5 Common Mistakes in Managing Business Funding

Obtaining business funding is a critical aspect of launching and growing a successful enterprise. Many small business owners struggle to acquire the required funds for their businesses. In this blog post, we will examine the frequent missteps entrepreneurs make when searching for financing and offer tips to help them avoid these errors.

We’ll discuss the importance of developing a solid business plan, allocating resources effectively, implementing financial controls, seeking professional advice, and considering tax implications. By addressing these issues head-on and making informed decisions about your company’s financial needs, you can improve your chances of obtaining the right type of business funding to fuel growth and achieve long-term success.

1. Failing to Develop a Plan

Receiving funding for your business is an exciting milestone, but it’s crucial not to let the excitement cloud your judgment when it comes to managing those funds effectively. One of the worst things you can do after securing funding is fail to develop a comprehensive plan outlining how you will allocate and utilize the resources at hand.

Develop A Clear Roadmap

An effective plan should serve as a clear roadmap for achieving specific goals and objectives within your organization. This means identifying key areas where investment will have the greatest impact on growth, productivity, or profitability while also considering potential risks and challenges that may arise along the way. A well-thought-out plan ensures that every dollar spent contributes towards reaching your desired outcomes.

Prioritize Investments

  • Technology: Investing in new technologies can help streamline operations, improve efficiency, and ultimately increase revenue generation capabilities.
  • Talent Acquisition: Attracting top talent with competitive compensation packages can significantly enhance overall performance levels within your company.
  • Marketing & Sales Efforts: Expanding marketing initiatives or bolstering sales teams allows businesses to reach wider audiences and drive higher conversion rates.
  • R&D Activities: Funding research and development projects can lead to innovative products or services that give companies a competitive edge in their respective markets.>

Maintain Flexibility

In addition to setting priorities for investments, it’s essential not only remain flexible but also be prepared for changes in market conditions or unforeseen obstacles that could necessitate adjustments within your strategic planning process. Regularly reviewing progress against set targets helps ensure ongoing alignment between resource allocation decisions made during initial stages following funding receipt and evolving business needs over time.

Tips For Developing a Solid Business Plan

  • Create SMART Goals: Be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Don’t be vague.
  • Analyze Your Market: Know your competition and seize opportunities. Stay one step ahead.
  • Budget Wisely: Don’t blow all your cash at once. Save some for emergencies.
  • Evaluate Regularly: Keep track of your progress and make adjustments when needed. Stay on top of things.

2. Not Allocating Resources Properly

Securing adequate resources for your venture is essential, yet it’s only the start. How you divvy up those funds can make or break your company’s future. Misallocating resources can lead to wasted opportunities and inefficiency that’ll make you go “oops.”

Strategically allocating funds across operations, marketing, R&D, and training is key. This ensures all areas of your business get the love they need to grow. Smart allocation maximizes returns and makes your investment dance with joy.

Prioritize Your Business Needs

Start by identifying and prioritizing your business needs. Determine which areas require immediate attention or investment and focus on those first. For example, if you need to hire additional staff or invest in new equipment to meet growing demand for your products or services, prioritize these expenses over less critical ones like office renovations.

Create a Budget

Create a detailed budget that outlines how you plan to spend the funding across various aspects of your business operations such as marketing, product development, hiring personnel etc., keeping in mind both short-term and long-term goals (source). A well-planned budget helps ensure that every dollar is allocated efficiently while also providing transparency for stakeholders involved in decision-making processes.

  • Short-Term Goals: Allocate funds towards achieving immediate objectives like increasing sales through targeted marketing campaigns or improving customer service by hiring more support staff.
  • Long-Term Goals: Invest in initiatives that contribute towards sustainable growth such as research & development projects aimed at expanding product offerings or entering new markets strategically.

