All entrepreneurs are dreamers. All businesses start with a dream.
Have you lost touch with yours?
After many years in business, it is easy to have lost touch with why you started your business. Maybe it’s time to revisit that dream.
Having a driving force that helps you keep going when things get tough is important. It also helps steer a clear course for your business if you know what your vision is and you keep focused on it.
I spoke to a prospective client recently and her excitement for starting her new business was palatable. It was a reminder that when you’re first getting started everything is fresh and exhilarating, like a shiny new car. I remember that excitement from when I bought my car a few years ago. I was so thrilled that I finally had something I’d dreamed of for so long. I kept her clean and pretty, paid close attention to her maintenance and drove her with pride. That’s how things are at the beginning when you first start a business. You are excited to create your vision. New challenges light you up and you rise to the occasion.
After a while of grinding away at the same old thing day after day, year after year, the new car smell starts to wear off your business and you no longer have the same enthusiasm. That’s normal. My car sits dirty in the driveway most of the time now. I still love to drive her, but I take her more for granted than I did when she was new. It’s similar to a business. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why you started it in the first place. Your motivation and drive to keep up with the important parts wanes.
If you find yourself in this state of semi-apathy, maybe it’s time to remember your dream.
- What was your vision when you first started your business?
- What lit you up and got you excited to get going?
- Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?
Spend some time getting back to your dream and see if you can renew your enthusiasm. If your dream has changed, that’s okay, just figure out what your dream is now. Put a new vision out in front of yourself and your team if your dream has changed. Find that motivation again. You don’t necessarily need to buy another new car, maybe you just need to polish the old one off and make it shiny again.
Once you’ve relocated or revised your dream, then you can set fresh goals. Knowing where you want to go is how you start to figure out your goals.
Dreams are the vision; goals are the steps to getting there.
It’s important to have goals that feel good. If you are always just focused on the next financial step you might miss out on the piece that gives you passion for your business. For me, it’s not just about increasing my income, it’s about empowering my team and my clients to live their vision and dreams. Sure, getting to a better financial place will help me do that more easily, but if I just focus on the numbers, there isn’t as much drive or enthusiasm.
When I go back to my vision, I remember my two missions:
“To help small businesses succeed.”
“To empower women both personally and financially.”
These are the dreams that helped me to find my path to success. Once I find my vision again, then I can determine what my goals are for the coming year. I can put a number on things if that helps. For example, I can set a goal for how many small businesses I want to add to my client list for next year. That’s measurable and I can track it. It’s concrete enough to break down into the steps I need to take to acquire that number of new clients. Then each time I bring on a new client, I will be reminded of my dreams and will feel rejuvenated that I am living out my vision. My focus won’t be on how much money I make each month, it will be on how many clients I helped fulfill their dreams.
Take some time now, before the end of the year, to revisit your original dream.
Figure out if your vision has changed and needs to be revised or if it’s still very much alive and you need to redirect your focus to be on it, not something else. Either way, find something that lights you up again. Get excited, like you just bought a new car.
Then take the time to figure out how to infuse your business with that vision and enthusiasm.
Having your dream out in front as your driving force will help you stay focused on where you are going and why. From there, you can line up your goals to take you toward that vision. We all need a little tune up from time to time to keep us running smoothly. Now is a great time of year to do just that, so when the new year comes, we are excited about a new set of goals driving our businesses forward.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (www.strongwomenthriving.com), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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