Celebrating Small Successes

An article on motivating team members.

In the startup world, emotions can run rampant. The feeling of a first sale or investment creates a euphoric feeling among the founders of, “We can do this.”

On the other hand, an unsatisfied client, negative press, or small failure can make you feel like all hope is lost. Startup members often wonder, “Why are we doing this again?” or “Is this even possible?”

Most startups do not really know when they have truly, “made it.”

Each company is different, and the measurable milestones vary immensely between products and industries. Some companies may reach for a dollar amount in revenue or profits, others may aim for a large investment or buy out, but all startups have goals — and the chances are that those goals will change along the way.

Most entrepreneurs understand that any progress is great. What they do not understand is that progress is easily forgotten.

A local newspaper may write an article about your company, contact you for an interview, and put you in the spotlight. The euphoria kicks in, and you feel wonderful. However, a week later your sales may be down, and you may be trying to motivate your team to step it up and increase their work output — forgetting about your previous successes.

If you do not take time to step back and look at the progress you have already made, it is difficult to see what the future may hold.

You cannot motivate a team by only telling them what is next, you must also show them what they have already accomplished.

You and your team have worked hard, recognize progress.


Send out a weekly or bi-weekly email to your team.

Keep it short and to the point. You want these emails to be read, not swept under the rug like an old community newsletter.

Highlight the company’s most recent accomplishments.

Big or small, try and list them all. Maybe the most recent success only consists of gaining more traction on social media or simple website updates. Maybe the company reached $10,000 in sales. Regardless, it’s progress.

Thank individual members.

Someone worked hard to reach those goals, even if you do not see it immediately. Look for individual work that was done, and recognize it. Try not to leave anybody out.

If there have been setbacks, list them here.

There will always be ups and downs, it is a known trait of a startup environment. Clearly communicate to your team what setbacks took place, what caused them, and how they can be avoided in the future.

Finally, explain what is next.

Do this after progress and setbacks have been noted. Create bigger goals after you have achieved smaller ones, keep them attainable. Realistic goals are motivating for team members, especially after reading about how great they have already done.

If you have enjoyed reading about celebrating small successes and how to keep team members motivated, please recommend this article.

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