Monitor Spending Regularly

To maintain control over resource allocation post-funding, it’s crucial to monitor spending regularly – ideally on a monthly basis. This allows you to identify any discrepancies or inefficiencies in your budget, and make necessary adjustments before they become major issues (source). Additionally, regular monitoring helps keep your team accountable for their spending decisions and fosters a culture of financial responsibility within the organization.

Common Missteps in Resource Allocation

  • Poor Prioritization: Don’t just spread the money thin, prioritize like a pro. Allocate resources wisely to maximize returns.
  • Lack of Flexibility: Don’t be a rigid resource allocator. Stay nimble and adjust as the business landscape changes. Adapt or get left behind.
  • Overspending: Don’t go on a spending spree without a plan. Just because you have the cash doesn’t mean you should blow it all. Spend wisely.

3. Ignoring Financial Controls

In the rush of securing funding and planning for growth, it’s easy to overlook one crucial aspect: financial controls. Failure to attend to this area may result in grave repercussions, including fraud or other financial problems that could potentially obstruct your venture.

Financial controls are like the superheroes of your business, protecting you from financial disasters. They help you manage your finances effectively, prevent misuse of funds, and ensure accurate record-keeping.

The Importance of Financial Controls

Financial controls are systems and processes put in place by a company to ensure the accuracy and integrity of its financial transactions. These controls help businesses monitor their cash flow, prevent unauthorized access or use of funds, and maintain accurate records for tax purposes.

  • Budgeting: Establishing a detailed budget helps you allocate resources effectively and track spending against revenue targets.
  • Audit Trails: Implementing audit trails allows you to trace every transaction back to its source so you can identify discrepancies quickly.
  • Safeguard Assets: Putting measures in place such as restricted access or approval requirements ensures that only authorized personnel have control over company assets.
  • Fraud Prevention: Regularly reviewing internal processes reduces opportunities for fraudulent activities within your organization.

Implementing robust financial controls is not just about preventing fraud – though that is certainly a key benefit. It also aids in making wiser choices about resource distribution, offers clarity into the monetary condition of your organization, and guarantees observance with taxation regulations.

  • Better Decision Making: With proper control mechanisms in place, you’ll have accurate data at your fingertips, enabling you to make informed decisions about investments and budget allocations.
  • Transparency: Strong internal controls increase transparency by ensuring all transactions are properly documented and accounted for.
  • Tax Compliance: Proper record-keeping aids in maintaining compliance with tax regulations, saving you from the wrath of the taxman.

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Setting Up Financial Controls

No two businesses are alike, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to setting up effective control systems. However, here are some common mistakes companies often make while implementing these measures:

  • Lack of Segregation of Duties: Don’t let one person have too much power. It’s like giving a toddler the keys to the candy store.
  • Failing to Regularly Review Processes: As your business grows, changes may be needed in existing processes. Keep up with the times, my friend.
  • Ignoring Technology Solutions: Embrace the power of technology. There are software tools designed specifically for managing finance functions efficiently. Don’t be a dinosaur.

4. Overlooking Tax Implications

Failing to consider the tax implications of newly acquired funding can lead to unexpected costs or penalties later, so it is essential to proactively plan for taxes related to your capital. This oversight can result in unexpected costs or penalties down the line, which could have been avoided with proper planning and foresight.

To ensure that your business remains compliant with tax regulations and avoids any potential pitfalls, it’s essential to take a proactive approach when dealing with taxes related to your funding.

Here are some key points you should keep in mind:

  • Understand the Type of Funding Received: Different types of funding may have different tax implications for your business. For example, grants might be considered taxable income, while loans typically aren’t taxed until they’re forgiven or discharged. Make sure you understand how each type of financing impacts your company’s tax situation.
  • Deductible Expenses: Some expenses incurred during the course of using funds for your business operations may be deductible on your taxes. These deductions can help offset any additional taxable income generated from receiving funds and reduce overall liabilities. Learn more about deductible expenses here.
  • Tax Credits and Incentives: Depending on how you use the funds within your organization, there may be various government-sponsored programs offering tax credits or other incentives available to businesses like yours. Explore these opportunities through resources such as this one provided by SBA.
  • Hire a Professional Accountant: Engaging an experienced accountant who specializes in working with small businesses can help you navigate the complex world of tax regulations and ensure that your company remains compliant. They can also provide valuable advice on maximizing deductions, credits, and other opportunities to minimize your overall tax burden.

