OK, so this is part 5 in my series of articles on 'How to assess a business opportunity'.
This time we're looking at (cue uplifting music and training montage...) motivation
Motivation is best described as the reason or reasons that anyone does anything.
But let me expand on that just a little: Always bear in mind that 'nobody does anything for no reason', there is always a reason for what people do.
Strong motivation is absolutely vital when you run a business, you need to be very very clear as to why you are doing what you do. Without this you will seriously struggle, end of story.
This means that you need to know very clearly the reason or reasons behind the effort that you make. Especially when things are not going as well as you would like, and I can tell you now that there will be plenty of those times.
So what are the key reasons that people get into business? Many people get into business to make money (in some cases lots of money), some folks get into business because they see it as a way of avoiding working for someone else (to some extent this is my motivation), many people run businesses because they enjoy the freedom of making their own decisions and doing what they want and enjoy.
The thing is, you need to be very clear early on what your motivation is. Why do it? Why put in those long hours? Why work so hard?
Without this clarity you will feel as though you are working for no good reason. When you start a new business you will have to work very hard, you will usually work long hours, and you will often face many challenges that those in employment will never face.
So having a clear reason for doing it all gives you the ability to look beyond the challenges you have in front of you right now and also to understand that the most worthwhile things are often the most difficult.
Now, I've often been accused of being an inspiring and motivational person. This is because I always encourage people I meet who are in business or looking to start a business to really go for it. When you run your own business you begin to realise that your success or failure is often in your hands. This can be very liberating, especially when you wake up to the amazing possibilities open to you in business, but it can also be quite terrifying to those who have never experienced this before. And this is one of the many reasons why many people don't start businesses.
The thing is; when you run your own business there are no excuses, you are the boss, you make the decisions, and you have to be responsible for the action necessary to make your business work. It will be the clarity of your “reasons why” that will help you take the necessary action.
This means that, more than anyone else, you have to be self-motivated. You absolutely have to know what you're doing and why you're doing it.
The importance of this to success is why a whole industry has been developed over the last 100 years purely dealing with motivation. There is half a library of motivational books and recordings available to you to help this.
And bear this in mind: you have to take responsibility for your motivation. Nobody else is going to give it to you. But, as mentioned in the previous article on expertise, this is something that can be learned. Your first tentative steps in business will rely heavily on your level of motivation which has to come from you.
Another important thing to bear in mind is that if your motivation revolves around somebody else then at some point you are likely to come unstuck. I know from my own research that one of the reasons why failure rates on diets are so high is because the person on the diet is trying to lose weight and look better for someone else's sake. It is vital that you have your own reasons.
You have to do it for your reasons and nobody else's. Even if you start a business to feed your family you need a personal reason to do it (and the well-being of family is, for many, the strongest reason).
Interestingly enough, this morning I was at a business event and one of the speakers said that she had started her business not because of any high-minded ambition but simply because she was skint and needed to make some money quickly. As a single mother, I'm sure her motivation was very strong indeed. Now that she's been in business a while (2 years) she's woken up to the possibilities out there from having a business and this provides her with different motivations to develop her business into other areas.
So, think long and hard about why you do what you do. You need to have a very clear and very strong motivation for starting a business. Take it from me, running a business is the best thing you could possibly do in your career but it also far from an easy option.
The previous posts in this series can be found here:How to assess a business opportunity, part 4 - Experience
How to assess a business opportunity, part 3 - Money
How to assess a business opportunity part 2 - Interest
How to assess a business opportunity part 1: Time
I'd love to hear your thoughts on motivation when starting and running a business or for when looking at how to assess a business opportunity so please write them in the comments box below.