Get All Access for $5/mo

5 Morale Boosters That Kept a Dying Business Afloat Until It Finally Thrived Business is tough. Success is often just keeping the doors open until things finally click.

By Ann Smarty Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sometimes in business winning is simply staying in the game through countless losses until you win the big victory. That is exactly what Brian Young, CEO of Home Painters Toronto, discovered:

"It's a mind game and mental battle from start to end and never gets easier," he said.

Brian was named the 2015 Small Business ICON by Infusionsoft for growing his long-declining business by 350 percent in under three years, in large part by automating almost everything. I asked Brian to what he credits such a turnaround, and he named five mental tools that he employed. Interestingly, he credits these five tools not for his recent success but for helping him remain in the game through 15 years of struggling sales until he turned things around.

1. Great role models.

Having a role model can make or break an entrepreneur, and even more so when you can connect with them, tap into their ideas and draw on their inspiration. One way to connect with role models is to reach out to influencers and tap into their power in the marketplace. Another is to engage them in expert interviews to help grow your business. These are two great sources of role models, because they are the people you have already identified as having influence and expertise in your niche.

If you have not identified role models in your niche, and even if you have, there are well-known role models like Zig Ziglar, Bill Gates, Tony Robbins and Mark Cuban to draw on. You might even know someone who has been successful in some way, such as a parent or a relative.

Related: CEO Case Studies: A Role Model and a Cautionary Tale

2. Motivational speeches, movies and quotes.

Thanks to modern technology, you can go onto YouTube and search for "motivational speeches" or "entrepreneurship motivation" and find enough material to keep you pumped up for months. Try this tool when you are feeling down and need to pump up your mood.

3. Self improvement courses and audios.

These not only help motivate and provide mental inspiration, but they also contain seeds of ideas that can help on the practical side as well. Brian Young allots a budget every year for courses, and it's the one budget item he doesn't mind surpassing, because he figures that it increases his sales. Among the top programs that have benefited him the most are Tony Robbins' Business Mastery I and Chet Holmes' five-day intensive seminar Business Growth Masters; Core Story.

Related: Tony Robbins: 3 Steps to a Breakthrough

4. Peer groups.

Let's face it, there will always be plenty of nay-sayers around you. You need to surround yourself with peers who share your conviction and drive, who can cheer you on and give you advice based on their own experiences. I belong to "mastermind" groups on Skype. We bounce ideas off one another and share resources that we find helpful, or just rant when we need to get something frustrating off our chests in a supportive environment.

5. A business coach.

The best thing about a coach is that you are not doing things alone. You have an outside view from someone who can help guide you in the direction you want. It was the decision to hire Mike Torgerson from Financial Breakthroughs in 2011 that lead to the modernization of Toronto House Painters.

Automation was the direction taken in Brian's case, but he might have found his needs to be different. Mike tells of one client he helped turn around by restructuring the compensation plan to reduce overtime costs. The important thing is to get the support of a coach when it is needed.

"Most people can't do this themselves because self-analysis is extremely challenging, if not impossible," Mike Torgerson observed. "As a coach, I have a coach too for this very reason."

In some ways, Brian's own story is typical, and there are many small businesses that could learn from his experience. A small business starts with a dream, but the owner is strapped for resources and plods through. In this case, Brian spent hours going door-to-door, cold-calling homeowners in search of clients, and personally controlling every aspect of his business.

"This felt like a slow painful death of my business and I could feel my market share declining more and more every day," he said.

His epiphany was certainly not typical -- the punch in his face when he interrupted a man during dinner. He decided that he had had enough. But "enough" did not mean quitting. It meant hiring a business coach. Although Brian's solution was to get online, it was not an online marketing coach that Brian hired. He chose a coach who specializes in "helping companies prepare for transitions by knowing the road ahead for the next phase of business."

With entrepreneurship at an all-time high, it is worth asking if the new breed of entrepreneur is mentally equipped to take on the "next phase of business" challenge. These five mental support tools helped one entrepreneur stay alive through enough losses, and remain in the game long enough to win the big victory. They could help you, too.

Running one's own business is a constant battle, and it doesn't hurt to be well-equipped to face the long-haul mental struggles of entrepreneurship.

Related: In Branding, Play the Long Game

Ann Smarty

Founder of MyBlogU, Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager at as well as the founder of Smarty has been into internet marketing for seven years, she is the former editor-in-chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Smarty is also a frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of regular Twitter chats #vcbuzz and #myblogu.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.