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How Do You Keep the Passion After Starting a Business?

Small-business owners are oozing with passion. They see the potential in their idea. They believe fervently that the product or service they want to provide will have demand and interest from investors and customers alike.

They clear a host of hurdles – financing, product design, marketing, regulations, finding customers, building word of mouth. They falter at times, feeling knocked to the ground, but they get up, dust themselves off and keep on going.

Small business management means not doing it all
Inevitably, however, the passion can begin to fade. The hurdles feel higher, the obstacles more daunting. How do small-business owners keep the fire in their belly when it begins to fade?

According to two recent Harvard Business School articles, there are a number of steps small-business owners can take to make sure they remain fresh and keep the fires burning.

1. Make a ‘not do’ list
What are the behaviors that are not helpful or healthy for you? Do you respond to emails just before bed, getting your mind racing and making it difficult to sleep? Do you have a hard time delegating tasks to others in the organization? Taking the time to list the things that are getting in the way and preventing you from being at your best can be powerfully effective.

2. Get feedback
When you were starting your own business, you probably asked for lots of help from trusted family members, friends and business advisors. Have you asked lately? When you’re the boss, you don’t have a boss giving you feedback and evaluating performance. So who can do that for you? Take the bold step of asking employees, customers, and those same friends, associates and family members. Their feedback could provide you insights of which you were not aware.

3. Know your ‘near enemies’
The concept “near enemies” is Buddhist. It indicates two things that might sound alike but produce opposite results. What may seem helpful may actually be unhelpful. Think about activity and productivity. On first glance, they appear the same.

However, activity may be construed by some small-business leaders as meaning being continually active. The nonstop “it’s never done” mindset can wear down on you. Instead of thinking about activity and completing the endless to-do list, consider instead being productive with your time, using it wisely.

4. Change the plan
You’re told time and time again that you need a solid business plan to start your own business. The proper plan involves revenue projections, market analysis and potential customer lists. Yet in any business plan are a vast number of predictions and educated guesses. Were you right on all of them? Probably not. So take the time to go back and take a fresh look.

Rigidly adhering to a plan is foolish when market conditions have changed, customer expectations are different, or technologies have changed the game. Creating that new plan may be just what you need to gain new perspectives on that dream … and passion … you once had.

A temporary loss of passion is not unusual and is likely to be just that … temporary.