By taking these steps to address the tax implications associated with receiving funding for your business, you’ll be better prepared to manage any potential liabilities or penalties while making the most of this financial opportunity. Remember that staying informed about current laws and regulations is essential in order to avoid costly mistakes down the line.

5. Not Seeking Professional Advice

One of the most common mistakes made by business owners after receiving funding is not seeking professional advice from experienced advisors. This could result in expensive errors, missed chances and even potential legal issues later on.

The Importance of Expert Guidance

Trusted experts can be invaluable in helping you make informed choices for your business’s future when managing newfound resources. These professionals have likely seen similar situations before and can provide valuable insights based on their experience.

  • Business Consultants:  A trusted advisor and consultant is oftentimes a good strategy to engage with.  Someone on the outside looking in can have a far different vantage point than the business owner or upper management.  This often leads to more clarity and better understanding.
  • Financial Advisors: A financial advisor can help you create a budget, allocate resources effectively, and ensure that you are maximizing the return on investment (ROI) for each dollar spent.
  • Tax Consultants: Tax implications should never be overlooked when receiving funding. Working with a tax consultant will help you understand any potential liabilities or benefits associated with your new capital infusion.
  • Legal Counsel: Having an attorney review contracts and agreements related to funding ensures that everything is legally sound and protects both parties involved in transactions.
  • Mentors & Industry Experts: A mentor or industry expert who has successfully navigated similar challenges in their own businesses may offer invaluable guidance during this critical period of growth for your company.

The Pitfalls of Going Solo

If you make a decision to not consult with an expert after obtaining financial backing, then it could lead to difficulties. Don’t be a DIY disaster waiting to happen.

  • Lack of Strategy: Without expert guidance, you might end up spending money willy-nilly instead of investing wisely.
  • Mismanagement Risk: Lack of oversight could lead to misappropriation or inefficient use of resources. Don’t let your hard-earned money slip away.
  • Tax Complications: Understanding tax implications can be a headache without expert assistance. Don’t get caught in a tax trap.

Finding The Right Advisors for Your Business Needs

Selecting the right advisors is crucial for your business’s success. It’s essential to find professionals who understand your industry, have a proven track record of helping businesses like yours, and share your vision for the company.

To find the right advisors:

  1. Ask for recommendations from other entrepreneurs or colleagues in your network.
  2. Research potential advisors online by reading reviews and testimonials from their previous clients.
  3. Schedule interviews with prospective advisors to discuss their experience, expertise, and how they can help you achieve your goals.
  4. Evaluate each advisor based on their knowledge of relevant regulations, industry trends, and ability to provide strategic guidance tailored specifically to your business needs.


It’s important for business owners and C-level executives to take a proactive approach towards their finances after securing funding. This includes creating a solid financial plan with clear goals and strategies in place, monitoring expenses regularly and seeking out professional advice when needed.

If you’re looking for help with your business funding needs or want expert guidance on how to improve your company’s financial health, contact us here.

Staying ahead of your competition is critical!

Here are 5 ideas for you to LEARN then APPLY so you can ACHIEVE

1. Know Your Industry
The first step to staying ahead of your competitors is to have a thorough understanding of your industry. This includes understanding the current trends, the major players, and the key issues that are affecting the industry. By understanding your industry, you will be able to identify opportunities and threats that your competitors may not be aware of.

2. Keep an Eye on Your Competitors
It is also important to keep a close eye on your competitors. This means monitoring their activities, such as new product launches, marketing campaigns, and changes in their business model. By doing this, you will be able to quickly adapt to any changes that they make and stay one step ahead.

