Reaching for the Summit
We chase money. We chase money because we want the new shiny thing. We chase money because we want the new shiny thing since we believe that will make us happy. Right?
I had the fortune to be involved in shaping and participating in this year’s Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce’s annual event, ‘The Summit’. The theme this year was growth – in all its guises (not just in terms of expanding revenues and staffing numbers). Apart from being an inspiring day, with interesting talks and debates, surrounded by like minded people and amazing local food, it was a stark reminder that what is really important in work is passion and happiness.
I am a firm believer that if you follow your passion then money will automatically flow. Yet if money is your main reason for your job or running your own business then burnout, boredom and lost focus, isn’t far behind.
Now this is great in theory but how do you put it into practice? Well firstly, you need to know what your passion is and how to turn that into a business that will work – where are the gaps and how do you fill them?
As one of my speakers in a session I was chairing at The Summit said, ‘Lock yourself in a dark room until you have a detailed strategy and action plan’. Sound advice. A business without a plan, will at best go around in circles and at worst, won’t last very long!
You need to acknowledge that you won’t have passion for every part of running your business (e.g. doing the accounts) so when possible, plug these gaps with people who do have a passion for that area.
Whilst money shouldn’t be the lead reason for starting your business, nevertheless, you still need to pay the bills so pay attention to the bottom line. Don’t give your product, service or idea away for free. Work out how to make money.
Don’t let your passion disappear – I hear some clients say that at first they loved the fact they could make a living from delivering their passion but as the business grew, it soon disappeared. The key is to get clear WHY you do what you do, get clear on your VALUES and the BEHAVIOURS that sit behind your values. Recruit against these and remind yourself frequently of them (put them somewhere visible to you, your team and your clients). I would also recommend taking time out each year to reconnect with why you started your business, and set goals and a context for the following year – to keep you excited and motivated. E.g for 2016 my context is PARTNERSHIPS since I want to do more work with other passionate people and this idea excites me.
Finally, there is no blue print of how to run a business. You don’t have to follow the rules. Nicky Gatenby of Brighton based Propellernet reminded us of this in her keynote at the Summit. It’s working for them (they are always in the top 10 Best Places in the UK to Work) so it can work for us too!