Keeping Your Chin Up for Your Startup

When it comes to running a startup, it’s important to maintain an optimistic attitude for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to keep your chin up when starting your own business, brought to you by Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

When it comes to running a startup, the reality of the business more often than not outweighs the expectations. Conventional wisdom is that entrepreneurs shouldn’t expect to immediately pull the same salary running a business that they did while working for another company. During your first, and probably your second, year of business, most of what you earn is going to be invested right back into the company. On a financial level, that can be really disappointing, especially if you left a particularly well-compensated position to run your own business. But if you let pessimism take hold, it can have a very real, and very dire, impact on your startup – an impact that can easily be avoided if you think positively.

Optimists Make Better Leaders

To lead, you need to be enthusiastic. To be enthusiastic, you need to be optimistic. No one wants to work for the sad sack that spends the day mired in pessimism and regret. Your employees are going to mirror your energy, and if you aren’t optimistic about your company, they won’t be either. In fact, they may feel like it isn’t really worth working at all since the business is doomed anyway, creating a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if your startup salary is a bit lower than you’d like, you should still stay confident and happy – you are running your own company and get to be your own boss! Enjoy yourself, and look for the light even when it gets dark.

Optimists Cope with Pressure

Running a business involves solving a lot of problems. How are you going to turn a profit? How are you going to find new customers? What parts of your business should you invest in? Pay close attention and put in some thought when it comes to answering these questions. If you take a misstep, even once, your brief stumble could become a full-on free fall off the face of a cliff. That puts a lot of pressure on you, but if you remain optimistic, you can adapt and adjust to any situation because you earnestly believe things will turn out okay. Perseverance is one of the very best ways to handle the stress of running your own business. Meet your problems head on, persevere through the rocky patches, and savor the good times when you can.

Optimists See Opportunity

You started your business because you saw an opportunity. Many of you reading may have, in fact, started your business in the middle of a recession, something most people wouldn’t try. Success as an entrepreneur is dependent on the ability to see the broader picture, and pick up on subtle cues and hints as to where a market is headed. If doom and gloom cloud your sight, you’ll convince yourself that your vision is faulty and thus never see any opportunity.

Now don’t get me wrong – irrational optimism is as useless as irrational pessimism. But running a successful startup requires you to believe in the sustainability of your company. The mere act of leaving a salaried job to chase a dream requires an optimistic outlook, so it is up to you to cling to it and continue to let it guide you. Remember to have faith in yourself, and in your business – if you don’t, no one else will either.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.

How to Combat the Back to Work Blues

After a summer filled with holidays, vacations, and lazy poolside barbeques, getting back into a work mindset can be tough. Your employees may still be sporting swim trunks at the office or leaving work early to catch the last beach volleyball game of the season. So how do you get your team focused, motivated, and excited for the rest of the year? Here are a few of our favorite ways to beat the back-to-work blues.

After a summer filled with holidays, vacations and lazy poolside barbecues, getting back into a work mindset can be tough. Your employees may still be sporting swim trunks at the office or leaving work early to catch the last beach volleyball game of the season.

So how do you get your team focused, motivated and excited for the rest of the year?

Here are a few of our favorite ways to beat the back to work blues.

Throw a Party

It sounds counterintuitive, but throwing a back-to-work bash is a great way to help everyone transition back into work mode. A party can serve as a way to demarcate one season from another. In addition to sharing favorite memories from the past quarter, your team can set goals for the remainder of the year and brainstorm ways to achieve them.

Get Busy

The best way to beat the blues is by having something to do. As you assign tasks to your team, feel free to fudge the deadlines and ask that work be completed sooner than it’s actually due. Challenge your employees to work swiftly and offer a nice incentive for doing so – a killer deadline with Lakers tickets at the finish line is a great way to snap out of summer lethargy!

Mix it Up

It’s hard to ditch a lazy summer mindset when you’re doing the same old things you’ve always done. Reassign tasks and responsibilities to get your team thinking in fresh new ways. Create new positions, make subordinates team captains, or partner your lead salesperson with the lowly intern. Even tiny changes can be enough to shake things up and grease the wheels of productivity!

Dangle that Carrot

A big end-of-year prize can be a great motivator after the Labor Day lull. You could pledge a percentage of team sales toward the company holiday party, or offer a cash prize to the quarter’s leading sales person. If your team increases revenue by 20%, you’ll take them to Disney World; if they increase revenue by 50%, you’re all going to Fiji! Get creative with a carrot that benefits the entire team to maximize motivation for the entire group.

Listen

Meet with your employees individually and as a group to get their opinions on the way you’re running your business. What do they love about working for you? What could be improved? If they could change one thing, what would it be? Once you’ve truly listened to their thoughts and opinions, implement whatever you can. There’s nothing more motivating than feeling not only listened to, but truly heard.

Move the Furniture

If all else fails, make changes to your workspace. Having a different vantage point can completely change your mindset, so don’t be afraid to put the marketing department upstairs and move the accounting office to their old spot.

How do you beat the back to work blues?

Image via Flickr