If you own a small business, you are probably always looking for ways to make your business better, but it is important to also focus on making yourself better. Passionate business owners succeed in building their businesses into successful entities that they can one day sell or pass on to their children. The problem is that there are plenty of little things that can lead you down the path of not being as passionate about your business as you were when you first started it. These eight small steps will help ensure that passion stays with you no matter what comes your way.
1. It is important to remember why you started your business and why you were passionate about it.
You started your business for a specific reason and that reason has motivated you enough to take the risk of owning your own business. Spend some time and reflect on exactly why you started your business and which factors made you want to be an entrepreneur. It is essential that you keep reminding yourself of those reasons. They will keep you moving forward when times get tough . Don’t forget that passion can also come from working with others or helping people accomplish their goals, so think about how your day-to-day business activities allow you to do just that, even if they don’t involve bringing in revenue directly. For some business owners the motivation was money, the motivation for others was doing something they love and some just to try something new. For most of us, it was a combination of several motivations that led us down our current path. The point is to find out what inspires you and focus on THAT goal instead of worrying about work in general. While working hard doesn’t guarantee success, NOT putting in effort definitely guarantees failure. Figure out where there might be room for improvement when it comes to your work ethic.
It is also important to realize that when you jumped into starting a business, there were obstacles you had no idea you would have to face. Being able to adapt and learn makes you succeed but also being able to recognize what you are not good at is equally important. Most small businesses hire business consulting services because they need someone with a level of experience they do not have and need specific, unbiased and truthful guidance. This means getting help from others who may be better suited in certain areas of your business, which is why it’s best to stay humble and keep learning from others. If you are interested in learning about business consultants click here: SayWhat Consulting
2. Identify What Excites You
As a business owner it is important you know what excites you on a daily basis because passion is contagious – your employees will follow. It is also important because typically what excites you is something that you are very good at, one of your numerous strengths. It is important for you to focus on what you are good at. Many business owners try to do too much; they focus on every single small task and refuse to delegate tasks that can be completed by others. This hurts your business because you are not putting the majority of your efforts into tasks that fit your strengths – and this typically means you are doing things that will bore you – which like passion is contagious.
We suggest that you make a list of loves and hates. Keep the list with you, ideally in your phone so you can update it frequently during the day. Take notes about what your likes and dislikes are and review those every month. It is important to identify that because you cannot be a good leader if you are spending all your days focusing on things you simply hate doing. As the business owner you have the freedom to figure out your likes and hire others to perform the tasks you do not enjoy doing on a daily basis.
Why do employees that love what they do excel at their jobs? This usually is a sign that they love what they are doing and it is something they are passionate about. They want to be there because doing it is something that excites them, keeps them engaged and committed. So how do you get excited about your job? Once you identify what makes you excited about your business or career, use it as an inspiration for making a change in your business in order to create a work environment where more of those things can happen. When people have fun in their jobs they tend to be more productive, creative and find ways around problems instead of being frustrated by them. This is the same for you, the business owner. In order to excel at your job as the business owner, you have to enjoy it. And as the business owner, you can hire people to do tasks you dislike which will be a smart investment and prevent burnout.
3. Actively Look For Business Improvements
You started the business to succeed, not to fail. It is important that you are actively looking for business improvements as a proactive measure to help make your business more successful and profitable. If you spend all of your time working on what’s going wrong with your company and what needs fixing, then it will be a lot harder for you to keep a positive attitude towards improving your company. Focusing on ways to improve your business will likely also help recreate the entrepreneurial spirit that pushed you into starting the business in the first place.
It is important you do not lose focus on your current business plan, and equally important to not avoid your current business issues but focusing on the future can help you realize and identify ways to fix your current business tasks that you do not like doing. You can build the company’s future around not having those aspects in the business or with the goal of generating enough revenue that those tasks can be assigned to a new employee or outside service.
4. Network With Other Entrepreneurs who are likely having the same emotions
You are not alone and it is important to network with other entrepreneurs because they likely are feeling the same exact way and facing the same struggles. There are many different forms on social media that you can engage in in order to help stay positive in your business environment. For example, networking groups can be found on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc and can give you an outlet where you can express yourself freely while meeting people who face similar challenges as you do in your business environment every day. These networks allow you to tap into others who have already experienced what could potentially be blocking factors for staying passionate about your business when times get tough and there are numerous that allow you and your business to remain anonymous. As long as you make sure to take advantage of these resources there will always be someone else there when things get overwhelming!
