There is nothing ordinary about momentum. Like a river that quietly flows, then in a moment suddenly turns into a cascading waterfall, momentum can be perplexing but is as vital to business as air is to keep humans alive. With it, your business will grow and be able to surge ahead no matter what threats are on the terrain. Without it, your business will, at best, stagnate or, worse, fail, as there is no strength and stamina to withstand setbacks. Peter Irvine, the Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees Australia, and now CEO of Kingdom Momentum, shares why ignoring momentum is not an option for businesses and the six keys to building and maintaining positive momentum.
What is Momentum in Business?
When illustrating momentum, I can think of no better example than the 100-metre freestyle race won by 18-year-old Aussie newcomer Kyle Chalmers at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The young South Australian was second last at the 50-metre turn and nowhere to be seen with 15 metres left to swim. But then one crucial thing kicked in; momentum, and it brought him first at the finish line to take home the gold medal, shocking Chalmers, the commentators and the crowds worldwide watching. No one could have scripted a more dramatic ending for a swimmer who was behind for most of the race looking like he was swimming uphill and out of contention for any medal. A closer look at the playback of the race, however, shows that Chalmers had been building momentum with each stroke and with sheer muscular force, propelled himself forward to thunder home and win convincingly.
What Are the Benefits of Positive Momentum?
Momentum requires positive action, which is quite different to just action on its own. There were 8 finalists that lined up for that blue ribbon Olympic race, and only Chalmers won the prize. Momentum is the DNA of your operations that will take your business to places that will surprise both you and your peers. Kyle Chalmers’ win illustrates a few positive aspects of momentum I want to explore as it relates to business.
Benefit 1: It makes you look better than you are.
Momentum allows you to overcome challenges that you face in your business whether it relates to people, finances or unforeseen events. When we step out in business you have to address obstacles in a way that doesn’t stall you but instead your energy is directed at keeping momentum. For Chalmers, being the underdog and coming from behind didn’t stop him from winning the gold because he had momentum on his side.
Benefit 2: It attracts others of like mind.
When your business is accelerating- new offices are opening or products coming to the market, you start to attract people who want to be part of the growth and potential you are creating. After Chalmers’ win, he was crowned the new golden boy of Australian swimming, and the sponsorships started to flood in.
Benefit 3: Builds and multiplies on itself.
When the fire destroyed the whole roasting warehouse and offices of Gloria Jean’s Headquarters in 2002, the business had built up enough momentum to carry it through. Despite the hard work and difficulties, everyone rallied together, and there was a real drive and enthusiasm to see the business rebuilt. In fact, sales went up following all the publicity from the media and new stores were opened during the restoration period. At the end of a 100-metre freestyle race, you see who has momentum on the side or not. For Chalmers, he had the second wind to get past the lactic acid build-up and laboured breathing to touch the wall first.
What Stops Businesses from Achieving Momentum?
Many businesses find themselves in a rut- sales start to stall, there’s no recruitment of new staff or launch of innovative products and services. It’s a discouraging place to be in. You could call this state inertia and is best described by Isaac Newton’s first law of motion. It says that things will stay still or in a static position unless some kind of force is applied.
Your business can almost become like a sitting duck and vulnerable to new competition. Some business owners, comfortable in a holding pattern don’t see this as a problem. Just the other day a business person came up to me to chat about his business and said “I am very happy where I am, I don’t want to grow – I want to stay where I am.”
I was challenging him to think where he wants the business to be in three years time. Since the business owner was adamant that he wanted to keep things the way they were I had to politely tell him that I couldn’t help him. Unfortunately, many business owners are similar in that they do not want to review or make any changes to their business model. The problem with keeping the status quo is that the economic landscape does change in a three year window- new competitors arrive on the scene, alternative product and service offerings are provided by other businesses in your industry and there is the general cost of inflation to contend with, requiring you to pay higher input costs like wages, direct materials and rent. You only need to lose one client or more to set your business back and cause it to struggle. Momentum is needed even if you are to remain a healthy business.
There is also a very compelling argument from scripture that exhorts believers to trust God and apply themselves with the talents God has given them and see multiplication in the Kingdom. When we look at the Old Testament and God’s dealings with the Israelites while wandering the Sinai desert, we gain insights into how people were made not just to camp somewhere and be comfortable. God wanted His people to listen, learn and grow while they were wanting to set up tent and settle down. Being disobedient to God, the Israelites became unhappy, disillusioned and started to do things they shouldn’t have, eventually stopping many of them from entering into Canaan, the Promised Land. The New Testament letter to the Hebrews warns believers to take heed and not to follow their example:
Six Keys to Building and Maintaining Positive Momentum
If momentum is so critical to the lifeblood of a business, then how do you invest in this necessary force and experience the benefits that flow from it? As a former business owner but also as a consultant to thousands of business people all over the world, I’ve identified six keys to building and maintaining positive momentum that will work no matter what industry you operate in.
