Do you dream of checking statements and dwindling balance numbers? Drive yourself into a frenzy trying to budget as carefully as possible from month to month? Worry that a slow month may very well kill your business? Our guest poster today is Sarah Holt from the Consulting Guru and she’s dishing the best advice on how businesses can avoid freaking out and find their focus on the financial front.

Did you know that most businesses are in the red for at least a few years before they start to prosper? Starting and running your own business can be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done and from a financial standpoint, it’s easy to let the debt weight on your shoulders rule your mood. But when money is scarce, there are four great ways to keep your chin up, both for yourself and your business!

1) Surround yourself with positive influences

If you want to feel more upbeat, one of the best things you can do is surround yourself with people who are cheery, optimistic, and supportive. Whom we associate with can affect our moods. If your core group of confidants are constantly pointing out how things are going badly, or how badly things will be in the future, that will probably influence your perception of your circumstances.

On the other hand, having ties with people who have sunny dispositions means you’re more likely to take rocky periods in stride. Seek out positive influences if you feel like you’re lacking them. Better yet, connect with other fellow entrepreneurs and startup owners. You’ll find that nearly all business owners have had times when money got tight; it can be inspiring to hear how they got out of their financial binds and back on track.

2) Think about all the progress you’ve made

Not all strides forward come with quick and immediate financial gain. Countless little steps need to be taken before you begin to see monetary results. When your bank balance is low, take a mental inventory of all the accomplishments you’ve experienced with your business, even if they’re not paying off big money yet. Perhaps you’re well on your way to landing a big client, or you’ve secured a stellar new employee who you’re sure will contribute a lot. It’s important to remember these achievements because, in time, they will pay off, but you need to keep your motivation up in order to ensure that they do.

3) Figure out where your negativity is coming from

Bad moods can creep up for unsuspecting reasons. We may attribute them to one factor, like money being tight, when they might be the result of something else, like other businesses closing up shop in your area. You’re concerned about money, but you’re perhaps even more concerned about becoming what seems to be another statistic in a weak economy.

Take control of any negativity that is based on external factors. It’s not helpful to dwell on worst case scenarios – it’ll only leave you exhausted and take the focus away from what really matters. Tackle any negativity dealing with things you can control, and push the rest of your worry out of mind.

4) Visualize your best case scenario

Rather than dwelling on worst case worries, think about your best case scenario. Imagine a future where your business is going really well and you’re incredibly happy. Make that image a reality! Not only can this visualization exercise give you a much-needed jolt of positive energy, it’s productive in terms of strategy. Once you put a finger on how you would like your professional life to be, it becomes easier to take steps toward making that a reality.

And keep in mind that your business is not alone where finances are concerned. When times are tough, positivity helps ensure perseverance, so make sure you keep your chin up!