goal orientated, says Lisa Phillips of Amazing Coaching.
Indeed, while business plans are ubiquitous among start-ups, specific goal-setting is often overlooked.
“The goals you set need to be inspirational and centred on the types of clients you want, details of your cashflow or the size you want your business to be by a particular point in time,” says Phillips.
Once the goal is written down, read your goals every day.
“Look at the goal you’ve written down and imagine it’s the day after and consider how that feels. Every time you achieve a small task toward achieving that goal, give yourself a reward,” she advises.
“Also, make sure you tick off tasks throughout the day to keep the passion coming in.”
A reward could be a massage, a couple of hours off, time at the beach or a meal out with friends, she says.
Richard Kuipers turned Two Men & A Truck from a small two-man operation into Australia’s fastest growing family-owned removal and relocation business.
He says it’s vital to reflect on where you want to take your business and how you plan to do it.
“They say that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will lead you there. Draw a map for your business’ journey and set targets.”
Also make sure you look after yourself, so that you eat when hungry and sleep when tired, he says.
“Nurture yourself and you nurture your business as well.”
5. Ask for help
Whether from a friend, business advisor, your partner or family, make sure you ask for help, Kuipers says.
You may spearhead the business, but getting professional advice and reflection from others can be invaluable for your sanity and your business.
“Often we take our business on by ourselves thinking it’s all up to us to manage alone, when there are times we are not actually qualified to do that,” Kuipers says.
6. Pay yourself
Particularly in the early days of running a business, it is important to pay yourself, Kuipers says.
“It’s easy to get lost in paying bills and staff and contractors, outgoings and taxes and end up with little or nothing, which can be disheartening.”
A good rule is to pay yourself 10% of everything that comes in to the business first, and then pay everything else, Kuipers says.
“If you have more left over – great, that is profit,” he says.
“Seeing money build up in your pocket gives you the drive to keep going, feel valued and have a sense of achievement.”
7. Accept failure is part of the process
It’s important to remain positive so negative thoughts don’t take over, says Phillips.
But, at the same time, you need to accept that failure is part of the process, so don’t beat yourself up about it, she says.
“Sometimes people will fail you or you won’t reach your goal, but it’s your job to be positive and push through this and keep reaching for the next goal.”
Emma Grey, who runs work/life balance consultancy WorkLifeBliss, agrees.
“Fear of failure is commonly behind procrastination,” she says.
“Imagine you’ll definitely succeed and plan out the steps you’d take if that was going to be the case. Then take the first step.”
Kelly Brough is the owner of start-up eCommerce site Oola.com.au, which stocks fun toys that teach.
She says it’s important to learn quickly from mistakes and then banish them from your mind.
“Every small business owner will make some wrong choices. It is frustrating, but harping on negatives only eats away at the positive energy that drives us forward. Find the lesson in your mistake, but don’t harp on the bad stuff,” Brough says.
Five essential steps to keeping iron start-up discipline:
- Make a list of tasks you need to complete the following day at the end of each day.
- Write down your goals and read them regularly to remain on track.
- Set some limits around how often you check and respond to emails.
- Allot specific time in your diary to complete urgent tasks.
- Have a work routine and ask for help when you need it.