The chances are, when you first started your business, you were very passionate about it. Everything was new and exciting, and at last you had a way for you to make your mark on the world, to do things your way, to set new standards, to bring something new to the market, to help more people – in short, you were in love with your business and the opportunities it promised for you.
No doubt that initial passion energised you to put in the long hours and hard work that are needed to get a business off the ground and get it growing. But being in business for a long time can be a hard slog, and you are faced with constant ups and downs. The day to day challenges of looking for new sales opportunities, managing staff, keeping your customers happy, balancing the books, and the 101 other things that business owners have to deal with can grind you down and sap your enthusiasm.
If the honeymoon period is well and truly over for you and your business, maybe it’s time to fall in love again, and reignite the passion that kept you energised for the first few months or years of your relationship. But how can you do this? Well, I have a simple 5 step process for you:
Recognise what you’ve achieved so far
You had the guts to start your own business, or buy a business. You’ve worked hard and you’ve built that business up. You’ve employed people. You’ve given your customers what they need. You’ve created something worthwhile and made a contribution to society. So stand back, take it all in, and be proud of how far you’ve come. Give yourself a pat on the back, or maybe even open a bottle of bubbly! Feeling good about yourself and your achievements will help you to feel good about your business too.
Clarify your vision for the future
Now you know where you are, you can decide where you want to go with the business. Your vision may have changed since you started the business, or maybe you never had a clear vision in the first place. So it’s time to look forward and decide exactly what your ideal future business looks like – what’s the turnover, how many staff are employed, where are your premises, who are your customers? Once you have the vision, you can make plans and goals to get you there. That will give you the focus and enthusiasm that may now be lacking. (Your future vision may be to sell your business and retire and that’s great – you still need to plan for it, though!)
Make your team love your business as much as you do
Working with people that don’t share your passion and enthusiasm is not good for your business, or for you. So share your empowering future vision for the business with your team, get their buy-in and make them accountable for achieving the goals that are relevant to them. Remember, you can improve people’s skills but not their attitude, so it may be time to let some people go, recruit new team members with the right attitude, and make your business a great place to work.
Mix with like-minded people
Being in business can be a very lonely place. Family members may not understand the pressure you’re under and anyway, may not appreciate you talking business when you get home. Finding like-minded people to talk to, who can understand the challenges you face and can provide support and advice, is really important to help keep you motivated and enthusiastic. (That’s why we’re here!) The late, great Jim Rohn said: “You are the average of the five people you spend most time with,” so make sure you’re spending your time with great people!
Make your business work for you
We believe that being in business should give you more life, not take it away. Your business should provide for you financially, but should also enable you to be the person you want to be ,and do what you want to do. In order to be happy and satisfied with what your business is giving you, you need to ensure that your business goals (that we talked about in step 2) are aligned to your personal goals. You’ll need to find time to work ON not IN your business if you want to build a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you, and lets you have the time and money to enjoy your life. Who wouldn’t love a business that did that for them?