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Why Did You Start Your Business?

Last updated April 4, 2020

Most business owners think long and hard before setting up their company. They have plans, goals, passion, and a drive to start a business and succeed. Whatever your trigger was, I’m sure you created a clear picture in your mind of what it would be like running your own company and the success you’d have.

What is your reality today? Is it what you thought it was going to be? Instead of building that picture of success, has your vision ended up as a millstone around your neck, a chore instead of a pleasure, stressful instead of fun, standing still treading water instead of growing your income and profit?

Let’s take a look at how your initial dreams for your business can become your reality, and how to regain that enthusiasm if you’ve lost it along the way.

The owners of successful Grown-Up Businesses have a crystal-clear vision of everything that the business should be: how it operates, the products, who the customers are and how they are treated, the standards, the systems, and the success. They start working on the business with the end vision in mind. They see this vision as the reality they can attain, even though they know it’s going to be hard work. That vision, that dream, is essential when the going gets tough. Being able to keep their total focus on the dream during the dark days is what helps them succeed.

Related Articles: Should You Start a Business which includes a 20 question checklist to get you thinking. Also Building Valuable Assets.

Any successful sports person will tell you about the constant training and practice, the early starts, the doubts, the sacrifices, the injuries, the problems, and the knock-backs that all happened for years before they tasted even a little success. Those knock-backs and their ability to overcome them transformed them into the successful sports people they became. If you’ve never made a mistake or had a knock-back, then you’ve never learnt.

Additional Reading: Reignite Your Dream

I’ve yet to find a successful business owner who hasn’t failed at something. When you’re facing failure, dealing with a mistake, overcoming yet another problem, it’s your strong vision and goal that keeps you going. If you lose sight of your dream, or it becomes cloudy, you’ll find it virtually impossible to climb out of that depressive state. If your reality is now a long way away from your dream, you’ve lost your way. Now is the very best time to remind yourself why you started your company in the first place. Getting back in touch with your dream is an excellent motivator: it will give you an energy boost to get you back on track.

Your team will soon know when you’ve remembered your dream. They’ll see you change into the leader you want to be as your passion, drive, and focus returns. And they’ll respond. They’ll match your positive mood and then your customers will see that positive difference too.

Jo's Story

Jo had trained as a bookkeeper and whilst her three children were very young, she freelanced from home, but she always wanted more. She dreamt of a successful business with herself at the helm to guide and direct it, like a ship steaming towards its destination.

But she wasn’t earning much, even though she was putting in the work. Her clients were delighted with her service and she worried that if she put her prices up, her customers would go elsewhere – so she didn’t. To make more money, she just added more clients and worked even more hours. Time off was impossible; her clients needed her. As she improved and got faster, she didn’t earn more, because she charged by the hour when she should have been charging for her expertise and the value that she delivered.

She was stuck in the classic struggle between working in the business and working on it. She didn’t have time to plan, because she was working too hard. As any good business person will tell you, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Jo had the technical skills and continued to gain more qualifications as she looked after her happy clients from home. She knew other bookkeepers too and quickly recognised that although they were technically good, they weren’t good at finding new clients. Jo was and her clients were referring other clients to her. She also built a strong relationship with a local accountancy firm, who referred even more clients. She was bursting at the seams.

When her second child went to school, she launched The Bookkeeping Company. That’s when I met Jo and she told me her dreams:

  • to build a successful, growing, and well-respected bookkeeping practice
  • to provide a beautiful home for her family (She had a lovely vision of Christmas dinner with every member of her family around the same table.)
  • to help and support stay-at-home mums to return to the workplace with a fulfilling job
  • to be recognised as an expert in her field
  • to provide exceptional, professional bookkeeping services to even more clients

18 months later, Jo had a team of 15 staff all working flexible hours between 7 am and 10 pm, and a bank of happy clients. She had launched a new payroll service too. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers recognised her success, making her a finalist in the Practice of the Year awards. What a fantastic start! Jo still has lots to achieve and she continues to work towards her dreams, which now include opening a series of offices.

Time for Action - Try These Next Steps

  • Now put this down, grab a cup of tea or a glass of something, and close your eyes. Think back to the day you set up your company. What was your dream, your plan, or your goal? Remind yourself why you started your company.
  • Write down your dream – use bullet points (it’s quicker) and include anything and everything about it.
  • Now turn your attention to your current reality. What has your dream turned into? Use your list to tick or cross what is and isn’t working.

This blog is taken from my book The Grown-Up Business. You can read the first chapter or buy the book in paperback or on Kindle now.

shirley-mansfield-CoachSME
Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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