For many entrepreneurs, launching a business can be the most exciting time. Putting so much effort into your ideas and seeing them take form is a great achievement. However, I have spoken to a lot of startups in the past that feel as though they have reached the finish line by simply getting their business off the ground. In reality, this is when the hard work really begins.
After exerting so much energy just to get your business up and running, creating and maintaining momentum after the initial launch can be a difficult and daunting prospect, but a necessary step to ensure sustainability.
Momentum is the measurement of movement that can help decide how high you will go and how quickly you will get there. In business terms, assessing a company's momentum would be accumulating a series of small, but vital, successes one after the other. It can often take a while for a business to establish momentum but once achieved, you will find your company on the steady path to success.
Set your Goals
Being prepared is often the most important, and sometimes overlooked, steps to gaining sustainable momentum in your business. Following the launch of your company, it can be quite tempting to rush ahead without being properly prepared and therefore could lead to a number of pitfalls and setbacks.
Putting together a plan of both your short-term and long-term goals will ensure that you know what is realistic and achievable. It's also important to continue looking back at your plan along the way to allow you to see what you have achieved and your past successes to measure your company's growth and to continue to drive momentum.
Focus on the Results
At it's very foundation, business momentum is based on the results achieved rather than the efforts made. This doesn't necessarily mean that every idea you have has to be a success - failure is to be expected, particularly at the very early stages of starting up. It does however mean that you need to concentrate on the ideas that work and do achieve clear, positive results. By focusing on the results, it allows you to see where you are putting your efforts and to see what is working and what isn't.
"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again" should be the motto for any business owner. It's easy to lose focus and motivation at any sight of a setback or obstacle but it's important to stay positive and celebrate even the smallest of successes. The key to having a successful business isn't just about having a great idea; it's about perseverance and belief in that great idea to help the overall growth and make it a sustainable business.
Dr Stephen Fear, British Library's Entrepreneur in Residence and Ambassador, will be delivering a workshop on creating and maintaining business momentum aimed at young entrepreneurs and startups at Hay Festival, Thursday 29th May 2014.