Why am I doing this?
When you started your business, did you do it . . . because you wanted a business? Or because you wanted the lifestyle you thought it could provide you?
If you are like most of my clients, it was for the latter.
What is that lifestyle you wanted? Did you want to…
Be in control of how much you earned
Decide how much you wanted to work
Make decisions without needing approval
Work in a field that you love
Make something unique available to others
Build and leave a legacy
Why is this exercise so important? When times get tough, (like all of 2020), you have to be able to remind yourself ‘WHY’ you are doing what you are doing. (A simple 2-step exercise I give my clients is below -- you can do it on your lunch break)
A personal story:
In the fall of 2013, I finished my treatments for Stage 3 cancer, and I didn’t know if I had one year, 5 years or 25 years to live. But I did know that whatever time I had left, I didn’t want to spend it on an airplane over the Pacific Ocean visiting customers for a $10B public company; I wanted to invest that time in doing something I loved.
What do I love to do? Build. Learn. Teach.
So, I decided to build a consulting firm where I could take all I had learned in leadership, strategy and operations after 25 years in the tech industry to help private business owners achieve remarkable results.
Why was that important to me? I had friends who were business owners and I could see them struggling with priorities, people and processes. I knew I could help them.
How? By bringing to them all the tools, training and techniques I had successfully used for years; the net result for them would be clarity on what they needed to do next to get on track to achieve their lifestyle goals and, even more importantly…HOW to do it. That is what I love to do, and I have been doing it for over six years.
I’ll admit there have been many times since I started, (including this year), that I have thought,
‘Thomas, why are you doing this to yourself? You could get a CEO job with a predictable income that is 3 to 4 times what you are making now!’
Well, that question lingers in my mind for only a few seconds because my ‘WHY’ comes to mind, takes control and reminds me of exactly how the lifestyle my business provides me is far more valuable than working for someone else could ever offer. I know that I have designed and built my business to provide for me exactly the life I want, (and that it’s not all about the money.)
My experience with clients has been consistent; once they have the reasons for starting their business clear and the lifestyle they hope to achieve documented, they begin to make solid progress towards their business goals. And they can overcome any storm or challenge that may come their way.
So, what’s your story?
Here’s what I would like to encourage you to do this week to ensure YOUR business is designed and built to provide you exactly the life you want. Two steps that you can do on your lunch break:
Write down the three main reasons you wanted to be a business owner. Don’t just pick from the answers above, but really put some thought into it. Money? Time? Freedom? Serving others? Doing something your way in a field you love? Filling a need?
For each of your three reasons, look at your current business’ performance and ask yourself, “Is my business on track to satisfy my expectations?”
If you can, without a doubt, answer ‘Yes’ for your main three reasons—Congratulations!
If you can’t answer solid ‘Yes’ for ALL three reasons, then write down what would have to change in your business over the next three years so you could.
These two steps are a simplified version of the process I take my clients through every fall season to kick off our annual business planning process. Why? Because there is no reason to spend one moment or dollar building a business that is not going to provide you the lifestyle you want.
Be encouraged. Be strong. Be courageous.
BTW: If you are wondering, yes, I have been cancer free since my treatments in 2013. I thank God for that outcome.