Google "accountability strategies for entrepreneurs" and you'll get over 40 Million results, that's how popular accountability is.
The reason you end up looking for strategies to hold yourself accountable when you're an entrepreneur is because you no longer have a boss to keep you on the hook for getting things done.
The most successful entrepreneurs out there have a propensity for taking action on a regular basis. This sets them apart from the people who are struggling to make it.
Here are five accountability strategies for entrepreneurs that you can put to work immediately:
1.) Make a Public Declaration
Tell people what you intend to do. You'll feel a sense of pressure to follow through if you are the type of person who stays true to your word.
Earlier this year while hosting my mastermind clients, I made a public declaration that I was going to learn how to run 5K. As the leader of the group, that declaration created a lot of pressure to follow through. They are paying me to help them reach their goals, what kind of leader would I be if I didn't do what I said I would do?
There are two important parts to this strategy - it will only work if you are a person of your word, and if you share regular progress updates with the people you made the declaration to.
I run three times a week and post my progress in our Facebook group to stay accountable. The power of the public declaration is impressive - I don't know about you, but I always keep my word.
2.) Hire A Coach
Hiring a coach or joining a group-coaching program has a similar effect to the first strategy but with a supportive element as well. A coach will hold you accountable and provide you with support, but it's important to know what you want to accomplish before you're ready to work with a coach.
Your fellow group-coaching program members also hold you accountable and are also the audience for a public declaration. The act of saying to other business owners that you're going to do something creates pressure and instils more accountability - you don't want to look bad in front of your peers.
If you're in a good group that is responsive and engaged, they're going to support your progress. They'll lift you up when you stumble, help guide you back when you get off track, and you should feel inspired by the progress you see others making.
3.) Find a Partner to Work With
This might be a business coach, or a colleague, or a friend that will work with you to accomplish the goal you have set. For my running program, I engaged my next-door neighbour who is a person of high integrity. When she says she's going to do something, she does it!
Don't engage an accountability buddy who never does what they say they're going to do. If they don't show up for themselves, it's unlikely that they're going to show up for you.
When doing something in your business, working side by side with a coach will often help you overcome the resistance you might feel towards what needs to be done. Resistance is a form of fear, usually the fear of failure. When someone is there to guide and help you, chances are you will follow through and finish.
4.) Set A Negative Consequence
Not long ago I reread The Success Principles by Jack Canfield; he shares a story about a business executive who wanted to learn how to swim and jump off a diving board. He committed to a very negative consequence in front of his team to hold himself accountable.
When you set a negative consequence, and you are someone who follows through, this can create tremendous tension to be accountable.
I experimented with negative accountability strategies for entrepreneurs in a group-coaching program I lead. Eighteen members had to set a negative consequence for not following through on their commitments.
Two weeks later, all but three had done what they said they were going to do - 83% of them. That is a testament to how effective this strategy can be! The feedback was that it lit a fire under them to get things done because they didn't want to have to follow through on the consequence they set.
5.) Set A Positive Reward
Some of the people who didn't follow through on negative consequences said they would have preferred a positive reward instead. You need to know whether or not you are motivated by a positive reward or negative consequences.
5 Accountability Strategies for Entrepreneurs
There is one common thread that runs through all five of these strategies - none of them will work for you unless you keep agreements with yourself and with others.
You can practice fulfilling your agreements with yourself, and you can start small. It could be as simple as committing to not hitting the snooze button anymore, or committing to reading 30-minutes every day no matter what. Train yourself to do what you say you will do and you will be amazed to see the impact it has on your self-confidence.
Which one of these strategies resonates the most with you? Leave a COMMENT below and then employ that strategy in your business so that you can hold yourself accountable to reaching your goals.