Sometimes in business winning is simply staying in the game through countless losses until you win the big victory. That is exactly what Brian Young, CEO of Home Painters Toronto, discovered:
"It's a mind game and mental battle from start to end and never gets easier," he said.
Brian was named the 2015 Small Business ICON by Infusionsoft for growing his long-declining business by 350 percent in under three years, in large part by automating almost everything. I asked Brian to what he credits such a turnaround, and he named five mental tools that he employed. Interestingly, he credits these five tools not for his recent success but for helping him remain in the game through 15 years of struggling sales until he turned things around.
1. Great role models.
Having a role model can make or break an entrepreneur, and even more so when you can connect with them, tap into their ideas and draw on their inspiration. One way to connect with role models is to reach out to influencers and tap into their power in the marketplace. Another is to engage them in expert interviews to help grow your business. These are two great sources of role models, because they are the people you have already identified as having influence and expertise in your niche.
If you have not identified role models in your niche, and even if you have, there are well-known role models like Zig Ziglar, Bill Gates, Tony Robbins and Mark Cuban to draw on. You might even know someone who has been successful in some way, such as a parent or a relative.
2. Motivational speeches, movies and quotes.
Thanks to modern technology, you can go onto YouTube and search for “motivational speeches” or “entrepreneurship motivation” and find enough material to keep you pumped up for months. Try this tool when you are feeling down and need to pump up your mood.
3. Self improvement courses and audios.
These not only help motivate and provide mental inspiration, but they also contain seeds of ideas that can help on the practical side as well. Brian Young allots a budget every year for courses, and it's the one budget item he doesn't mind surpassing, because he figures that it increases his sales. Among the top programs that have benefited him the most are Tony Robbins' Business Mastery I and Chet Holmes' five-day intensive seminar Business Growth Masters; Core Story.
4. Peer groups.
Let's face it, there will always be plenty of nay-sayers around you. You need to surround yourself with peers who share your conviction and drive, who can cheer you on and give you advice based on their own experiences. I belong to "mastermind" groups on Skype. We bounce ideas off one another and share resources that we find helpful, or just rant when we need to get something frustrating off our chests in a supportive environment.
5. A business coach.
The best thing about a coach is that you are not doing things alone. You have an outside view from someone who can help guide you in the direction you want. It was the decision to hire Mike Torgerson from Financial Breakthroughs in 2011 that lead to the modernization of Toronto House Painters.
Automation was the direction taken in Brian's case, but he might have found his needs to be different. Mike tells of one client he helped turn around by restructuring the compensation plan to reduce overtime costs. The important thing is to get the support of a coach when it is needed.
"Most people can't do this themselves because self-analysis is extremely challenging, if not impossible," Brian observes. "As a coach, I have a coach too for this very reason."
In some ways, Brian's own story is typical, and there are many small businesses that could learn from his experience. A small business starts with a dream, but the owner is strapped for resources and plods through. In this case, Brian spent hours going door-to-door, cold-calling homeowners in search of clients, and personally controlling every aspect of his business.
"This felt like a slow painful death of my business and I could feel my market share declining more and more every day," he said.
His epiphany was certainly not typical -- the punch in his face when he interrupted a man during dinner. He decided that he had had enough. But "enough" did not mean quitting. It meant hiring a business coach. Although Brian's solution was to get online, it was not an online marketing coach that Brian hired. He chose a coach who specializes in "helping companies prepare for transitions by knowing the road ahead for the next phase of business."
With entrepreneurship at an all-time high, it is worth asking if the new breed of entrepreneur is mentally equipped to take on the "next phase of business" challenge. These five mental support tools helped one entrepreneur stay alive through enough losses, and remain in the game long enough to win the big victory. They could help you, too.
Running one's own business is a constant battle, and it doesn't hurt to be well-equipped to face the long-haul mental struggles of entrepreneurship.
Related: In Branding, Play the Long Game