When our enterprises aren’t succeeding as well as we’d like them to, it’s very easy to make excuses. Maybe we’re ‘too busy’, or ‘don’t have the capital’, or are having ‘staff issues’. Nobody wants to admit that, actually, they may not be putting in as much effort as they could [1]. However, much as it’s hard to hear sometimes, a huge amount of problems can be overcome with the application of effort. Enterprise success isn’t just strategy, branding, people skills [2], or whatever else you’re bringing to the table. You could be the best-connected, most creative, wealthiest person in the world but, if you’re not able to put in some serious, sustained effort, your enterprise is going nowhere.


But how are you to make this effort? And, if you have trouble sustaining your effort, what can you do about it?

1 – Motivation

This may sound obvious, but it’s easier to make an effort when you’re energised and enthused about something than it is when you’re feeling tired and low. Motivation is, in many ways, the key to effort [3]. To be ‘motivated’ about something is to care about it, to want it to succeed, to enjoy working on it, to be ‘invested’ in it on more than one level. The more motivated you are, the more you’ll want to work on your enterprise, and the more effort you will therefore naturally put in. However, it’s a rare person indeed who can stay motivated 24/7. If you can still summon the energy to put in the effort when you’re at your lowest ebb – that’s when you’ll gain the edge over your competitors. One way to maintain this effort is to try and reduce instances of low motivation (more on that later). Another is to keep your eyes on the prize. Remember your endgame. Picture it clearly in your mind, and hold on to that vision. And always remember – if you can’t sustain your enterprise effort through the hard times, that prize is likely to vanish.

2 – Planning

It is much, much easier to sustain your effort if you have a gameplan to work to, and things are going (roughly) according to schedule. The less things which come flying out of left field to bowl your enterprise over, the more chance you have of sustaining your effort. Unexpected setbacks can sap motivation and drain your effort reserves more quickly than you’d think. So, before you start anything, sit down and make sure that you’ve thought about everything you’ll need to do to make this work [4], covered all the basic overhead preparations [5], and made a rough road map for where you see the enterprise heading. The more prepared you are, and the more issues you can eliminate early on, the easier it will be to put all your effort into moving forward, rather than into fending off problems in the now. Of course, you can never entirely anticipate everything which could happen (and the unexpected is often one of the joys of enterprise!) – but getting the details out of the way, and being at least a little prepared for the eventualities which may befall your enterprise will honestly go a long way.


3 – Self Care

Some people erroneously equate self care with a lack of effort. If you are meditating, taking a nap, going for a walk, having an evening off (or whatever it is that you do to get your head straight), it looks to some as though you are abandoning your enterprise and letting your effort drop. While it is certainly true that you should not schedule self-care sessions at the expense of the business (always ensure that you’re on hand when needed, and that things are completely covered while you’re away!), it is nonetheless equally true that neglecting yourself will do absolutely nothing for your enterprise. We are all human. Humans ‘burnout’ [6] if they don’t get enough time to relax, and don’t treat themselves with the healthy respect that they deserve. It is impossible to be motivated (see point 1) when you are exhausted, unhealthy, and generally miserable. So make sure that you are eating well, that you are getting enough exercise, that you are saving time for decent sleep each night, and that you have recourse to ‘mental downtime’. Without these things, your effort will drain, you will burn out, and your enterprise will suffer.

[1] Matt Mayberry, “Effort Is an Overlooked But Major Key to Success”, Entrepreneur, Jan 2016

[2] Jacqueleyn Smith, “The 20 People Skills You Need To Succeed At Work”, Forbes, Nov 2013

[3] Scott T Rabideau, “Effects of Achievement Motivation on Behavior”, Rochester Institute Of Technology, Oct 2005

[4] Brian Hill, “Business Enterprise Planning”, Chron

[5] Quotezone, “Understanding Business Insurance

[6] Lisa M Gerry, “1o Signs You’re Burning Out – And What To Do About It”, Forbes, Apr 2013


This is a guest article from Gemma Short.

Written by Lara Morgan
Lara Morgan is best known for growing Pacific Direct, from start-up to successful exit, 23 years later. She now invests her time in fast growth companies and represents UKTI as an Export Ambassador, having previously exported to 110 countries. Her vast experience and business knowledge includes specialisms in licensing luxury brands, manufacturing toiletries and selling to the hospitality environment through complex global distribution chains. She's also an expert in leadership and developing talent having learnt through her own experiences of employing 500 employees in an open fast growth sales culture.

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