More effective than online is meeting with other business owners in person. Typically, there are small business groups in every area where you can meet with people face-to-face and talk about ideas or share frustrations or successes. These can be found online and typically meet once a month. By working through your challenges together, you will create a network of support that will help you stay motivated! It is also good because you can learn from mistakes they make, things that burned them out and vice versa.
5. Time Management is Vital - Focus on one task at a time
When it comes to small business ownership, managing your time effectively is vital. Focusing on one task at a time seems impossible and is something you need to learn how to do – and over time you will find it really helps your daily routine and effectiveness in completing tasks in a timely fashion. As an example, every morning I set aside the first 30-45 minutes to go over every single email and either reply or set a quick action plan if the email requires more research or a certain task to be completed. I find that getting emails out of the way early makes my day much more manageable. I also spend 5-10 minutes with an action plan of things that must be completed that day. It is important that when you are focusing on a certain task that 100% of your focus is on that task. It feels at the moment that you can accomplish 5 tasks at once but it is ineffective and leads to mediocre work on 5 things. You will find that focusing on tasks one at a time will make you much more efficient. Obviously, things come up and that is always going to happen but put your utmost effort into starting and finishing your task and then moving on to the next one.
As a business owner there is always going to be something that comes up that is more important than what you are doing and sometimes that will be the case. However, be 100% sure you are not avoiding the task on hand. We recommend setting time aside every day to focus on tasks you dislike because typically that is the only way they will get done on time. Focus your attention on one at a time! You will find that when you finally do finish them all, they’ll take less overall time then if you had worked on them in random bursts throughout your day and the quality of the work will be better.
6. Figure Out If Money is Your Motivation
If you find yourself working long hours and dealing with constant dilemmas, it’s easy to lose sight of your passion. However, there are many benefits of running a business that many small business owners forget about. These include flexible schedules, setting your own hours, traveling around the world, controlling your own destiny and the freedom of choice. Once you set realistic expectations for yourself and focus on what’s truly important in life, you won’t lose your passion so easily.
Money should not be your only motivation, but it is obviously an important reason to keep working hard. Money makes your business survive, allows you to support your employees with good paying jobs and lets you know that all of your efforts are paying off. More importantly, running a business can offer financial security and freedom that many people will never have in their lifetime. If money isn’t what motivates you, try thinking about some of these other benefits instead. This way, when times get tough and frustrations mount, you won’t lose sight of why you work so hard in the first place.
7. Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself
Remember when you first started your business and the expectations you had of easy success, the timelines you set, the budget you expected and how off they probably were? And how much money did you think it would make? Most people set unrealistic expectations for themselves, which can lead to frustration down the road. If you're feeling disconnected with your business, spend some time recalibrating your expectations. Make sure they’re within reach—and that they stay that way. You'll avoid getting frustrated over targets that are out of reach and will be more likely to bring passion back into your business. (You’ll also free up mental space to think about other issues facing your business.)
However, an important part of business is taking risks and it is important you do that – but make sure the risks that you take are calculated, the decision is educated and well researched and there is a clear and reachable goal.
Also, in order to recalibrate, we feel it is vital that every business owner takes at least a 7 day vacation every year. This allows you to disconnect (more than usual at least) from your business and return with renewed energy and new ideas. Another important action to take is setting aside time each week for reflection on how things are going. Then have regular meetings with your team to discuss what went well, what did not go well and how you plan on improving both your approach as an individual or team leader as well as some measurable goals or objectives aimed at improving performance over time.
8. Have the ability to identify the signs that you are close to burning out
There are common signs to look out for when running a business and when you are close to burning out. Here is a list of some common ones that you should keep a lookout for:
1. Constant Exhaustion. Feeling like you are always tired, even after you’ve gotten plenty of sleep. Stress and lack of passion can cause this easily. Try working out daily to help get your mind straight before you go into work.
2. Lack of Motivation. When you used to be excited about starting your day, but now it feels like a hassle to do so.
3. Difficulty making decisions. It seems like every time there is a choice between two options, both feel equally right and wrong, and neither option seems appealing at all.
4. Fear of Competition. You start to become scared of future competition or lose sight of why you started your business in the first place.
5. Negativity. You just don’t have any positive energy towards what you do, and it becomes harder and harder to stay motivated and feel joy in what you do daily.
If you're a small business owner then your business is a major part of your life. You might find yourself dreaming about your business when you should be sleeping and getting excited about going into work every day. But, sometimes passion can wane and lead to problems within your company. In order to avoid losing passion for your business, focus on the things above and try to find out what motivates you, your likes and dislikes and focus on how to fix those issues. Running a business should be fun and rewarding - when it becomes a chore and something you dislike, it is time to remember why you started the company in the first place.
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