I conducted a workshop this week with a group of small business owners. I asked if they had the same passion as when they first opened their businesses; they all laughed at me. I said I knew my business was in trouble when I decided it would be easier without customers and employees; this got a round of applause.
The longer you’re in the business the more you get worn out. How can you do the same thing day after day and not get tired? You have to re energize yourself and your passion.
I’m convinced that many people go into business for the wrong reasons. If you ask why they’re in business they often say: “It’s to make money.” I then ask: well are you making money? The majority will say “no.” Then I ask why haven’t they made money and they come up with a ton of reasons–usually it’s the economy, no customers and bad employees. These are the same people who rarely attend a seminar or hire a business coach. Instead they turn up their noses at anything that goes against their thinking no matter how good the idea.
I went to see one of the business owners that didn’t attend the workshop and asked her why she hadn’t attended. Her answer: “I don’t need it.” I then asked how her business was doing and she said “not so good.” I really wasn’t sure what to ask her next but she obviously doesn’t have much faith in anything.
Today I stopped by a local nursery and told them it was nice to finally see them open. She laughed and said “its been a long winter.” I agreed and said “I would love if you would put up a sign that said, “200 days until Spring” instead of the one that says “Closed for the Winter.” She laughed and asked me “why” to which I replied, “It makes me depressed.”
She laughed again and said “It depresses me too!” Case closed. (You may have read my blog “Closed for the Winter” that I wrote about this nursery.)
Do you think people listen to what they say?
In order to make a business work, you must have passion and a plan. One without the other rarely works. If you don’t have passion it’s hard to stay focused; a bad day becomes a bad week. If it doesn’t go your way you stop all forward movement.
I observed businesses with no hours posted on the doors, “A be back in 10 minutes sign” (with no time on the doors stating when they left) and no emergency phone numbers. This isn’t a business that wants to make money; this is one that forgot about its customers.
As my mom used to say, “You can explain until you’re blue in the face, and no one is listening.” I think she was referring to me.
So what will build passion? Here are 8 ideas that might help.
- Talking with other business owners about what works. They don’t have to be in your business to get ideas. This is different than complaining about the economy and talking about what doesn’t work. Look at the half full glass of water not the half empty glass. Share ideas. A friend of mine said she got a call from a design competitor. At first she was nervous about talking with the woman then she realized she might learn something. She even took it a step further and decided they might even work together! Good for her! I turned out there were products she could sell the other designer. I spoke with several of the businesses in my workshop who can’t wait for the next one.
- Take a class on marketing, social media or ideas on how to grow your business. I have been listening to the radio station (on my phone) called Freakonomics, the hidden side of everything. A funny and thought provoking view of many things in the world.
- Do something that you enjoy; at least once a week. Many business owners do nothing but go back and forth to work. Give yourself a break.
- Sing out loud! Singing is a great way to relieve stress.
- Go to the gym or get some serious exercise. Working out will release endorphins, a chemical that will make you feel better. Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. I can’t say enough good things about the gym; working out helps me get better sleep.
- Look up videos on how to energize your passion. Simply Google or YouTube t videos on unleashing your potential.
- Read a book on business or motivation. I have a book called “Positive Quotes for the Day” that I read before I go to bed. I’ve given you a link to Internet quotes you can look at. I’ve taken the television out of my room so that I go to sleep with good thoughts rather than the last rerun of “Law and Order.”
- Take care of yourself; you’re the only one you have.
Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal customers through sales and customer service training.