3 Motivational Resources for Small Businesses

by Keetria on July 19, 2016

3 Motivational Resources for Small Businesses
Staying motivated is one of the keys to staying in business. When you don’t give yourself enough of a push to get things done, things start to fall off track. Think about an unmotivated version of yourself to the highest degree – not answering phone calls, deciding to stay in bed all day. How productive is that?

Normally motivation is something that starts to slump off slowly, though. It starts with small shrugs and ignoring your to-do list for one day, but it soon snowballs into something else: full blown apathy.

This is only compounded in a setting where others are also at risk for losing motivation. You can try your best to keep yourself and your employees motivated, but a big problem is that what drives all of us is totally different. Someone in their 40s might find their children and spouse to be what drives them to perform every day, but someone younger may find motivation in the form of trying to pay off those student loans.

What doesn’t change for everyone, though, is general motivation – the kind of motivation that tells them to keep doing what they’re doing for success. This three resource areas can be what kick you and your employees into motivation overdrive.

 

Trade Shows and Conventions

Sometimes what keeps someone from being motivated is they feel like their job or business is stuck in a rut. It isn’t trying new things, so why should they? As a small business owner, you have the power to show them the possibilities are endless, but it can be hard to do this through talks and conversations alone.

What’s the solution? Invest in taking your team to a convention or a trade show. In this environment, you can both take notes as a SMB owner about future possibilities while simultaneously showing off to your team that change is possible, you’ll just have to figure out how to implement it.

 

Motivational Speakers

This may sound cheesy, but motivational speakers CAN work for your team. You need to get rid of the stereotypical motivational speaker image from your mind – the energetic man on stage, screaming faux-zen self-help adages at an audience.

In reality, motivational speakers are often very business savvy. Their main audience is one that is in the business industry, thus they put a business spin on their advice. Topics like success, communication, motivation and confidence are common topics that these speakers cover, and their sermons often include tips and tricks for a more fulfilling business life.

 

Literature

There are a ton of motivational books out there that are geared towards business, but sometimes a problem arises: much like you may not have wanted to read the required reading in high school English class, your employees may feel no incentive to read any books you recommend.

The solution is to invest in a class set, of sorts. Buy enough books for your employees and schedule in meetings or time during existing team meetings to talk about a chapter or concept from the book. This puts more emphasis on the necessity to read the book while also making it a discussion about the motivational, helpful aspects of the book.

Ways to Grow Your Small Business

Growing a business is hard work on your own, and that’s why you hire employees to help. It’s often, though, that businesses in their early stages are generated from a lot of pro bono help and nourishment. Entrepreneurs often get their friends and family to help volunteer for advertising, product making and other tasks that need to be handled when there’s not enough money to pay yourself, let alone an actual workforce.

Your family might be an easier sell, but your friends could use some warming up to. Some friends will jump at the chance to help, but you can’t blame someone for wanting something a little more. There’s an art to convincing your friends to go in with you on a business venture, even if it’s just in the capacity of handing out fliers.

 

Work the Tit for Tat Angle

Not many people are willing to give something away for free. In this exchange model, your friends are giving away their time for you. What are you going to offer them in return?

Whenever your friends help you out, give them something in exchange. It can be free product, a future cut, or even something more creative, like naming a future product or service after them. When you give someone an incentive to help, they’re more likely to do so.

Make it Fun

Sometimes all you need to do to entice someone to help you with your business is give the activity a competitive edge. Get your friends to all try and refer people to your business. Whoever gets the largest number of referrals wins free product, and everyone gets to have a night of drinks to celebrate the success.

Word of Mouth

One area of marketing that people don’t focus enough on in this digital age is the power of the word of mouth advertisement. Your friends have friends, and that’s something you can use.

Tell your closest friends about your business venture, and all you ask of them is to tell their friends. This kind of pyramid, trickle down advertising is how early grassroots movements got started, and the same can be said for your new small business.

