Thomas Edison once said that, “Our greatest weaknesses lie in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always try just one more time.” This is the man who claims never to have ‘failed’, rather he simply found “10,000 ways that didn’t work”. And the thing he was looking to work was of course the light bulb.
Starting a new business is an exciting time, but once the new normality begins to kick in and you become immersed in the day-to-day duties that come with running any business, that initial wave of enthusiasm can sometimes begin to waver.
So how do you keep your motivation levels high and keep going after the honeymoon? Here we take a look at three things you should consider:
Remind yourself of why you are here in the first place
You were successful as a consultant and you started your own agency with the belief that you could make your business a success too. And you can – providing you continue to remind yourself of the vision you set for yourself.
We have worked with hundreds of successful recruitment business owners over the last 13 years, and it is their overriding determination to succeed that prevented them from knocking it all on the head when things became too much.
Of course, determination alone is sometimes not enough. Often we find that recruitment business owners look to those around them for support – people who inspire them, can share their experiences of running a business or they are simply there to provide a pick-me-up whenever there is a set back.
You will invariably be familiar with the SMART acronym, but how realistic are the objectives you have set for your recruitment business?
While you may have aspirations to set the world on fire or seek to emulate or even eclipse the success of your previous agency, you need to remember that Rome really wasn’t built in a day. Setting targets that are too high can be demotivating if they begin to feel out of reach.
Success is a long-ball game so be realistic about what you want to achieve, and by when. Focus on weekly, monthly and quarterly targets that enable you to break down those larger targets into easily manageable bite sized chunks.
But don’t just focus on monetary targets; the success of your business is as much to do with the things you do as the assignments that you fill.
Think about other factors that make up your ‘brand’, such as the number of networking events attended, new contacts made, increased levels of social media engagement or how many pieces of media coverage your latest press release generated.
Sir Dave Brailsford, head of Team SKY, describes these things as ‘marginal gains’ – a series of small wins that are critical factors contributing to the success of the business.
There is no denying that starting and running your own recruitment business is hard work, but it would be wrong to think that you need to put in all the hours under the sun to make it a success.
The UK has a long hours working culture, and recruiters are certainly no exception to that. However, research published in 2016 by the Institute of Directors found that this actually does your business more harm than good.
The researchers discovered that almost half of all business leaders surveyed (48%) say they are more creative – in terms of generating new business ideas – when they are at home or on the move, than when they are in the office environment itself. 41% reported lower levels of stress.
By taking time out of the business you become more effective in it. As the report authors said, “Companies don’t think about creative space, but they need it to unwind…to de-stress, to think and to be creative [and effective].”
You are invested in your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the biggest investment you have made is in you. It is you who started it and it is you who will determine its eventual success.
But being invested and being overworked are two very different things.
It is important to take time out of the business every so often to recharge the batteries and take a look at the business without the every day distractions of office life.
Only then can you ensure that your energy and motivation levels remain at their peak, your ambitions stay on track and you identify ways that will challenge you in different ways. As Richard Branson said, “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself.”