Congratulations, your small business is successful. But has what kind of success has it produced?
There are times when being one with your business is not only a good thing, it’s essential. But extreme commitment weaves a fine seam between business and owner. And unfortunately, entrepreneurial single-mindedness often results in the opposite of what’s intended: a business in jeopardy, run by unhappy humans.
The best way to be a successful AND happy small business owner is to define success in many ways, including having a life that’s balanced with richness outside of the business.
A small business is more like a patchwork quilt than a security blanket. Some patches represent good things and some not so good. Some patches are about the business, others are about the owner, and some are hard to tell. Small business happiness is found by those owners who feel successful regardless of which patch is in front of them.
Having multiple touchstones of success, not just money and stuff, helps keep the rough patches in business and life in proper perspective. Clearly getting a new customer contract is a measure of success. But so is being able to schedule the time to attend a child’s school activity in the middle of the day.
If you became a small business owner to find financial success, good for you; as a capitalist, I admire that motivation. But if you think getting rich will make you happy, get your umbrella out because I’m going to rain on that parade with these two truths:
1. Wealth only provides options, it does not guarantee happiness.
2. If you can’t be happy without wealth, you aren’t likely to be happy with it.
Now let’s talk about being serious and having fun.
Reasonable people disagree on where we will spend eternity, but most agree that this is our only trip through this life. And every moment that goes by without some kind of joy is a precious opportunity lost. You’re no doubt planning for success this year, but have you made any plans to have fun? Not the trip to Disney World. Are you having fun on any given day as you run and grow your business?
If you want to have maximum small business success, learn how to run a tight ship while encouraging your people to laugh and find joy in their work.
And one more thing: don’t forget to laugh at yourself — in front of others. Those are usually the best laughs of your life.
Write this on a rock...Define success in more ways than just money and stuff. And don’t forget to have fun.
Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show. In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books; Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success.