Small business ownership is tough.
As the new year approaches, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. Established small business owners are trying to close out bookkeeping operations for the year, plan ahead for next year, and make key decisions regarding the long-term vision for the business.
Unfortunately, this has an awful side effect—there is not much time to enjoy your small business like you once did.
I do realize that after a while small businesses often go through a phrase where the owner must go to a position of “managing” rather than “doing,” but I contend that when passion falls to the wayside—in one form or another—so does the business.
You must keep the vision alive for your small business. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”
Perhaps you’ve seen the popular TV show, “Undercover Boss.” This series follows many corporate leaders (usually CEO’s) who, for one week, go undercover in their own company as an employee.
There is a consistent theme of lessons learned by these owners in keeping with tradition of the show, and in almost all cases, the leader comes to the realization that they are not touching the customers in the way they once did. This is most noticeable in episodes where the current CEO was the founder of the company many years prior.
By using the three steps outlined below, I believe all small business owners can get excited about their business again and make some big, productive changes for next year.
Step 1: Remember Your Why
In his popular book Start With Why, author Simon Sinek contends, “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.” This is crucial. Why did you start your business in the first place? What was so important to you that you decided it would take time away from your family, personal life, and maybe even your day job? What made you so excited that you got up the courage to tell anyone and everyone about your new adventure? What made you go out the way for your customers instead of treating them like numbers on paper? Answer these questions, and you’ll almost certainly arrive at your why. Remember that when times get tough. More importantly, if you feel as though your company no longer reflects your answer to the question, change things NOW. It’s likely that, as your passion has waned, so has the passion of your customers. This is how businesses die. Remember your why—your business and your customers depend on it.
Step 2: Revitalize Your Passion
In the spirit of Undercover Boss, maybe you should consider taking some time to step back into a previous role. Admittedly, I am not talking to sole proprietors here. But if you are a small business owner who has moved behind the management desk and rarely does the work anymore, choose a week (or longer!) to get back in the game! Interface with customers and see what they are saying. Spend a week as if you were merely an entry-level employee in your own company and re-live that life. Remember the struggle it took to get where you are now. If you do these things, when you return to leadership, you will likely find that changes indeed need to be made, and it will be more clear how to set course for the future. Best case scenario, you find that things are still running great! But at least you will have had the opportunity to get excited about your business again and get back in the game. It will encourage you to step back into leadership with more passion, vigor, and focus than ever before.
Step 3: Reignite Your Vision
This is the most important step. Most owners, after following steps one and two, are going to see the need for change and refocusing. This means that some adjustments may need to be made to the vision and direction of the company. Get your leadership team together and begin crafting a vision for the next year—at the very least, for the next quarter. Try some new things, and be sure to take into account the things you’ve learned at the core of your operations. Most importantly, you must be able to sell the vision. In order for the vision to be successful, you must have the support of those responsible for its execution. Otherwise, you have little more than a good idea. There is nothing more exciting than crafting a vision for your company, gaining the support of your team, and striving together to see the vision accomplished. That, more than anything, is the measure of success.[bctt tweet=”There is nothing more exciting than crafting a vision for your company, gaining the support of your team, and striving together to see the vision accomplished. That, more than anything, is the measure of success.” username=”northmacsvc”]
While there are elements of this process that will look different for anyone, the most important thing is just to do it.
Your family life, business, and health depend on it. And—so does everything and everyone that depends on you to be the best version of yourself.
No one wants to do something they are not excited about day in and day out.
Remember your why, revitalize your passion, and reignite your vision. It could be the best journey you’ve taken yet.
Discussion Question: Have you found this process to work for you? If not, what have you used to get excited about your business again?