Are you a small business owner because you have to be, or because you want to be?
It’s an important question to answer. Here’s why.
1. Passion Is Better for Business
“Business is best when people providing goods and services feel passion and commitment to what they are producing,” says neuroscience business expert Janet Crawford.
Passionate business owners are better at what they do. When it comes to overcoming challenges, sharing the vision behind the business, persuading and leading people, passion gives people an edge.
That’s great for your business, if the passion is indeed present.
2. Passion Will Keep You Driven
Once things get tough (and when it comes to running a small business, they inevitably do) passion will keep you getting out of bed at 7 AM to face a seemingly-endless To Do list. Ask yourself these questions when it comes time to reconnect with your passion:
What led me here?
Think back to the beginnings of your story. What choice, or set of choices, did you make? Why? If you chose out of fear, desperation, pressure from others, or lack of options, it’s time to consider if it’s the right decision for you. If, on the other hand, you acted (at least partially) from desire and interest, to solve a problem, with enthusiasm, joy, and/or a clear purpose, you’re probably right where you want to be.
What do I love about my business?
Your forté may be sales, but you find yourself spending hours behind a computer. Or perhaps you excel at analytics and strategy, but all your time goes to handling personnel issues and customer crises. Make a list of the positives (what gets you excited about work) and the negatives (what makes you want to hide from work). It doesn’t matter if the negatives outnumber the positives; it does matter that the positives are at the heart of your business.
3. Passion Will Help You Manage Stress
Let’s say that you know the passion is there. It doesn’t change the fact that running a business is still difficult work. More than 50% of business owners work 50+ hours per week. Many small business owners don’t take a vacation, and of those who do, most only take 5 days off per year.
The stress of business ownership is a natural response to the demands you face. Without an inherent sense of value and interest in your business, you can easily grow to resent the fact that your business requires so much of your life.
4. If You Know You Had Passion at the Start, You Can Always Revive It
Sure, you’ll have bad days. But if you started with passion, and learn to use the steps above to revive it, you’ll have more good days than rough ones.
- Remember that list of positives and negatives? Your goal is to strike as many of those negatives from your list as possible. You do so by eliminating them altogether, automating them, delegating them, or outsourcing them. Working in your strengths increases your passion.
- Create a reminder of what makes this business matter to you. Go back to the beginning. Write your story out, or tell a friend or family member. Find a phrase or image that reminds you of the purpose and joy you feel in what you’re doing, and put it in your main work area.
- Dedicate time to big-picture thinking. You may take joy in the details of day-to-day management, but without big-picture thinking on a regular basis, you will lose the vision that drives you and find a bunch of negatives creeping back onto your list.
Passion isn’t the only thing required to build a healthy business; but having it makes the work better for you, your team, and your customers.