3. Innovate
Another way to stay ahead of your competitors is to innovate. This means being creative and coming up with new ideas that offer a unique solution to a problem. It is important to note that innovation does not necessarily mean inventing something completely new; it can also mean improving upon an existing product or service.

4. Offer Better Value
Another way to stay ahead of your competitors is to offer better value for money. This could involve offering lower prices, higher quality products or services, or a better overall customer experience. By offering better value than your competitors, you will be able to attract more customers and grow your business.

5. Build Stronger Relationships
Finally, it is also important to build strong relationships with your customers, suppliers, and other partners. These relationships can help you to gain a competitive advantage by providing you with access to resources that your competitors may not have.

BE HONEST – Is your company running you?

Here are 5 ideas for you to LEARN then APPLY so you can ACHIEVE

1. List all your employees and under each employee list their strengths and weaknesses. Identify whether their role in your company works to their strengths and if not, make a change.

Taking the time to evaluate the individual strengths and weaknesses of your employees is an important part of gaining control of your business. It is important to understand how an employee’s role compliments or detracts from the nature of their strengths and weaknesses. When doing this, it can be helpful to look at both hard skills, such as specific software or language capabilities, as well as soft skills, such as active listening and communication. This helps to ensure that employees are placed in roles that best match their individual abilities and motivations.

2. Make a list of everything you do on a daily basis and delegate 25% – 50% of that list to one or more people based on their strengths.  Don’t have employees?  Have you looked into a virtual assistant?

As part of gaining control of your business, it is necessary to identify what tasks you are currently responsible for on a daily basis; this could be anything from administrative tasks like emailing clients or managing invoices, to customer service roles like fielding queries or taking orders. It is then possible to create a plan for delegating these tasks out according to the skillset of your team. For instance, if an employee has strong technical knowledge, it may be more beneficial for them to take on certain jobs rather than yourself. Knowing which roles are most suitable for each person will enable you streamline processes within the organization while maximizing efficiency in terms of time management.

3. What is your end game? Write down your strategic plan and the goals associated with the plan.  It’s the number one thing all successful people have in common.

 Before embarking on any new venture, it is essential that you have a clear idea about where you would like your business to be in the future; this will help inform decisions along the way and allow you stay focused when times get tough! Additionally, setting clearly defined objectives will enable you measure progress towards those goals so that you can track performance over time. A good strategic plan should encompass elements such as market analysis, SWOT analysis (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats), target markets/audiences, action steps for achieving goals etc., all underpinned by solid research into current trends in order for it remain relevant.

4. Allocate a specific amount of time each day to evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly parts of your business and process that information.  You may be very surprised at what that reveals.

In order gain control over a business situation, it is necessary able analyze data objectively in order make informed decisions based upon evidence rather than guesswork! Setting aside dedicated time each day (or week!) enables you stay on top changes within the industry while also being able assess how well various aspects of your own business are performing against set targets over time; this could include looking at customer satisfaction rates or sales figures etc.. This also gives an opportunity identify any potential areas improvement which can then be investigated further with additional research into industry benchmarks etc..

5. Imagine that you have a magic wand, wave it over your business and what would you wish for? Be creative but practical and realistic.

Having total control over every aspect of running a business can seem quite daunting at times! But what if all our wishes could come true? What would we ask our magic wand for? Perhaps faster delivery times through automation technologies? More efficient processes free up extra resources? Increased customer satisfaction levels through improved visibility into operations? The possibilities here really are endless so think carefully about what tangible results would benefit both customers and staff alike before finally making a decision!

When is the right time to start your business?

There is no one answer to the question of when to start your own business. For some people, the right time is when they have a great idea for a product or service. For others, it may be when they have the financial resources in place to support a new venture. And for still others, it may be when they are ready to take on the challenge of being their own boss. Ultimately, there is no perfect time to start a business. But there are certain things that you should keep in mind as you consider making the jump from employee to entrepreneur.