Capitalize On Togetherness

Being with your friends is a fun experience in and of itself. When you want to do something for your business, involve your friends not only to help you work, but also to have something to do together. People are often happy to organize fundraisers, make product and commit to other business activities if that’s what they think of it as – an activity.

Ask for Advice and Opinions

When you have friends, you have the perfect opportunity for case studies and beta testing free of charge. For instance, say you have an ad campaign you want to start running. Shoot it by real people you know first before taking it out of the family to market to others. Ask for their real opinions. They may be more likely to be frank with you than a stranger.

5 Desk Items

When you’re at work, it can be hard to be motivated. You stare at a computer screen all day long, pick up the same phone over and over and you don’t have a lot of room to be creative unless you’re working from home. The default uniform for cubicles can be depressing, especially when you’re staring at the same dividers and walls over and over again, day in and day out.

Thankfully most places of business allow employees to have a little sense of self in their workspace, and if you work from home then you’re the boss – you get to put whatever you want in your office, no questions asked. Because you have this sense of freedom, it’s up to you to make your workspace more motivational.

We’ve all seen those little motivational posters and buzzword stickers people put on the walls, but really – are you trying to be motivated or cheesy? Motivation comes from something meaningful and personal, and these 5 motivational items can keep you going all day long, even when it’s a rough one.

Favorite Animal Accessories

Okay, so a little cheese is alright. The companion of an animal is something that most of the world enjoys, so why not bring that cheer into your office surroundings? If you’re the crazy cat lady at home, why not be one at work, too? This doesn’t even have to apply to animals that are typical household pets. If you like sharks or sloths, why not go for that kind of theme too?

The point is to surround yourself with something that makes you happy in a tangible way. Animals are creatures that you can experience, and this can motivate you to work – whether it’s coming home to pet your own kitties or swimming with the sharks on your next vacation.

Photo Stickers

It can be hard to stay motivated with a family portrait that’s too large to bring to work or that can’t be in your line of sight while you’re typing. Something that’s motivational should always be at eye level and something you see or use almost constantly. Splurge on a website that can create stickers out of your photos, and then stick them to useable items that are closer to you.

Money Jar

Why else are you working if not to make more money? Seeing a visual representation of your savings, even if it’s just spare pocket change, can give you an added motivation boost. Bring your spare change to work every day and deposit in your makeshift piggy bank. You’ll feel more productive and driven every time you sit down.

Prompt Books or Calendars

Books like “Wreck This Journal” provide readers with instructions on how they should complete the task at hand – wrecking the journal. These prompts are meant to inspire creativity, and more adult products like those from Listography help capture the same sense of productivity and task-fulfillment. Find something in this same vein and fill out on page or complete one task every day at work.

A Home Keepsake

Sometimes you really just want to throw in the towel and go home, but you’re a responsible adult with bills to pay so you don’t. Still, if you want to keep these feelings at bay, your best bet is to bring your home to work instead. Even a small knick knack that can keep you grounded can really do the trick.

Incorporating Fitness
One common excuse you’ll hear people make for not exercising is that it simply doesn’t fit into their schedule. The fact of the matter is that this is exactly what it sounds like – and excuse. The reality is that you can always find time to exercise, but you have to be able to incorporate it into your schedule.

It’s possible to be fit at all times while still having a busy day, and just because you’re always busy doesn’t mean you’re being fit. Not eating and sitting at a desk all day won’t make you lose weight, and it certainly won’t make you healthier. The trick to being healthy and working is moving and eating right.

The following are quick ways to incorporate fitness into your everyday life while you’re at work, at home or anywhere in between.

