Valentine's Day, that annual celebration of the bond between two. It's a day to remember why your eye twinkles, why your heart beats faster and why you're always preoccupied with the one you love.
Is it a healthy give-and-take relationship?
In this case, though, we're not talking about a special "someone" in your life. We're talking about a special "something"—your business. And you are still in love, aren't you?
Well, if you wonder if you really do feel that same flutter you did when you fell head over heels in love with the idea of running your own business, here's what you can do to fan that flame of fancy and keep the love alive—for your business.
How do I love thee?
"Let me count the ways," as poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 says. That might sound like a desperate attempt to convince yourself that you're still in love (while some nagging voice wonders if the passion is gone).
But it's a good exercise for any entrepreneur who ponders whether he or she is stuck in a dead-end relationship. So ask yourself these questions about your relationship with your business:
- Do you still get a return on your business efforts? Is it a healthy give-and-take relationship, where you give what the business needs to keep moving ahead and the business, in turn, gives you back revenue, profit, and satisfaction?
- Do you still smile when you achieve your business goals? Does running the business keep you eager to return to it every day and spend time at it without feeling as if you wish you were somewhere else?
- Is there still adventure in your relationship? Does the business bring you opportunities you never expected and that delight you?
What is this thing called love?
What were you willing to give of yourself when you first fell in love with your business?
Now, if you struggled with expressing the things you love about your business, you might need to dig a little deeper. You might need to ask yourself exactly how you define your love for your business.
It's not a silly exercise; it's important to help determine if what you do in business is what you truly love to do. So see how well you can answer these questions:
- What attracted you to your business in the first place? This takes you back to that first moment when you conjured the idea, it gave you a tingly feeling all over, and you couldn't resist pursuing it. That was when you first fell in love with the idea of your business. Go back and rediscover that moment.
- What were you willing to give of yourself when you first fell in love with your business? Do you still feel like giving at that level or have you been cooling off some? It might be time to "rekindle the flame" that glowed in you back then. Often, business owners just get busy with other things, get distracted from their original idea and mistakenly feel they've fallen out of love; but maybe that's not really the case.
- What were your goals for your relationship with your business? Can you clearly articulate them or have you sort of lost your way? Did you already meet those goals? If so, have you defined your next level of success?
Other businesspeople, especially, will likely share your situation, assuring you you're not alone in these awkward feelings
Staying in love
If you've been able to honestly assess the relationship with your business—and honesty is important—you should have more clarity of what that love was and whether you're still able to reignite the passion.
You can, you know, if you'll try a few things:
- Determine where you're dissatisfied in your business and make a plan to improve those elements. Don't try to do it all at once. Do a little at a time and know you're making progress with each step.
- Talk about your business with other people. Many will be impressed that you're running a business and able to stay with it. Other businesspeople, especially, will likely share your situation, assuring you you're not alone in these awkward feelings.
- Increase your business presence and shout it to the rooftops. When you commit to a more public proliferation to your business, you're committing to making the relationship work.
Just like everyone loves a lover, most folks love a happy businessperson. Don't get discouraged if you've been struggling with your business passion. Understand your situation, clarify your original attraction, then get out there again and show the world what love of business looks like!
Other Entries by this Author
Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay…and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues.
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