February is the month for Valentine’s Day, and all around, you’ll see hearts and flowers. But when it comes to starting and growing your small business, have you followed your own heart?
Small business owners are notorious for sabotaging their own companies when they fall out of love with what they’re doing. Once you lose interest in your own business, there’s almost certainly trouble ahead.
Thus, it’s a business necessity to spend time focusing on how to get more satisfaction from your business by following your heart. But, of course, you have to make money too. Your heart may take you backpacking in the Himalayas but unless you build a profitable business around trekking and tourism, you’ll be sleeping out in the cold.
How do you follow your heart when choosing your small business and make money too?
Choosing a business is like choosing a romantic partner: you want both stimulation and security (and it’s nice if your parents approve, too.)
First off, what interests you? You’re going to be doing this for a long time, so choose a business you’re interested in. Now, this doesn’t have to be the thing you’re most passionate about in the world or your hobby. In fact, sometimes turning your hobby or passion into your “work” means losing something you love.
But it should be something you’d be happy reading about regularly, knowing a lot more about, becoming an expert at.
Next, don’t get fixated on just the most obvious way to work in that field. Let’s say you’re interested in real estate. There are lots of different ways you could have a real estate business. You could:
- Become a real estate agent
- Rent out part of your home or buy a second property and run it as an Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway
- Renovate and sell older homes
- Become a stager to better show off homes for sale
- Raise money from others to invest in multiple properties
- Become a property manager
- Become a photographer of homes for real estate agents
- Start the next Internet real estate company and try to become the next Zillow
Each of these businesses centers around your interest, but each requires different ways of working, investments and level of risk. Most importantly, they fit different personality types.
Follow your heart by building a business that fits your:
Personality. Are you detail-oriented? Do you enjoy working on a computer all day? Perhaps you would you rather be on the road, meeting with customers and suppliers? Do you like more risk for more possible reward? Or do you prefer less risk in exchange for a steadier income? Know yourself before you launch a business or alter course in an existing one.
People style. Do you work best in groups, working collaboratively on projects? One of the many perks of running your own small business is that when you’re in charge, you get to choose people you admire to work with. On the other hand, perhaps you do you work best individually.
Lifestyle. If you want to start work late every morning so you can surf when the tide is high, you’re not likely going to build a Fortune 100 company. If you have small children at home, you’ll likely want to run the kind of business that keeps you in town, not on the road.
Desire to grow. Entrepreneurs don’t like being static. While they typically want to master their work, they also want to be challenged and to be learning and doing new things. Perhaps you left your day job because you were bored. That same boredom can creep in when you’re running your own small business if you’re not sufficiently challenged.
Strengths. Focus on what you’re good at rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. If you excel at sales but can’t manage employees well, bring on board someone to balance that weakness.
Need for creativity. Creativity comes in many forms, from designing a new widget to devising a new business process or even coming up with a new way to make sales, handle customers, or reward employees. If you have a high need for creativity, make certain you remain involved in the creative process as your company develops and grows.
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2016
This article originally ran in USA Today on February 12, 2016