  1. In general, move more. If you don’t want to concern yourself with actual legitimate exercises, you’ll have to find ways to be more active without them. Walk the long way around the office, job home instead of driving, or do leg exercises while you’re sitting. If you can find a way to be more mobile, go for it.
  1. Start planning a regular mobile activity. This can be 30 minutes of walking or 15 minutes of cardio. No matter what kind of activity it is, you can easily squeeze it into your schedule.
  1. If you don’t want to give up Netflix night so you can commit to your exercise evening, combine the two projects. You can easily do yoga and watch the latest episode of Narcos. Find exercise methods that still allow you to watch TV or enjoy your other hobbies you’d miss out on otherwise.
  1. Don’t commit to exercises you don’t like. If you hate burpees, don’t do them. There are tons of exercises out there that work every part of your body – enough to substitute one for the other. If you don’t enjoy an exercise, you’re likely to fall off the wagon with committing to it.
  1. If you’re looking to exercise more to lose weight, that’s a noble cause – but your main focus should be on being healthy. When it comes to your schedule, you shouldn’t focus your routine around a certain number of days or sessions in order to lose 10 pounds. You have to make working out and being mobile a commitment that’s long term in your appointment book.
  1. You have to focus on more than one area of exercise. For one day, schedule cardio. For another, strength training. Space these days out and schedule them so that you can have rest days for easier movement in between your harder days.
  1. Always try to get involved with fitness groups. Usually fitness classes have a set time that they occur, and this can make scheduling in a workout easier and more of a commitment than just picking a random time to do some sit-ups in the kitchen.
  1. Choose a time of day to work out and stick to it. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, keep your schedule routine so you’re more likely to work out when you say you will.

Being Your Own Boss

If you’re new to the world of being an entrepreneur, then you likely don’t know how to manage your time like one. There’s a certain science to time management in general, but when you’re an entrepreneur you’ll need an airtight budget on your time. You’re a business owner, and employee and customer service rep all in one – you don’t just have one job, you really have all the jobs.

This means your time is no longer yours unless you work hard to make it yours. Unless you have a tight control on your time limits and management, you’ll find yourself drowning. The charm of being your own boss is supposed to be you write the schedule and you can take as many days or evenings off as you want, but the reality is that without having a mature discipline, you can easily find yourself swamped.

Time management is about give and take and sacrifice. While you may want to sleep in, it’s better to handle your invoices in the morning and spend time for yourself at night. This kind of compromise is what your new schedule will run on, and these three time management tips may be what separate you from a full schedule and a week-long vacation.

Start Analyzing Your Current Time Management

Before you commit to any new, improved schedule, first thing is first – you have to understand where your time is going now and what you’re capable of. Spend one day next week working at full capacity. In a sense, run yourself ragged. This will show you what your maximum capacity is. Now spend the rest of your week as usual. This can be a slow pace or one that’s realistic; whatever you would naturally do.

At the end of this week, step back and compare your starter day to the other days in between. Your time management schedule should be somewhere in the middle. You need to do enough in a day to be productive and you need to be trying hard at it in order to make the most of your day.


Plan Your Downtime

Real people have office hours, and you should too. It’s okay to check your work phone while you’re away from your desk, but don’t schedule yourself for anything when you know you’ll probably have to be ripped away from something else. You have a life, you have to eat and you have to sleep. If you know you won’t be awake before 7 AM, don’t schedule a conference call for 6:30.

This also keeps you grounded. You shouldn’t sacrifice your life for work. You’re working so you can live your life – remember that.


Learn to Put Things Off

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But one important concept of time management is focus. Don’t answer every email that comes in just because your phone tells you it’s there. Don’t pick up the phone when you’re working on something else. There is a time to give everyone your undivided attention, and it’s not while you’re in the middle of giving it to another task.

Is it Really Important to Develop a Lifestyle Brand
What exactly is a lifestyle brand? On one hand, a lifestyle brand is a brand identity that focuses on the ideas, rituals, interests and attitudes of a particular culture or hobby, thus the term lifestyle applies. Lifestyle brands market and sell products and services to consumers that focus their lives and interests around a certain topic or activity.

On the other, any brand can market their advertising campaigns around a lifestyle if they choose to do so. Any product can be targeted toward lifestyle-focused consumers, and some products and services can be marketed to many different consumers with many different lifestyles.

One of the benefits of branding focusing on a lifestyle is that the importance and necessity of the product itself is already described and associated with something important in the life of the consumer. Lifestyle-infused products can sometimes market themselves – marketing teams just need to add a selling point and they’re good to go.

