Are Productivity And Motivation The Same Thing?



High interest rates, sluggish economic growth, pervasive corruption, and lack of working infrastructure are just a few of the South African hurdles that can feel insurmountable. Yet, it's in these trying times that the true mettle of a business owner is tested.



Many of us ended 2023 feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Some had the luxury of taking a break, hoping that 2024 would bring a fresh start. But hope alone isn't a strategy for success. This year won't automatically be better; we need to make it so. It begins with understanding what we stand for and what we want to build. Clarity is the cornerstone upon which successful businesses are constructed. This clarity also sows the seeds of motivation and productivity.

When you're lost in the fog of uncertainty, it's difficult to chart a course forward. Yet, it's crucial to remember that a business is more than a means to an end – it's a chosen vehicle that should support your personal goals and aspirations. To navigate through the fog, you must first ask yourself: What do I want to build? Why did I start this journey? Once you find answers to these questions, you can reignite the passion that sets you on this path. And find the motivation to continue along it.

Then re-look at your vision. Does it still encompass what you first set out to achieve or does it need a refresh? Look at it through two lenses – the first is the personal lens. Does achieving this vision bring you closer to achieving your personal goals or is it worlds apart?

If it does, is it an achievable vision or have you set your sights on unseen stars that might be impossible to reach? If the latter – revise it to be a vision that not only resonates with your passion but can be reached. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stretch yourself – challenge within the realms of reality is a great motivator.

Then start looking at productivity. In business, two fundamental challenges need to be addressed to set the stage for productivity success. The first is financial management. Forget the confusing debits and credits from high school accounting; money is the scorekeeper of business.

Starting with a budget that includes expenses, profit, and personal compensation is essential. It's about understanding what you need to generate at the top end to support your vision. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, yet it's astonishing how many operate without a clear understanding of it. Knowing how many customers you need daily to sustain and grow your business is fundamental. You cannot be productive if you don’t understand what needs to be done.

Working with hundreds of business owners, it's alarming to see how many could earn more working for someone else than they do in their businesses. During the pandemic, many entrepreneurs took pride in keeping their staff paid, but often at the expense of their salaries. Now, as we move forward, it's crucial to replenish our coffers and prioritize our financial well-being alongside that of our businesses. How can you be motivated and productive if you’re not being paid?

Next on the motivation list is marketing. Many business owners claim they're not salespeople, yet everyone can sell if they're speaking to the right person. Marketing is about creating opportunities to meet the right people. It's an active strategy, not a passive hope that word-of-mouth will suffice. To generate word-of-mouth, you must do something noteworthy; you must be proactive.

Marketing should be an ongoing, comprehensive, productive strategy that aligns with your business's financial goals. It's not just about social media or advertising; it's about crafting a message that resonates and reaches your ideal clients. If you’ve done the work around your vision and reason for being in business, you will be able to craft this. If you motivate yourself by understanding why it’s important, productivity follows.

As we stand at the crossroads of our post-pandemic world, let's take a moment to reassess our direction. The path ahead may seem daunting, but with clarity, financial acumen, and a robust marketing strategy, we can navigate the fog with motivation and emerge stronger, more resilient, and ready to productively seize the opportunities that await.

Let's not just hope for this to be a better year; let's actively make it one.

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