When you lose momentum and question what you are doing, here are some actions you can take to re-ignite your passion.
Running a business can be all consuming. Managing staff, developing new business, servicing existing clients, rules and regulations and, of course, cash flow. It is easy to end up focused on the trees and lose sight of the forest. This leads many to lose momentum running their business. It’s a common issue. Some question, “Why am I in business?”
Entrepreneurs have different reasons for starting a business. Some want to create financial security; others are looking to create a legacy. Still others are motivated by “I can do it better / prove I can;” and some see a problem they can fix. Whatever the reason, the motivation for success often gets swallowed up in the fog of day-to-day operations.
Employee issues, the lost sale, regulations and reports not only vacuum up your time, they cloud your vision and distract you from the best use of your time. You find yourself staring at a stack of paperwork, or a schedule of meetings that have you wondering “Is it worth it?” As your focus narrows, the desire to build your dream recedes and momentum slows to a stop.
A few years back, I worked with a client who had an engineering business. The business was growing at a good rate, and the company had an excellent reputation, but he was frustrated and concerned about what the next few years would bring. His time was filled with small tasks and the joy of owning a business was disappearing.
I was brought in to help build out financial and operational projections for the next three years so that he would be able to have options: sell, partial retirement or keep building. My process started with two simple questions: What are you doing that you don’t want to do? And where do you want to spend your time?
Based on the answers to those questions, we were able to build a plan to move many of his time-wasters to other people in the company (a change that would also let them grow); bring in outside resources for the HR and legal administrative activities; and allow him to not only focus on his expertise, but also to add new challenges and build new skills that reignited his energy.
The by-product of this was the original task: projections and plans for the next three years.
What are some actions you can take to re-ignite that energy and passion?
For the Big Picture (Evaluation):
- Are the reasons you are in business the same as they were when you started out? If not, do you need to adjust the business?
- Have a Mission Statement; and revisit it regularly. Is it still inspirational? Is it still the mission of the company? And is the mission in alignment with your reasons for being in business? Reasons and Missions can change over time and there is nothing wrong with changing to focus on what is important to you and the company.
- What is your role in the business? Are you doing what you are best at doing? And are you doing what you enjoy? The business is best served if you are using your time on what you enjoy and is the best use of your skills.
- Have a Plan – for this month, this quarter, this year and the long term. Is the plan allowing you to fulfill your reason for being in business? Do you and your team actually know and use the plan? Many companies spend significant time on an annual business plan; and then ignore it until the same time next year. Make time every month to spend a few hours on what happened, what didn’t, and why.
For today (Action):
- Start each day at Zero. What are your goals for the day? Who do you really need to see? What is on your desk that doesn’t need to be there?
- What does your team need to succeed today?
- What was the result of your actions this month?
- How did the company results compare to the plan? If you are off-track what needs to be done to get back on track? Keep this somewhat of a big picture review. The devil may be in the details, but if you spend all your time on the details, you will be back in the fog again. The details are for you to note and your people to address.
Spending time to re-focus on the reasons you started, the reasons you continue, and your role can rebuild the excitement of running your business.