But the importance truly lies in brand consistency – a brand based around a lifestyle is one that has to stay consistent with that lifestyle and cater to the needs of its consumer. Developing a lifestyle brand, no matter what that lifestyle may be referring to, is an important step in the branding process, namely for three important reasons:

  1. Lifestyle, Consistency, Loyalty

Many consumers who use lifestyle brand products commit to one company or one set of products that suit their needs best. Lifestyle branding and marketing is largely centered on convenience and effectiveness – for instance, consider the world of athletics apparel. Active women usually purchase active wear from one company that they trust based on experience. If one pair of jogging pants works very well for them from one particular company, they’re more likely to buy that matching jogging jacket and those athletics shoes made by the same brand.

This can also be applied to the branding itself. When a brand is focused on a lifestyle and consistently shows consumers that it understands that lifestyle, it’s more likely to be successful.

  1. Lifestyle Branding is Consumer Focused

It’s been mentioned before, but branding focused on a lifestyle puts the consumer in the spotlight. Lifestyle brands are there to help consumers make their life easier or more valuable. Revisit the active wear example. An athletic clothing line can be branded in a way that appeals to a consumer that wants to improve their exercising and athletic activities while looking fashionable.

This branding technique appeals to a consumers need for value. Lifestyle branding puts the consumer first and shows them time and time again that they’re there to help.

  1. Lifestyle Brands Show Off Experience

There’s also a certain level of expertise to be shown from lifestyle branding. Marketing lifestyle and lifestyle-based products and services is something that requires a specific focus – there’s no room for general marketing here. Lifestyle brands and marketing strategies hone in on a specific group of people and shows them that they understand the lifestyle AND how to improve it.

This requires intimate knowledge of the purpose and lifestyle being targeting, and this kind of understanding and expertise is something that consumers trust. Lifestyle branding allows businesses the opportunity to connect with consumers in a way that shows them they know what they’re doing and they’re willing to share that information wealth with them.

Lifestyle-focused brand development is something that should be considered carefully, but it’s no less important than other branding and marketing forms. In fact, your lifestyle branding can be your ticket to success – when your consumer trusts your brand, you both win in the end.

How Promoting a Fit Work Environment can Boost Your Business

Being conscious of your health is important for anyone in any walk of life. No matter if you’re a stay at home mom turned entrepreneur or a big-wig CEO at a Fortune 500 company, fitness isn’t something to laugh off. This is especially true in a work environment. Factors like staying sedentary and stress can lead to major health problems, like heart disease, weight gain and overall immune system deterioration – and that’s just a small sampling of the potential risks of staying inactive in the business world.

It’s a common problem that professional women make unhealthy choices because they feel they’re too busy to do what’s right for their health. This can be skipping workout routines, choosing quick and greasy foods because there’s no time to make dinner, or even snacking too much while at work in order to keep their energy up.

This is something that needs to change, but it’s not a change that includes just you. Instead of only focusing on getting your own health in check, start considering a work environment that puts fitness first.

Group Activities Promote Teamwork

It’s always been advised that working out and dieting is best done with a buddy. When you exercise and diet with a partner, you hold each other accountable for your successes. Working out alone means that you can quit whenever you want with no motivation, while doing it with someone else is motivation in and of itself.

This only increases when there are more people added to the mix. Think about a yoga class – you don’t want to be the only one who can’t do a Downward Facing Dog, do you? This same mentality can be applied in a workplace that promotes fitness. There’s a drive put in place that pushes employees to succeed and go beyond their capabilities, which also promotes workplace teamwork. Employees that get fit together work better together.

A Shift from Workplace Boredom

Think about your daily work schedule. There are certainly times where you think to yourself “I wish I could be doing something, anything that isn’t this right now.” Your colleagues and employees think the same thing too. The reality is that bored workers and unchallenged workers stagnate in the workplace. This ennui leads to lower productivity.