Key 1: Consistency
You may have heard the saying, ‘Business is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.’ While it may seem like a motherhood statement, there is much truth to keep doing what is working and don’t give up. Your business is like a garden- water it, give it plenty of light for those plants that need it and attend to the weeds. What you sow every day into your business will either make or break it, and the fruit is only shown over time. It’s exactly what C.S Lewis said:
‘Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?’ – C.S Lewis
Key 2: Wisdom
Every business owner needs wise counsel, and your business will be so much better for it the more you obtain it. Stay away from naysayers or people who are negative! They will only trap you into toxic thinking that will pull you away from God’s vision for your business. Identify the people who inspire you and who have been where you want to go. You will find that they can bring real help and encouragement and can help you build the right foundations into your business to withstand any setback.
Key 3: Keep Your Spirit Free from Bitterness
A spirit that is resentful and filled with disappointment will only hold you back to the past and you need to be moving forward. You need to be proactive in this and choose to be a builder and not a mocker. Challenge yourself when you catch yourself criticising others in business, government or people you work with. It is quite easy to get back into a knocking spirit and become the victim rather than an overcomer. Fly with the eagles and don’t run with the turkeys. Especially when you are building and maintaining momentum, you must be picking your inner circle carefully as others bitterness is poisonous and can corrupt you and your team.
Key 4: Build Healthy Partnerships
Develop supportive partnerships with other business owners. When you choose to partner with other entrepreneurs who are targeting the same market segment but are offering a different product or service, you will be able to gain broader reach and build stronger momentum. Resolve any disagreements quickly as unresolved conflict can kill off any momentum obtained through strategic partnerships.
Key 5: Confidence
Learn to have real confidence, as positive expectation generates confidence which generates more forward movement. You need to be determined and keep going, even when obstacles come your way whether it is through new competition, the media, new laws and regulations or even a financial crisis. Don’t let these challenges undermine your confidence. What you focus on is what you head towards so keep returning to Kingdom principles so your thinking is positive even when storms and troubles come. If you continue to build your business God’s way, no stumbling block can slow down the momentum built into your operations.
Key 6: Expectation
Don’t put a lid on growth. Set aside past disappointments – there will be some that are inevitable in the business world, especially if you are pushing the boundaries and going out of your comfort zone. If you commit to a positive outlook and expect for growth, you are less likely to be overcome with fear and anxiety when your business does start to grow and expand. By creating an environment where positive momentum is fostered, you will go on an adventure of a lifetime and be like one of the Israelites who took God on His Word, slaying any giant and ultimately inheriting the promises of rest in your work. That’s momentum- you are not trying anymore, the work has a life of its own.
Do you want to develop the DNA for momentum and grow your business? As part of the Business On Purpose training, Peter Irvine coaches business owners and entrepreneurs to help momentum become your second nature and see the future with great expectation.
Peter Irvine is the CEO of Kingdom Momentum Ltd, a keynote speaker for business, leadership & churches, author of Win In Business and Building Your Business, Your People, Your Life, and Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees Australia.
Peter has over 50 years of experience in business at a high-profile management level. He began his career at DDB Needham Advertising, Sydney acquiring an extensive portfolio of business expertise, including working on launching and managing the McDonalds’ restaurant account.
In 1996 Peter, with his business partner, established the Gloria Jean’s Coffees franchise in Australia. In January 2005, they purchased the International Master Franchise brand for Australia. By the time the company was sold in 2014, there were over 400 Gloria Jean’s stores across Australia and over 800 coffee houses in 39 countries worldwide.
After selling the business in 2014, Peter established Kingdom Momentum Ltd, an organisation that exists to support leaders and organisations in transforming communities and expanding God’s kingdom in Australia and around the world.
In 2017, Peter was awarded an honorary doctorate by NYACK College New York for his contribution to their MBA course and to business in general.
Peter speaks at church services and events, runs business workshops and seminars which reach both Christian and non-Christian groups. Peter shares from real life experience and is passionate about seeing business people come alive to the full purpose and potential God has for them.
For more information on Peter visit www.kingdom-momentum.com.au