Accountability is the foundation of success, but it can be especially challenging for entrepreneurs.
“There is no one to hold us accountable and so we really need to work out how to do that for ourselves,” says Colleen Qvist, a business coach, facilitator, speaker and founder of CQ Consulting, a life- and business coaching company.
Being accountable requires you to take responsibility for achieving your goals and doing the work it takes to reach them. You are also less likely to make up excuses and blame others, says Qvist.
“When you hold yourself accountable as an entrepreneur, you exponentially increase the likelihood of [you] achieving your results.”
Qvist recommends the following accountability strategies for business owners.
1. Start with self-reflection
The first thing you need to do is STOP. Stop the hustle, get off the hamster wheel, jump off the merry-go-round.
You are not doing your business or anyone favours by always being in a rush. Step out of your business to work on your business and also to grow yourself both personally and professionally.
2. Focus on your WHY
It’s impossible to be accountable to the unknown. What are you committing to? Should you even be committing?
Find your WHY. What is driving you? What do you want to achieve?
Take time to examine the emotion in what you are doing. Is [what you are doing] a calling or purpose and does it give your life meaning? Do not lose sight of your WHY and keep coming back to it. Let it be your true North.
3. Find your own definition of success
You want to be successful, but what does that look like for YOU? Wanting to be “successful” or to “give back”, “employ people” or “make money” is not detailed enough. Ask yourself what does success look like, what difference do you want to make, exactly how much money?
You may want to be happy or to have “time”. Ask yourself how will you know that you are happy and those “free hours” – how many and what will you do with those hours?
You may want to sell more products or have happier customers, but how many and which product and how will you know that your customers are happier? You need CLARITY here and DETAIL. You will find that your vision is blurred without clarity and detail.
4. Find accountability partners
Entrepreneurship is a lonely game. Often we hope to avoid feeling fear and anxiety by working faster and longer in hopes that the voice telling us that things aren’t working, or that we could have done better, will be drowned out.
Do a stock take on your friends. Do they encourage you? The people in your inner circle have a huge part to play in your success. Be intentional in setting up a powerful inner circle and commit to holding each other accountable.
In addition to the inner circle, invest in yourself and your business and work with a coach.
A coach will help you to identify your giant goal(s) and then help you break it down into smaller steps with actionable points to get you closer to your goal. Entrepreneurs often get stuck in the planning stage and do not act.
5. Be honest with yourself
If you are going to be accountable for your end goal, it is vital that you commit to feedback sessions. Again, you need to stop and reflect. Have you gone off track? Are you getting results? Entrepreneur – do you know your numbers?
Have the needs in your industry changed? Are you still supplying horses when we are driving cars?
So many businesses die slowly because the business owner thinks everything is fine and will eventually work out. It is so important that we are honest with ourselves. Many people will try to sidestep getting feedback and being honest by being too busy working at being busy.
When things aren’t working, it is important to course correct. If things are working, take a moment to celebrate how far you have come. If you are working with a coach, they can help you set up specific milestones.