This can be fixed with regular breaks that focus on getting that blood circulating. When you encourage others to get up from their desk occasionally and walk around, be it around the block or a quick stroll through the office floors, you break up their boring schedule with something different. This recharges their minds and gives them an incentive to work more.

Science Supports It

Multiple studies have been done over the years that laud exercise and fitness increases productivity and focus. When you exercise, you get your heart racing and your blood flowing. Sitting or being inactive for extended periods of time causes lethargy, which isn’t conducive to workplace productivity, while getting up and getting active gets the brain working again.

Would you rather have a work environment filled with sluggish employees and colleagues, or one that promotes fitness and gets things done?

5 Quick Lifehacks for Getting Motivated
Not every day is one where you’ll wake up and feel bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to take on the day. No, we’ve all had days where we slump out of bed, wish we could sleep another 12 hours and slog through our day, hoping to just crawl back into bed at the end of the day.

Being motivated can be hard at times, especially when you’re exhausted and work-weary. Don’t worry – there are ways to fix you up to be more motivated, even when you’re not feeling your best. These quick and simple lifehacks can be used every single day in order to motivate yourself to be the best you that you can be, no matter how you’re feeling right now.


Little Reminders Everywhere You Go

All you need for this motivational lifehack is a typing program, a printer, some scissors and tape. Go online and find some of your favorite motivation quotes, song lyrics or words. Paste them into your typing program and print out one or two copies. Cut the quotes into strips, then tape them up in areas you know you’ll see them daily. Next to the coffee pot, at the top of your computer – everywhere you look you’ll see something that makes you smile.


Find a Motivation Partner

When you only have yourself to rely on, it can be easy to shirk your responsibilities. However, partnering with others can give you a motivational boost that you can’t achieve on your own. Even if it’s just a couple text messages every day or a five minute phone call, check in with a buddy who also has a goal they’re trying to achieve. Update each other and give each other reassurance that you will succeed.


Commit to Journaling

Sometimes just writing down what you have to do will get you pumped to actually go out and do it. You don’t have to write down every inner most thought you have in your journal – actually, don’t write for very long at all. If you force yourself to write for long periods of time, you’ll get bored and tired of the routine.

Instead, write a couple of short sentences about your goals for the day. This lists your major to-do list items and helps you clear your head for the day.


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to put your money on the line. Think about this challenge: complete your entire to-do list or else you’ll have to put a $100 bill in the blender.

Maybe this is a bit of an extreme when it comes to motivation, but the smartphone app Pact asks for your credit card information in order to help motivate you. If you complete your goals? You’ll be given cash. Skip out on a few? The app will take cash from you. Better not let that hard-earned money go to waste.


Gifts are Great Too

Don’t be afraid to get a little Kindergarten now and again. When you complete a task, give yourself a gift – nothing major, but a little dollar object that makes you happy. Go to your local dollar store and stock up on small trinkets – lotions, soaps, small gadgets and other small gifts that are all $1-$2 dollars. At the end of the month, if you’ve completed a majority of your goals, reward yourself with something a little more expensive as a treat.

These 3 Brand Success Stories Will Inspire You
Is your brand stagnating? Are you having trouble getting your branding to a place where you want it to be? Maybe you’re just uninspired so your creative branding brain is suffering. This is normal in business. We can’t be on all the time, so don’t stress too much.

Instead of focusing on your anxiety, instead focus on getting inspired. Sometimes what you need to get your branding mojo back is to simply looking to others for ideas and inspiration. Influential branding success stories are out there – in fact, there’s more than you can ever imagine. Here are three branding success stories that may just inspire you to make your own brand greater than ever possible.

Shopulse

Have you ever heard of the phrase “branding is so easy, even a kid could do it?” Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something that’s impossible. If you’re familiar with the shopping site Shopulse, you’ll know it’s a site famed for its great flash deals, but what you may not know is it’s the brainchild of a 16-year-old boy.

