Running a business is a romantic fantasy built on expectations of immediate gratification. People who venture on their own to start a new business are excited by the prospect of creating their own schedules and doing what they love. The hard work necessary; however, to build a business up and keep it running are often underestimated. Many business owners reach a point of burnout and lose their original passion. This is something that is hard to envision from the start because of the initial excitement.
As a business grows, the responsibilities of the owner often shift from doing what he set out to do: his passion, to doing behind-the-office tasks such as HR tasks, managerial tasks, dealing with legal issues, operational issues, etc. The more the business grows, the more the owner gets enveloped in these tasks. It can be disheartening to get separated from one’s passions, but how can one be reunited with the tasks he knows and loves?
If you feel you aren’t as close to your passions as you were before, there are some strategies you can implement into your business and your life to help you regain control of those passions and utilize them again.
Take Some Regular Time for You
It is important to stay connected with yourself to maintain balance and obtain satisfaction in what you do. So, make time to do things you enjoy. Start a new hobby; start exercising regularly; watch a new movie; read a book. You need time for you and you need time to unwind and relax, so you can start each day with a fresh outlook. We have all heard the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” It’s true. If you are not giving time to yourself and being mindful of your individual needs, you won’t perform your best in your business. Relaxation breeds innovation. A maxed-out body and mind cannot perform well. You will get burned out and your passion will dwindle.
Set Boundaries, and Stick to Them
Work is just that: work. So, set specific time frames for work. This is related to needing time for yourself, but this is also related to having a set routine. Work stress can spill over into your life at home if you don’t set boundaries. Things run smoother when you separate your work life and your personal life. Consider not taking any work-related phone calls after a specific time, and decide a maximum number of hours you will dedicate to the business each weekend.
Be diligent in doing this and make it a priority. Odds are you won’t be any more useful to the business by forcing yourself to stay late and go on little-to-no sleep day in and day out. That will make you burnout even faster.
Aside from regular time to yourself in your daily and weekly routines and managing boundaries, you need to take real time away from your work occasionally. This is absolutely essential to your envisioned success. Stepping away can be tough if you are the only person running your business, but it needs to be done. Entrepreneurs often fall into long workdays and working too many days each week. So, you need to make a decision on how many weeks and weekends you will give yourself away from the business - and actually take them off. Staying constantly plugged in to your work will lead to dissatisfaction.
Focus on what’s important to you. If making sure your customers are happy with your services is most important or bringing a new innovative idea to the table is center stage, then focus on that. You can hire someone to do the daily tasks you don’t enjoy, so you can get back to the exciting parts of your business. If you can’t afford a full-time employee, then contracting, part-time work, or outsourcing are options you can consider.
Stay Connected with Friends and Family, and Remember Why You Started
Friends and family may not always see your vision, but most of the time, when you are getting near the finish line and seeing real progress, they see it too. If you feel burnout creeping in on you, you might feel like moving further from those who are close to you. This is not the best idea. Everyone who has watched you build your business from the ground up knows how important it is to you, and they will want to see you succeed. Loved ones can remind us of our purpose and help drive us back into our passions and stay the course for the long run.
Additionally, remind yourself why you decided to start your own business. Were you excited about creating your own schedule and making your own decisions? What pushed you to make that move? Put those motivations to work. Rework your schedule and see if you can find one that works better for you. Do something fun for your employees. Change something in the office. Take charge and remember that you created this business, and you decide where it goes and how it runs. Remind yourself of all the incentives you pictured for yourself and picture the long-term success. Push through the hard times with these initial motivators in mind.
Get a Mentor
Mentorship is a great tool to utilize when you feel overwhelmed in your business. Look for business leaders in your industry and seek guidance. Ask them how they got where they are. There are many ways you can seek a mentor: through email, social media, meeting for coffee, etc. Don’t let fear of rejection turn you away from this idea.
Many successful people are happy to share their “secrets,” or methods, for success because they want to see others be successful too. This will also give you an opportunity to discuss your struggles, both internal and external, with someone who has experienced the same or similar plateaus in their career. This could be the motivation you need to get yourself back on track.
What’s new? What’s missing? How can you add to your business and your industry? Bringing in new and innovative concepts to your business will give you an edge, and will allow you the opportunity to put your initial skillset to work. You came into your business with fresh and new ideas, all revved up for the future. Bring that passion back. Start researching what’s missing from your service offerings or your business as a whole. See what industry leaders are doing to stay on top and implement those strategies into your company. If something is missing from your industry altogether, then bring it in and give your company an edge over your competitors.
Consider a Merger or an Acquisition with a Larger Company
At some point, organic growth seems to be a game of implementing new ideas while managing a larger and larger staff. Delegating gets more difficult, and you fear the business may fall apart if you step away for a few days to focus on you. The reality is you will eventually burnout. It is inevitable if you fail to see it when it is happening. All the above steps are great resources and tools you can use to take your business to the next level while maintaining your passion.
However, once you find yourself stuck in an office all the time running backend operations, and you aren’t a part of the team that’s bringing in new ideas and implementing them, it’s probably time to consider using a strategic partner, a manager who can run the backend operations while you do what you love and bring in new methods to further your footprint in your market.
You can sell a portion of your business, build a partnership, and continue growing the business you have raised from infancy. This inorganic growth method can help you achieve what you have planned for your business faster than you can on your own, and it can bring you back to doing what you love and being the innovative leader you are.
If you have found yourself stuck in managerial roles and want to get back to the front side of the business that you know and love, using a sell-side mergers and acquisitions firm like Benchmark International to find a strategic partner may be a good option for you.
WE ARE READY WHEN YOU ARE.
Call Benchmark International today if you are interested in an exit or growth strategy or if you are interested in acquiring.
Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 / Smoot@BenchmarkCorporate.com
Europe: Carl Settle at +44 (0)161 359 4400 / Settle@BenchmarkCorporate.com
Africa: Anthony McCardle at +2721 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkCorporate.com
ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL
Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $5B across 30 industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 13 offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.