It’s a cringeworthy moment when you see a friend change their Facebook relationship from one that’s committed, like “married,” “engaged,” or “in a relationship,” to “it’s complicated.” Ouch. You know their relationship is usually in deep trouble.
Everything in life is a relationship. You have a relationship with your partner, a relationship with your spirituality, a relationship with your kids, a relationship with your body. And yes, you have a relationship with your business.
When you first start your business, there’s that spark of inspiration and possibility. You court the idea for a while, maybe you even bring it to a party and share it with some of your friends. They, of course, like it and think it’s a fabulous fit for you.
Then you take it to the next level; you become committed. You get a website. Maybe you hire a coach. You start investing some money and more time into this relationship.
But what happens when the relationship is not reciprocated? You’re not getting what you want – profit, customers, clients, sales – in return. Eventually that relationship can turn into the cringe-worthy “it’s complicated” status.
As you may have seen from friends who post this status on Facebook, this is normally a sign of the beginning of the end of that relationship. It’s no wonder that according to the Small Business Association (SBA), 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years, 50% during the first five years, and 66% during the first ten. That’s a pretty high business divorce rate for entrepreneurs.
If you’ve ever had trouble sustaining motivation in your business, if you’ve caught yourself procrastinating or delaying a launch or reaching out to a prospect, or if you are still undercharging for your products and services, chances are you’re in an “it’s complicated” business relationship status.
Here’s how to move your relationship from “it’s complicated” back into fully engaged.
1) Have the “Where is this going?” conversation.
Is this really a relationship you want to be in? Assess what inspired this relationship in the first place. Sit yourself down and have a candid conversation about whether you’re really in this business for the long haul. Think about when you’re in a relationship with someone who you think could be “the one.” There is a mutual trust, commitment, and a vision for what your future together holds.
Have you been operating in your business with the same trust? Or have you been doubting yourself or doubting if your business will work? All of those doubts stack up and lead to a breach in trust. Just like checking your man’s phone to see if he’s talking to other girls, in your business this looks like you checking out other “opportunities” rather than holding the vision for what your business does best and staying committed to doing that.
Also, know that it’s okay if you’re not ready to settle down with a business yet. Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur, just like not everyone is meant to be married. Either change the dynamics of the relationship, or change the relationship. But, most importantly, be honest about where you are with it.
2) Rebuild the trust.
If, after your candid conversation, you should decide to recommit and make your relationship work, take your business to counseling. Get a coach. Find a mentor. Rebuilding trust starts with rebuilding the communication and expectations for your future together.
For most entrepreneurs, the business didn’t perform at the level of their expectations because of their lack of commitment to knowing, appreciating, and respecting the love language of their business – KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
Many beginning entrepreneurs operate without having a clear understanding of what their business actually needs and how to achieve those needs. So they instead speak the language of taking pretty pictures for Instagram, or writing blogs, or designing a fancy website, which lacks the depth of connection, authenticity, and vulnerability that your business needs.
Your business needs you to be vulnerable and have the courage to ask for the sale, or the interview, or the referral. It needs you to connect with curiosity to your customers and clients and to communicate with them consistently. It needs you to show up not as the buttoned-up “first date” version of yourself, but as the authentic you. And you have to trust that, in return, it will show up for you in the form of prosperity and customers.
3) Declare your relationship.
Who needs to know about your vision for your relationship with your business? If you’ve been hiding the fact that you have this “fun side-thing” from your friends and family, then you’re treating your business like a side-chick rather than a relationship you’re in for the long haul. Have you shared your vision for your company with your with your team? Your team is anyone who supports you, from your spouse to your virtual assistant.
I worked with a client who told me she wanted to have a multi-million-dollar company in seven years, but she didn’t feel supported by her husband. However, she had never told him how big her vision for her business was, and what she saw this doing for their life together. When she finally had the courage to share her goals with her husband, she received nothing but praise and support.
As an entrepreneur, it is no one else’s responsibility to hold the vision for your relationship with your business but you. If you feel like you haven’t received support for your side-hustle, startup, or solopreneur venture, look at how often you have been treating your business like it was an afterthought, rather than a priority.
How will you choose to define your business relationship?
This article was originally published on Ellevate.
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