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Starting a small business is similar to falling in love: it’s exciting, exhilarating, and new. You want to relish every moment and give it your all every day. However, growing a successful company is not a smooth, straight journey. Many get stuck along the way. Before long, and often without realising it, you, the owner, will start to fall out of love with your business.
Over time it’s easy to lose that loving feeling when you have a million tasks to complete, so it’s important to take time out to reflect and to remind yourself why you started your business in the first place.
Whether your numbers are up or down, your business is going through growing pains or feeling the sting of an economy that still hasn’t bounced back, it’s important to hold on to the things that influenced your career choice. Why do you do what you do?
This Valentine’s Day, while couples everywhere acknowledge their relationships, take time to fall back in love with your relationship with your business. Why? Because when entrepreneurs lose the passion for their business, things quickly head south. Don’t let that happen to you.
Here are eight tips for falling in love again with your small business.
It’s helpful to take a few moments to think about why you started anything in the first place, whether you’re talking about a marriage or a business venture. Were you enthusiastic about your work? Were you looking for a means to help people with a specific problem? Did you feel a calling to go into this line of work?
Something compelled you to leave the regular 9-5 office job and establish your own business. Determine what it was and remind yourself that those sensations of fulfilment and enthusiasm are still achievable.
When it comes to assessing your business, what might be a tough and delicate activity in couples counselling is essential. (And, thankfully, feelings aren’t as easily hurt.) You must first understand what is wrong before you can solve it. Write down what you believe the issue is, then keep asking yourself Why? until you find the source of the problem.
I hate going to work every day. Why? Because there’s too much to do and not enough time. Why? Because I don’t delegate anything.
Maybe the actual problem is that you try to do everything yourself, and simply outsourcing work to a trustworthy employee, consultant, or contractor will take some of the load off.
Try this with all problems you can think of to see if you can’t come up with a simple answer that will solve them all. Why, in our hypothetical entrepreneur’s case, might he or she wish to keep asking? Until he discovers why he refuses to delegate. Perhaps the issue is that he doesn’t trust his staff enough, or that the staff is untrustworthy, in which case he needs to either let go a little more or hire a better team.
Nobody is perfect, so expecting your startup to make a million dollars in its first year is certainly unrealistic. Take a step back and examine your company’s capabilities and limitations. Be brutally honest with yourself. If you feel the need, meet with a consultant. It’s fine to set ambitious goals…but only if you have a plan in place to achieve them.
Keep in mind that your expectations for your employees, customers, and business partners can all be affected by this. It’s a narrow line between having high expectations and setting someone up to fail.
Any relationship repair usually entails a cathartic sit-down where all of the disappointments and grievances are expressed. Dealing with your business will be a little simpler (and hopefully involve less sobbing) than dealing with a person, but it will still be a struggle, especially if you aren’t being honest with yourself.
Listen to your business | If your business is sending you loud and clear signals about what it needs to thrive, don’t ignore them.
Tell your business what you need from it | More time at home? Clear directions on what to do next? Businesses, like relationships, are a two-way street. If something about your company isn’t working for you, change it.
Recognize that you may be part of the problem | As in any relationship, be open to the fact that some of your business problems are your fault and not the result of the stars being misaligned.
Follow through on your promises | Set concrete solutions in place. This is not the time to simply say, “I’ll do better next time.” Tell your business exactly what you plan to do in the future to make sure you never again find yourself at this level of apathy.
Hold yourself accountable | Set up a regular, recurring appointment (Don’t cancel! Neither businesses nor people like to be stood up.) to check-in and see how things are going. And don’t be afraid to make adjustments as necessary; relationships change over time.
You already know that you should devote time to your business, but quality trumps quantity. Complete the necessary tasks that keep your business running, but also set aside some time for your business, too.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down by the daily distractions of employees, clients, and that ever-lengthening to-do list. Take some time every now and then to put everything else on hold and focus solely on growing your company. Take note of what it accomplishes for you. To say, “thank you,” give it a small gift. Spend time doing the activities you used to enjoy doing when you were just starting in business.
We’ve said it before: taking care of your business will keep everyone happy (including your customers). So, make sure you have a strong relationship before you let your attention gets pulled elsewhere.
Never take your partner for granted in a committed relationship. The same holds in business. Many business owners lose their thankfulness when their company enjoys a lot of growth and success, especially early on. They lose their humility and begin to take things for granted.
Never get smug or forget where you started in the company, no matter how successful you are. Never assume you’re better than anyone else or treat your employees or clients poorly. The most successful people maintain a sense of gratitude and give back in any way they can. The more grateful you are toward your business, the more you will love it.
Most couples must plan for the future as they grow older. When the kids leave, will they downsize? Is it possible that they’ll be ready for retirement? They continue to enjoy the present moment even as they prepare for the next step.
You must do the same with your business.
While it is critical to remain grounded and enjoy the present moment, it is also critical to consider and plan for the future.
We’ve all been in that situation. If you don’t keep things fresh in your relationship, it won’t last.
The same holds for your business. Do you concentrate solely on your work, or do you experiment with different techniques, approaches, and ideas on a regular basis?
Keep things fresh in your business. Joining a business group or getting active in community-centred activities linked to your job could be one way to do so. Maybe it means learning a new skill set or diving into a professional platform where your voice can be heard. Maybe it means constantly networking to meet new people who could open up new opportunities for you and your business.
The point is, in this day and age, you’re not going to survive unless you think outside the box. Be open to new ways of doing things.
This Valentine’s Day, enjoy spending a little extra time with that special someone in your life. If you need to rekindle the relationship with your business and get that loving feeling again, put in the time and effort. You probably started your business because you loved what you were doing, and you probably have so much success for that same reason. Make the time to reconnect with your business and find the love again. Remember, as Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work, is to love what you do.”
If you’d like to start your search for the right coach and mentor to help you fall back in love with your business and take your business to the next level, we’d like to invite you to a free kick-start call with our Chief Shergroupie, Claire Sandbrook.
We’ll look at where are you versus where you want to be, we’ll look at what you’ve worked on and tried to date, and we’ll help you map out your next steps. Get in touch today!
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Last updated | 19 July 2023
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