One of the biggest challenges facing the founders of a start-up is to keep your team motivated. While employees can remain motivated by their paycheck, the founders are only motivated by the future prospects of the business. Founders, more than anyone else, may lose focus. Assume that the principals of a start-up will make little to no money for at least two years. Financially, can you handle that? Being involved in a start-up is not just about committing to an idea, its an intense financial commitment, an intense financial commitment with huge risks.
There aren’t a lot of tips for maintaining a high level of motivation for the founders of a start-up venture. Generally, there are two goals for anyone who has taken the leap and started a new venture: 1) you want to change the world, or 2) you want to make money. There’s a reason why persistence and patience are cited as among the most important attributes for a start-up entrepreneur. These attributes are needed to maintain the necessary level of motivation. Unfortunately, the lofty aspirations of an entrepreneur won’t be achieved in short duration. They will take years to cultivate.
Be upfront with yourself as you launch a venture, understanding that it will be a long journey with many ups and downs. To help ensure the proper level of motivation set a series of short-term goals that will help you move towards your long-term objective. The ability to successfully conquer these short-term goals should keep you grounded and highlight your ability to succeed. When motivation starts to wane, bear in mind your progress and how well you’ve been able to tackle your stated objectives.
Should you falter on your way towards your short-term goals, use this as a time for self-reflection. Are you on the right track? Is your strategy working? Are changes necessary? Often a change in strategy can serve as an injection of energy in a new venture, helping to boost morale and ensure the proper level of motivation.