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Thousands of people start a business for the first time every year. Of these people around 80% will not be running that same business in 5 years. Why? It almost always comes down to issues with one of these three things: Passion, planning and support.
Let me explain:
Passion is a key ingredient for a business. If you go into business with the intention to make money without much thought or consideration into the kind of business you want you’re far more likely to struggle. Why? Because when the going gets tough the money isn’t enough to keep you motivated, there has to be more to it, a bigger purpose, you need to really love what you do because sometimes that love will be the only thing keeping you going. Although people rarely talk about it we all go through hard times and face challenges, no matter how long you’ve been in business or how experienced you are and without the passion behind you driving your vision you’re much more likely to want to quit.
Your passion doesn’t have to be something that will ‘change the world’ it can simply be something that you believe in or that will help people in some way. The founders of b.box, Monique Filer & Dannielle Michaels create products that ‘make parents lives easier’ their passion is in creating new and unique products that solve simple everyday problems that parents with young children face. Their passion for this has seen them create a multi-million dollar, award winning business that makes a difference to parents all over the world.
“The things that excite you are not random, they are connected to your purpose. Follow them.”
Finding your ‘why’ can be difficult, we’re not all born with a strong calling to do something big. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this in her book ‘Big Magic’ and explains that it’s ok if you have no idea what your purpose or calling is, if this is you, she recommends that you follow your curiosity. What interests you? What lights you up? What do you love to do? Get curious. Follow this curiosity and see where it takes you.
I see people throw money at things like marketing, overheads, stock and all kinds of things, yet refuse to invest in the number one thing that has the power to make the most difference to the business. Themselves.
The starting point for every business should be your business plan. Research shows that having a business plan doubles your chances of success yet so many business owners plunge into business without one. A business plan doesn’t have to be a 40 page document with detailed financials, but doing your research and putting some time into planning and preparation before you start your business can save you a lot of time, money and heartache.
Similarly once your business is underway investing in working ‘on’ the business rather than just ‘in’ the business is crucial to success. Its so easy to get caught up in the everyday busy-ness of business rather than focusing on the higher level strategic development that must occur if you want to grow your business. Personal development is important too, you need to be emotionally resilient to be able to cope with the growth and the setbacks of business. You’ll also need a full complement of skills including business management, customer service, productivity, marketing and many more to be able to get your business up and running in the early days when most business owners are doing it all themselves.
Which brings me to my next point, the need for support:
No matter who you are or what experience you have, you need support. Going it alone in business can be isolating and hard but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are numerous local and online support groups where you can find people who understand the challenges you are facing and can support you when you need help or just need a sounding board for your ideas.
One of the major reasons businesses fail is because of ‘burn out’. Ironically we think that hard work equals success but that kind of thinking is wrong. Working day and night and all weekend is not a recipe for success, it’s a recipe for disaster. How can you do your best work when you’re exhausted, sleep deprived and miserable? Yet so many business owners wear the ‘hustle’ like a badge of honour, bragging about how much work they’re doing or how they were up till midnight working. Taking time out, catching up with friends, looking after yourself and having other interests outside of business are what fuels productivity, creativity and innovation. Remember to ask for help when you need it, friends, family, business friends the people in your life are here to help you, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
Looking after yourself is as important as looking after your business and will help you to feel healthier and happier and the results will show in your business too. Your business should be your friend, helping you to live the life of your dreams not a slave driver running you into the ground.
So there you have it the three essential ingredients – finding and following your passion, investing in yourself and planning for success and seeking the support you need and looking after yourself. If you can ensure you have these then you’re on your way to building an amazing business.