As a business consultant, I constantly hear stories, read advice, and see comments focused on worries, concerns, and caution. While thinking through strategies and carefully planning your approach are important, the fuel that brings an idea to life are passion and positivity.
Skill, experience, training, analytics, and all the other technical aspects of running a business are important, yes. But, without the passion and positivity, will you have the drive to push through when problems arise? Will you have the perseverance to keep going when it feels hard? The desire and persistence to succeed come from something you have to find within yourself.
When the “going gets tough,” it can sometimes feel overwhelming. That’s when you need to tap into your “why”—your reason for running this business in the first place. What do you love about it? Why is it important for this pursuit to be successful? What is your driver? Maybe your product or service helps people and it feels good to know that you’re making a difference. Or maybe your company brings people together and that is fulfilling for you. Whatever it is, that is the fuel you need to succeed.
If you need a little boost finding your passion and positivity (some days are harder than others), here are some reminders to keep you on track:
- Stop focusing on the negative. Positive thinking is vital. To really have a good chance at success, one needs a balance between reality, paranoia, action, and positive thinking.
- Positive thinking does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring negatives. Instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.
- Create a positive culture. Say please, thank you, and demonstrate you care about people. Show support with praise and encouragement.
- Remember that operating a small business is a process. Recognize you will make mistakes. Your goal must be to develop, test, measure, and adapt rather than give up after the first or second problem. Because there will be problems. Regularly. Therefore, businesses not only need to have alternatives at the ready, but the processes to adapt must be in place as well.
- Stay grounded. Encourage open communication, a sense of realism, and focus on problem solving. Be sure to constantly assess your situation. Develop expert support and, when appropriate, have discussions with outside and inside colleagues. There are always ways to improve. So, be open to new ideas and suggestions.
- Be flexible. Because the market changes, and your customers’ lifestyles change by the nano-second, you need to be able to pivot. By “expecting” that your market can change from year to year, you are being proactive in your thinking, and can create flexible plans to adapt to these changes.
- Put yourself in others’ shoes. There is extensive research supporting the idea that people don’t change unless they believe in it. So, when given the opportunity to argue your case, try to emphasize the benefits for the other party. It is well proven that tactics like collaboration, trust, and listening work better in decision-making than dictating, lecturing, and proclaiming false expertise. Think of things from their perspective.
- Understand your goals, resources, and risk. In particular, really understand your market analysis, competition, how and why your company is different, and why customers should care. Are you focused on long-term growth or quick profits? While testing alternatives is a great strategy, ensure that you are focused on priorities that you can execute and that will have the most potential.
- Have fun. Finding ways to incorporate fun helps you tap into your passion and positivity. It can also reduce stress, boost morale, and fosters positivity.
Passion and positivity are great drivers of success. When you enjoy doing something, the effort you put into it feels more fulfilling. And while you may not be passionate about doing inventory, knowing it benefits the overall business may make the less-fun tasks more bearable. It’s all about mindset. So, set your worries aside, keep your passion and positivity at the forefront, continue working hard, and trust that you’re headed for greatness.