The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “How do you stay optimistic when your company is struggling?” is written by Rich Allen, author of The Ultimate Business Tune Up.
Any entrepreneur would tell you that from time to time, it feels as if the foundation of your new business is crumbling. It may happen soon after you launch, but often it happens even after a good start.
It’s not a matter of whether it will happen; it’s a question of when it will happen. All you can do is prepare yourself and your business for the inevitable dip. To be ready, here are three pillars that you should put in place ahead of time:
Create a visual representation of your future
Entrepreneurs naturally see the future in vivid color. So leverage this trait and create a living color picture of your ideal future. Use visuals, symbols, and images that inspire and ignite your inner energy source. It’s best if your vision of the future is posted where you and your team can see it on a regular basis. Make it part of your daily ritual to stop, pause, and reflect on the possibilities that lie ahead.
I knew an entrepreneur who created an organization chart envisioning how he wanted the company to be structured three years in the future. To make this tangible for his team members, he invited each of them to take a pen and write their name in the box on the chart where they hoped they would be at that point. This made the vision come to life for everyone and provided the entrepreneur with insights about the future aspirations of his team members.
Chase your passion
If your success or failure only impacts you and a few others, then you’re more likely to quit when the going gets tough. But if it has the potential to impact something more important to you, then you will work harder and longer to make your ideal future come to reality.
Think about your passion. Is it child abuse, world hunger, animal cruelty, social justice, or curing cancer? Or are you excited about perfecting a new product that will help consumers?
Whatever it is, define it, declare it, and make it your cause. By doing this, you will attract people who will put their full effort into making sure you survive the challenging times and achieve your goals.
Celebrate small victories
Make sure you celebrate small daily or weekly victories, rather than waiting to achieve some larger milestone or goal. Lawrence of Arabia was able to cross a desert that was supposed to be impossible to traverse. He set small goals and celebrated with his men each and every day. The celebrations kept his men’s spirits high and gave them the willpower to make it just one more day, each and every day.
When you’re at a place where progress seems impossible, you may need to employ these same tactics. If you find reasons to celebrate often, you can maintain momentum and willpower.
Use these pillars to create an unshakable foundation for your startup or new venture. They will provide the stability you need when you’re struggling.