We see motivational Instagram posts designed to keep us inspired. Do they help? Sometimes. Do they make us roll our eyes? Sometimes. Do we love them or hate them? Sometimes.
Overall, I like motivational posts and quotes. I appreciate positive affirmations that give me a little mood boost. As long as they aren’t preachy or trying to lecture me. Nothing irks me more than the Internet telling me how to live my life.
Encouraging quotes and sayings pop up all over, but what do they even mean anyway? It depends. They mean something different to everyone. If you catch one that resonates with you at the right moment, it gives you that push you need to stay in the game. Or they make you feel like you're not alone out there. Quotes and sayings may even remind you of why you started your small business in the first place. And they help you stay motivated, especially when times are difficult.
When I was running my eCommerce company, I always had the following quote from Calvin Coolidge taped to the wall above my desk.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent…
People may feel insecure when comparing themselves to others. I remind myself that I work hard and remain focused on my goals. I am persistent and actively work on things that improve my skills (such as an advanced course on Google Sheets) or activities that help move the business forward (for example, an online ad on Facebook). Some actions are directly related to a plan, others are ancillary. The key is being persistent, staying active, and always doing something. I call this ROA or Return on Activity.
So, to me that inspirational post Just Keep Going means staying active, being persistent, and having faith in that ROA.
Bill Ross is a business coach and consultant offering small business owners and entrepreneurs advice and support to help them achieve their goals. Learn More
Exploring the Concept of Firing Bullets Before Cannonballs in Your Small Business. An Approach to Risk Taking for Entrepreneurs.
In Jim Collins' classic book, Great by Choice, he describes the concept of firing bullets, then cannonballs. To paraphrase, you fire bullets first. Bullets are things that are low cost, low risk, and don’t distract you from your business. Once you have some data to support your next course of action, you fire a cannonball. In this context, a cannonball involves putting all your resources towards your tested plan. (Read more about Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs by Jim Collins.)
In other words, when it comes to your small business, you don’t necessarily want to jump into everything with both feet. Oftentimes, it’s prudent to test the water before taking the plunge. As you may have noticed, I’m a fan of analogies and have always been intrigued by Jim Collins’ concept.
Here are a few ways to fire bullets, then cannonballs in your small business and mitigate the risk of making big decisions.