Are you clear on why you own a business?

Asleep on the job

Business owners tend to dislike spongers.

As a cohort, we tend to be impatient with those we think aren’t pulling their weight in society. Often we see ourselves in opposition to ‘those people’. We’re getting up early, we’re taking risks, we’re putting in the graft when others are just cruising and getting things delivered on a plate.

We tend to define ourselves by our effort and our sacrifice. It gives us a sense of pride and at times a sense of superiority. We look other business owners in the eye and recognise what we see. We’re part of that club.

There’s a problem though: membership of this club doesn’t come with automatic rewards.

There’s no ‘time in lieu’ when we work late or during weekends. There’s no income supplement when the business has a bad month. There’s no hospital for entrepreneurs.

Our commitment to the cause can blind us. At best, we serve our businesses at a personal cost. At worst, we can convince ourselves that we are victims and get comfortable with it.

Why exactly was it we started a business again?

Maybe you are driven by a clear sense of purpose of why your business(es) exist? Maybe you are energised by how your business improves the lives of your customers? Maybe you are building a legacy for your family and your community?

Or maybe you’ve lost sight of all of that stuff because you just don’t have time. Maybe you’re stuck in the trenches chasing the next target, whether it’s survival or expansion. Maybe you’ve decided you’ll worry about all that stuff when the recession is over.

I need you to stop and think for a second.

Are you clear on what you want from your business? And I’m not just talking about the money, whether it’s current income or a future payoff. What kind of lifestyle do you want your business to provide? How will your business support the life you want to live?

So, here’s my question: are you as clear about what you want in terms of lifestyle as you are in terms of business goals?

It’s a binary answer. Either you’ve got your lifestyle ideal figured out, or you don’t.

I’m taking a position on this one. I think you’re better off – and your business is better off – when you’re clear on this.


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This post has been amended from a recent edition of a fortnightly email written specially for ambitious business owners. You can join the growing list who receive this mail here

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