First, you need to make sure you have the right skills and experience to be successful. Are you good at problem solving? Are you comfortable with risk? Do you have a solid understanding of your industry? If not, you may want to gain some more experience before making the transition.

Second, you need to have a clear vision for your business. What are your goals and objectives? What are your unique selling points? What sets you apart from the competition? Without a clear plan, it will be difficult to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Finally, you need to be prepared for the financial challenges of being your own boss. Being an entrepreneur can be a risky proposition, and it’s important to have some cushion in case things don’t go as planned.

If you want to start a business but don’t know where to begin, please reach out to us. We are here to help with business planning and coaching, and we can create a custom-tailored business plans to structure your business and help you receive financial investment. 

6 Tips for Business Growth

  1. Evaluate your business model, generate annual revenue goals, and make necessary changes

As a small business owner, you are probably always looking for ways to improve your business. One important step is to evaluate your business model and set annual revenue goals. This will help you focus on what is important and track your progress. There are many factors to consider when setting these goals, but don’t worry, we’re here to help!

2. Research your competition and find ways to differentiate yourself from them

Don’t be a copycat. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially when you’re just starting out in business. But if you want to make it big, you need to find ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. So how do you go about doing that? Research, research, research! Find out what your competitors are doing and see if there’s a way to improve on their offerings. You may not be able to offer the same products or services they do, but there are always ways to set yourself apart. Stand out from the crowd and watch your business grow!

3. Increase brand awareness through online and offline marketing initiatives

As a small business owner, it’s important to increase brand awareness through online and offline marketing initiatives. Online marketing is a great way to reach a large audience quickly and efficiently. However, don’t forget about offline marketing initiatives such as print advertising, direct mail, and trade shows. Offline marketing can be very effective in reaching your target market. Choose the right marketing channels for your business and execute a successful marketing campaign!

Are you looking for ways to increase brand awareness for your small business? If so, you’re not alone! A recent study found that 66% of small businesses said increasing brand awareness was their top marketing priority.

4. Develop a strong social media presence and engage with your target audience

As a small business owner, it’s important to stay engaged with your target audience on social media. This means posting relevant content, responding to comments and messages, and being interactive with followers. By developing a strong social media presence, you’ll be able to connect with more potential customers, which can lead to increased sales and revenue. So don’t hesitate – start engaging with your target audience today!

5. Focus on customer service and build loyalty among your existing client base

Are you tired of working so hard to attract new customers without seeing any real return? It’s time to focus on your existing customer base and build loyalty among them. By providing excellent customer service, you can turn casual clients into loyal advocates who are happy to refer their friends and family. And the best part is, it doesn’t take a lot of extra effort – just make sure that you’re always putting your clients first!

6. Offer new products or services to attract new customers

Are you looking for ways to attract new customers to your business? If so, consider offering new products or services. By doing so, you’ll not only stand out from the competition, but you’ll also make it easier for potential customers to find what they’re looking for. So don’t wait any longer; start brainstorming some new ideas today!

Sales Mindset

I can’t tell you how many books I have read or seminars I have attended regarding something to do with sales. I think I lost count at a million.

Sales does not have to be complicated or require endless training. What it requires is the correct mindset. This is certainly not a subject that can be distilled into a 500 word post but it can be clarified to the point where you can process it better and let it percolate. The mindset of sales is very basic. In it’s simplest form, it’s about them and not you. That’s it in a nutshell. There are far too many sales people that when on a sales call expound the virtues of what their company can do or how revolutionary their product is.

The potential buyer really doesn’t care about that. What they care about is themselves and the problems or challenges they are facing. In order for you to connect with them they need to connect with you first. Wrap that around your head…They must feel like there is a rapport and the only way to make that happen is to help THEM establish the rapport. If it comes from them then it will be far more solid and better established. The only way to do that is through questions, questions, questions. When you ask questions, unbeknownst to them, you are controlling the conversation, steering it and uncovering potential pitfalls.

