From my experience, entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch by nature. They see opportunity; they grasp it.
Yet the not-so-simple journey from startup to growth requires relentless hard work and unshakable commitment.
Of course, there will be high fives and heady moments of rapture in the bar. But the reality is that before we get to the endgame, we must first face the Slough of Despond — and often at times when we least expect it.
“That’s business”, they say. “Just grow a thick skin.”
But that’s much easier said than done. If entrepreneurs are to avoid becoming overwhelmed or burning out, developing resilience and a strong and positive mindset are an absolute minimum requirement. So here are some tips for staying optimistic that I’ve gathered over the years I’ve run my business Enterprise Nation.
Celebrate the challenges of the journey
When running a company, there are people and cash flows to manage, clients that need attention, and the relentless need to sell, sell, sell. How you approach these challenges can have a big impact on how difficult they are to handle.
I’m a firm believer in throwing your head up to look at the sky, not a laptop. Sometimes, you have to take time out to work “on” the business, not just “in” it. So write down the challenges and solutions, enjoy the quiet moment and the view, have a coffee, and consider it a learning process en route to your goal.
Boost your self-belief
Everyone has a great idea, but anyone who has the capability to start a business is amazing — you’re already in the minority and doing something that many dream about but do not pursue.
But business owners often struggle to realise how amazing they are, and don’t take time to celebrate the milestones. Ambition leads to self-criticism; success is never enough.
Creating short and medium-term goals helps with this. Celebrate when you reach your target, whether that is bringing in a new client or getting paid. Remember how it feels.
Build your tribe
Building a network of small business owners gives you an opportunity to discuss challenges and support each other. This will reinforce your self-belief and is vital to staying positive.
It’s important to have a weekly or monthly opportunity to share what you’re going through. This helps ensure that negative thoughts and concerns don’t linger, provides a sounding board, and builds confidence. That’s why we have committed to offering regular meet-ups for our members.
Understand your ‘why’
Mindsets are built from our view of the world. It’s crucial to know why your business exists.
There are lots of reasons to run a business. Defining the underlying motivation — the reason you didn’t just get a job and are excited to get up every day — provides the foundation of a healthy mindset.
Working with a business adviser to build a plan, for example, can be a reference point so that you can reassure yourself that you are where you need to be — and you’re going in the right direction.
Develop your vision
Having a clear vision for the business allows you to communicate easily with staff, partners, investors, and customers. It’s also a big factor in your mindset.
The battle in our minds is often the greatest challenge that we have to overcome. Develop a clear picture of where you want to be — and visualise it.
Main image credit: Getty