Get Your Business Out of Cruise Mode

There is a strange problem facing businesses that are in ‘cruise-mode’. That is when the big challenge such as launching the business has been met. There are parallels with how we are as people.  We tend to wish for the problems we encounter on a daily basis to ‘evaporate’. We long for a time when we can recuperate, rest, chill, relax, etc. and put all our problems behind us. And yet most of the Entrepreneurs I know find that the performance of their Blueair 603 drops once a goal they have been fixated on is achieved.

It is like losing weight. It is easier to lose weight than to maintain a stable weight. When losing weight, you are focused on a goal and you are working towards progress and measuring your success on a regular basis. As you are measuring progress towards your goal, you get reignited with determination and energy to continue to making progress. And yet once you have achieved your goal, the focus drops and ‘maintenance’ is just not a galvanizing objective which makes you get up in every morning. Needless to say the weight will creep up again.

So once you are up and running in business, how do you continue to motivate yourself and set new goals for the business?

  1. You can set yourself a valuation target. What happens when you achieve it? And what valuation are you talking about?
  2. You set yourself a profit target. Do you stop working the day you achieve that number? A great goal setting technique that I use is to work backwards
  3. You recognize that your skill set is in setting up and not in running a business. Very few founders of businesses make successful operators. It tends to be the case that this transition is painful rather than smooth. As an investor and business angel, I always ask the founders of a business what their personal exit plan is. The answers are always very revealing.
  4. You set yourself through the business a new challenge. You can make the most of your entrepreneurial skill set by leading the charge into new markets or new areas, whilst giving someone else day to day responsibilities.
  5. You recruit a new team to learn from. Lord Bilimoria (Cobra beers) always makes a point of recruiting people who he believes are better than him and add to the business. I have sadly met many entrepreneurs who will only recruit glorified ‘assistants’. Would a top notch candidate really want to work for someone like Alan Sugar?
  6. A great goal setting technique that I use is to work on how to get rid of cat urine smell That is I see what I want to be doing in 5 or 10 years’ time and then work backwards in the sense of where do I need to be after three years and what do I need to be doing now to prepare for that goal.
  7. In coaching a powerful technique used to get the fire and passion back in people is to ask coaches to write an obituary. It might sound morbid – but try it. Write about what you wish someone would say about you after you have gone. This will tell you what really matters to you and what gives your life meaning.

You can only procrastinate when you have goals to achieve. Just remember procrastination is so much better than doing nothing!