The mindset shift that needs to be made is that the focus absolutely and unequivocally must be them. Let them tell you what they don’t like about their current situation, let them tell you how terrible it is, let them tell you how they need something different. When they start talking like this they begin to trust you and if you can commiserate with them, even better.

A mind shift to them is the only way you will be successful. Once you have made this shift then all the other sales techniques that you have learned will be much more effective and powerful.

Let’s talk if you want to hear more. I can be reached at (603) 783-9333.

Should I Scale my Business?

This is a question that I get very often. This question comes from small business owners, solopreneurs, and even owners of medium sized enterprises. At first glance it may seem like an easy question to answer, YES. Why wouldn’t someone want to grow their company, hire more employees, and create more revenue for the company.

This topic is mildly more complicated than the initial knee jerk reaction. It basically comes down to two influences; what are your motives/goals as an owner for the business? And the question of economies of scale.

Let’s first talk about motives and goals. A lot of people start a business to escape the rat race and develop some financial freedom. Often times business owners never expect to be in a place where they need to decide if they want to scale the business, typically they just expect to hopefully replace their income and live a bit happier. Unexpected success is quite common for this type of person as it takes a specific personality to quit their job and take the big leap. If you are in this position, you have to take a moment and set some goals, sit down with a piece of paper and identify why you started this business and what the ultimate goal is. Without identifying these facts you will be unhappy or chasing something that you do not even want. Identify if you simply want to make a certain income every year and remain in your current state. Satisfaction and having enough is something that not a lot of people are capable of accomplishing, there is certainly piece in being able to make this realization. On the flip side, if your business is doing well and has grown as much as it can with you, then it may be time to hire some more employees, reevaluate your plan, increase marketing, and scale the business.

Until you understand what your motives are and where you are going you are going to constantly feel in limbo with your current life even if you are making $10,000,000 per year. Every task, job, business, etc. needs to begin with the end in mind, “why are you doing this?”

The second thing you need to evaluate when deciding whether or not to scale the business is economies of scale. This basically means that as you grow profits may diminish. If you are profiting $100k per year and you hire another employee at $30k per year now your profit diminishes to $70k. What you have to consider is what sort of return will that employee bring you? Do they allow you to focus more on new business? Are they a sales representative that will add revenue to the bottom line?

With new infrastructure (employees, office space, building, computers, desks, etc) profits decrease. These capital expenditures need to be discussed by looking at your books or speaking with your accountant.

Bottom line is scaling a business is not for everybody and it may ultimately mean some short term losses in order to get to your finish line. Before you even consider scaling be sure to understand what your motives are and be sure to understanding the financial implications (good or bad).

There is always room for growth within an organization and it starts with evaluating every process.

Sales and Mediocrity

I had a conversation with a client recently about his sales department and his comment to me was “I’m not sure I have ever really managed my sales department effectively – I’m not really sure how to”.

Considering that the sales department or simply sales in general is the heart and soul of ALL companies this comment struck me as surprising. There are two main components in all companies. Producing and providing. Sales produces the need and purchase and the rest of the company provides. If the first part of that process is mediocre or passive then the rest of the company suffers.

It’s so very important that a company has a robust sales force complete with highly capable sales know how and a strong grasp of what they are selling. But just as important is the sales mechanisms that have in place. Goals, targets, volume, training, proper compensation, interaction and recognition. If you are leaving your sales to their own process then you have a mediocre sales force.

This is really something to think about and focus on. In today’s business climate it’s important to not only compensate correctly but also to challenge and recognize. Re-vamping a sales department is a huge undertaking but certainly one that pays dividends many times over.

Think about it…….

