Running a small or home based business requires a premeditated choreography of steps that move toward some unified goal. If you chose to run your own business, you need an “autopilot” mechanism that will keep you on “course” during those times you need to take your “eyes” off the road. When your motivation wanes, you need some autopilot mechanism that will help relieve the mental burden of “running the show” without sacrificing time, direction, and momentum. Motivation provides the fuel that powers your strategic planning. Here are a few more tactics that will help you “stay the course” even when you take “time out” to nurture self-doubt, regain composure, or just recover from inevitable mental fatigue.

1) Avoid “metric” overload – Your strategic planning needs indicators of progress and success to mark a path to your intended goal. Seek performance indicators or “metrics” that you can understand. Start with performance indicators that are accepted by your competition, your peers, or your niche industry; the number of widgets sold, the number of articles written, the number of page hits, etc. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Choose indicators that provide different perspectives of success IN ADVANCE; the number of ad impressions, the number of sales conversions, etc. A few simple metrics mean easier milestones to attain. Avoid changing or adding metrics once you have decided on a strategy and have started implementing your plan. Avoid changes or additional metrics especially when the “field is in motion”.

2) Recalibrate lost focus – Good metrics provide frequently updated performance information; your progress and your speed. Even though milestones are not a “leading indicator” of performance, they will alert you to evolving trends (e.g., a slower speed) which could signal loss of focus. Alter the “motivational distance” between milestones (completed tasks) periodically. You don’t need to measure a goal in terms of units; “measure” output over time or as a percentage gain. Similarly, switching temporarily from percentage measurements to simple units can “relieve” performance pressure and enhance motivation without sacrificing progress and direction.

3) Mark progress on a regular basis – The more “attainable” a project’s milestones, the easier it is to “switch to autopilot” and “just follow the plan”. A good business plan carefully choreographs each small task into a simple path that leads to the intended goal. The stereotypical entrepreneur finds relief from stress (e.g., self-doubt, impatience, mental fatigue) in “working” rather than “thinking” their plan. The greatest motivational benefit of marking progress on your path is having a simple measure of “how far you have come” compared to “how short the distance to your goal”.

The mental game in strategic planning is the motivational component underlying an entrepreneur’s best practices. Successfully running a home-based business requires a solid foundation. Excellent strategy rests upon simple performance indicators and firm motivational principles.