Raphael Paulin-Daigle is a teen from Moncton, Canada that’s had business aspirations since they first reached the double-digit age bracket. Over the years, he considered the problem that many retailers face: inventory management. Shopulse takes excess inventory from suppliers and uses this acquisition concept to sell goods cheaper to consumers while eliminating the back-stock problems of other businesses.

This kind of brand concept is attractive to consumers who want value both from the financial aspect of their products and the purpose of selling them. It’s also important to note that it’s impressive that Raphael has accomplished so much for someone so young. This is another lesson to learn – the more unlikely your success story, the more consumers will root for you.

 

Hootsuite

One of the best ways to brand yourself is to attach your own image to a popular trend. Not only does this boost the searchability of your campaign, it also infuses some personality and humor into your brand and business. When you show that you’re conscious of pop culture and can take a joke, your business is seen as more personable.

Take Hootsuite’s lead – after they noticed the huge popularity of the HBO drama “Game of Thrones,” the social media management company rebranded the trend as a viral video, “A Game of Social Thrones.” This video focuses on business value while still being humorous and light.

 

Disney

Maybe Disney has a head start with brand image and loyalty compared to other companies, but it doesn’t mean that they can fall asleep on the job. You may not have looked at it like this before, but Disney is one of the largest lifestyle brands in the world, they just don’t sell services or products that offer a tangible help – they sell experiences, magic and family happiness.

This isn’t just something that they do through their cruises and Oscar-winning films, either. Disney offers blog posts and other online content that furthers their family-friendly and experience-heavy brand. What can you take from this? Three things: brand consistency is key to customer loyalty, lifestyle branding is something you should focus on and promote this brand across a variety of mediums.

When you look to other brands for inspiration, always keep these questions in mind: what is this brand doing that could be valuable to me, and how can I take this success and turn it into my own?

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Have you ever noticed how successful people do so much? Maybe that seems a little redundant or silly. Of course they do a lot – they’re successful, aren’t they? But have you ever sat back and thought about the correlation there? Successful people don’t get a lot accomplished because they are successful. They became successful because they were productive in the first place.

CEOs and entrepreneurs didn’t get to the position they’re in now without being productivity gurus. The good news? Everyone can get on their level. Adjust your thinking – don’t think that people are born productive and successful. Anyone can learn some simple skills and lifehacks that can make them more productive than the common man.

The following are a smattering of mental adjustments and tips you can start thinking about every time you look at your to-do list. The more you utilize and internalize them, the further you step onto your path towards success.

  • First, start being more positive. Negativity can be what stifles you more than anything. Start thinking that you WILL succeed and you’ll be amazed by how much more you’ll get one in a day.
  • Start getting organized. This is super basic – but it’s also something that many people don’t do. Spend a day clearing out your desk and setting up an organization system. You’ll thank yourself for it.
  • Scheduling is a big part of being successful. When you set up certain periods of time each day for each of your tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish all of them.
  • How do successful people do it? They have people to help them out. You may not make enough to have five personal assistants, but you do have family and friends to keep you on task. Set up a system that gives you a productivity buddy or two. When you have someone there to help make sure you’re following through, you’re more likely to be productive.
  • Successful people also utilize technology to help them succeed. Whether it’s through a calendar service or apps that help them plan and optimize their day, start saying yes to technology throughout your day – just don’t get succeed into time sink sites and apps.
  • Another trait that successful people have is they’re goal-oriented. While it’s good to be productive just based on principal, you have a better chance at overall success if you have a reason for being productive to begin with. Whether it’s a business venture or a more personal goal, have a reason for your productivity in order to drive yourself to commit to your good habits.
  • Stop being afraid of failure. Successful people have all experienced a bump or two in the road – but does that get them down? No! This may seem a little cheesy, but it’s true. Your probably don’t realize it, but you’re likely afraid of fear and get harder on yourself when you don’t live up to your own standards. Accept failure, learn from it and make the experience something to reflect upon instead.
  • Lastly, successful people stay ahead of the curve. Don’t be afraid to be innovative or try new things. One of the best ways to be successful and productive at the same time is to always look for a new way to optimize your day.