5 Ways to Limit Smartphone Use during the Work Day

Smartphones are one of the most exciting modern-day inventions, but they can also become a major source of distraction during the work day. Before COVID, studies found that the average American spent around 5.4 hours a day on their mobile phone. Just 6 months after the COVID-induced lockdown, a December 2020 study found that mobile phone usage was up 25% to 7 hours a day. This increased mobile phone usage could contribute to decreases in productivity and motivation, as more mobile phone usage is correlated with increased anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. Even knowing all of this, it can be difficult to limit screen time because these devices are insanely addictive. Here are 5 ways to help you limit smartphone use during the day so that you can hopefully be happier, healthier, and more productive:

  1. Set time limits on certain apps

Most phones have settings that allow you to limit the time spent on specific apps each day—this feature is called ‘screen time’ on iPhone and ‘digital wellbeing’ on android. This allows you to actively limit the time spent on particularly addicting apps, such as social media applications (e.g. twitter, reddit, instagram, youtube). This feature is a great way of preventing you from mindlessly scrolling for longer than you intend.

  1. Leave your phone in a separate room

If you find yourself unable to stop habitually checking your phone or scrolling through social media, one option is to just leave your phone in a different room than your work office. If you are working at home, then you could leave your phone in the kitchen or bedroom, far away from your desk or office. This way, you will have to intentionally walk across your living space in order to check your phone. This adds both a mental and physical barrier to checking your phone, which can be extremely helpful.

  1. Turn off email and text notifications

Email and text notifications can be very distracting during the work day. You could be working hard to solve a problem and then a random email or text can totally take your out of your flow and halt your momentum. When you turn off or mute notifications, this distraction is completely removed. Then you can check your emails or texts every few hours, in a proactive and intentional way. Research has shown that batching notifications in this way can improve wellbeing and productivity.

  1. Delete distracting apps from your phone

If you find that you are manually overriding the time limits or walking across the room to check reddit, one idea is just to delete these apps from your phone entirely. This adds another degree of friction between you and distracting phone applications, as manually re-downloading apps and signing in (i.e. having to remember your password) is quite tedious. This may your best option if you find that just having the app on your phone makes it difficult to have a balanced relationship with your mobile device.

  1. Turn your phone into greyscale mode

One thing that makes our smartphones so dazzling is that they are full of rich colors and exciting videos/images. One way to make looking at your phone less appealing/stimulating is to turn on greyscale mode, which essentially turns everything into black and white. This makes looking at your phone much less absorbing and therefore easier for you to put your phone down after you are done using it for your intended purchases. Here are instructions for this setting on iPhone and Android.

Final thoughts: Hopefully these tools help you curb your smartphone usage so that you can be happier and more productive during the work week. That said, all of these settings can be manually overridden and turned off. The ultimate truth is that you are in control: you have to make the choice to limit your phone usage, and the best tool for doing so is self-discipline. Perhaps find a different activity to take breaks during work, such as meditation, walking outside, or exercise. Have a great week everyone!

Keep on Keeping on

This past year has been hard for all of us, and Pew Research reports that 42% of US adults under the age of 50 reported difficulties in finding the motivation to work since the beginning of the pandemic. So how do we get through this seemingly never-ending struggle?

Discipline. That probably is not the answer you wanted to hear, as it points to the fact that working hard is the real way to overcome dips in motivation. Motivation comes and goes. We have great days at work that inspire us and remind us why we do what we do, but we may also go weeks without any form of gratification. The key is to stay disciplined throughout the ups and downs. We have to keep in mind that all of this is temporary—someday we will work in offices again and see our friends and family. But for the time being, if we are fortunate enough to have jobs, we have to keep on going. The struggle we are working through now is building strength we cannot even appreciate or comprehend at the current moment. This is a training ground for your mental discipline, your ability to keep on keeping on even when things get tough. This skill, also known as Grit, is actually more important for long-term success than raw intelligence.

So although the current times are hard and we may not feel motivated, just remember that the work you are doing right now (both professionally and mentally) is building your strength and mental disciple, and that you will reap these benefits for years to come. Discipline will carry you much further in life than pure excitement or passion. One day you will look back on how you worked through this difficult time and feel proud and thankful for your own hard work. Keep on keeping on. We are all in this together.