What comes to mind when you think of momentum?
Do you imagine a car coasting down a hill, gaining speed as it travels?
Or does your mind pivot to a sales call where you’re laying out all of the potential benefits your service could provide to your customer, who grows more excited with each benefit?
Momentum can be a broad term that means so many things to different people. In sports, it’s a great play or a sudden stroke of luck. Each player’s focus shifts as the momentum builds. This happens in life, too. For example, you start exercising more, which leads to more confidence, which leads to positive relationship building, which leads to bigger opportunities. How about in business though?
For entrepreneurs, it’s the ultimate goal: to reach a point where everything you try succeeds almost effortlessly. One small win leads to a bigger win, and another, and another. Then there’s the opposite of momentum, which is when things don’t go as planned. Everyone in the company is giving their full effort, but it seems like they’re running through quicksand.
While there is a time in business to pause and reflect, we all know this world moves exceptionally fast. How can you build off of each win and keep the relentless forward progress in full swing?
AN UNBREAKABLE BRAND FOUNDATION
A brand encompasses so many different things. How do employees describe the company culture? Are you chasing the latest trend or are you guided by what you truly believe in?
Externally, how do consumers describe your brand’s communication? The trouble often comes when companies have too many messages. They take a look at their competitors and want to portray those benefits too. They only end up losing because these varying messages make them come off as a company that isn’t able to define its position in the marketplace.
Momentum has nothing to push off of without a solid brand foundation. Take the time to build yours.
KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING
Where do you see your company in 10 years? Dial back from there. What are your one- and five-year plans? Not just number-driven metrics, but customer satisfaction and the effect you want to have on the world. Define it for yourself and make it attainable.
Do employees come into work to punch their 9-5 card, check off the next day of the week, and count down until payday? Help your employees define their own “why” and integrate it into your hiring practice and quarterly goal setting.
Without a clear company vision, momentum is a lot like a car careening down a steep road: it’s doomed to crash at some point.
The first two principles come with planning and foundation building. But what about the unpredictable? You can bet that momentum will thrive when you’re taking chances. Think about the excitement, the unknown, and your willingness to bring in a new product and a new target market. Building excitement should become a new challenge for your employees.
If you get to a place of steady growth, that’s when you start to see the momentum stall. Cash flow is predictable, clients are satisfied, all seems well. But sooner or later a new player will enter the market. Pioneers tend to live on the ship of momentum due to their natural refusal to settle.
RIDE THE WAVES
No company in the history of growth tracks has ever “gotten there” without a setback or two. They’re going to happen. It’s the fallbacks you have in place and your ability to overcome adversity that will determine how long you spend stuck.
Momentum is a mindset; an attitude. Even when things have been stagnant, you’re still pushing forward by honing your company’s unique position, believing in the vision, and taking risks.
ARE YOU PROUD OF THE MOMENTUM YOU’VE BUILT, OR CAN YOU DO MORE?
When starting a new business, there will be those who push things forward. There will also be those who settle or freeze when things go awry. Try to build a culture that avoids these types.
While most businesses celebrate wins and think they’re safe, that’s certainly not how the fable ends. Settling turns you into a hare, and we all know what happened in that race.
The psychological aspects of motivation and momentum go hand in hand. Look for little wins. Take losses and find a way to turn them into wins.
Lastly, remember that momentum is all about building off of your last action. Day by day or week by week, can you build the stacks higher?
Solomon is a sales and marketing guru who has built a number of successful companies over the last decade. Read more at Thimothy.com.