What’s your long-term goal?
For many, it’s starting their own business. That feeling of launching your own small operation, turning it into a sprawling enterprise and having your name on the door to the big office — all huge achievements. But how do you make it fulfilling?
There are so many things in life we expect to be incredibly fulfilling moments that ultimately fall flat. Too often a dream business can come crashing down like a lead balloon.
Today we’ll cover how you can mentally and logistically prepare yourself and your business plan to ensure you aren’t left feeling unfulfilled by your new project.
Follow your passion
What should a business really be? Should you just jump into anything because there’s a gap in the market, or should you try and follow your passion?
Ultimately, there is no right answer. If money is your goal and you’re scouring for the next toy trend, then that’s just as admirable and legitimate as someone who toiled for years on their own bespoke webstore. However, if you want to build something unique you can look back on one day and feel truly fulfilled, consider not letting that dream die.
Businesses based around passions don’t always succeed, but they can sometimes hang in there that little bit longer and catch that all-important break.
Building around your passion doesn’t necessarily mean doing something with limited interest or importance. Sure, you could go down the arts path full of competition and lacking in money, or your passion could be helping people.
There are so many examples throughout history of businesses started as a passion project that might not necessarily look like one. John’s Crazy Socks might sell the most boring of all fashion accessories, but it was born out of a father-son relationship and a desire to give people living with Down Syndrome a place in the world. VA Claim Pros might not be glamorous, but a desire from veterans to help support other veterans is what drives it.
It might sound cliche to say your business dream is worthless if you’re not following your passion (it’s also not true). It will make the journey a whole lot more fulfilling though.
Build a fun workspace
For so many people, where they work is just as important as what they do for work. For the sake of not just your team, but yourself, you should look to cultivate a fun, exciting and challenging work environment.
There are so many examples of workplaces that have leaned too heavily into ‘organised fun’ that it can be difficult to know how to approach brightening up your workplace. We recommend taking a more natural approach and encouraging a team-lead restructuring of your office and attitudes, from the aesthetics to weekly routines. By encouraging feedback when developing a fun workplace you ensure something that appeals uniquely to your team, rather than a bland, blanket solution that leaves everyone underwhelmed.
Many businesses have found success by creating separate areas to work and play within their workspace. If you have the room, consider developing a games room where employees can blow off steam and develop relationships that will improve their collaboration. Likewise, create a space in which employees can work together on projects that isn’t surrounded by grey walls and whirling machines. Colour and comfort help make creativity shine, and giving employees somewhere to step away to can have a dramatic effect on their mood and output.
Developing this kind of workplace is fulfilling not just because you get to enjoy it yourself, but in how it affects the overall morale of your team. A fun workplace can be the positive reinforcement they need, and be a boost to look out upon every time you’re feeling down on your choices.
Don’t be afraid to take risks
Keeping the ship safe and steady might pay the bills, but sometimes you need to take risks to develop the kind of business that really scratches your itch.
Now, that’s not to say you should risk the safety of your business, but sometimes owners need to back their own project and believe they can do something unique in their industry. Take a brand such as TOMS, for example. They believed their unique, giving business model would attract a whole new customer base in a very crowded market, and now stand as one of the leading shoe manufacturers around the world.
A risky decision is the backbone of so many great business stories, whether that’s launching a new technology or believing in changing customer attitudes. Often, you’ll need to take a risk to really achieve what you want to with your business.
Of course, there will always be business owners who are happy to watch things tick over. If that’s you, that’s totally fine. It’s essential to protect your own assets and the well-being of your staff. However, if you can afford it, taking a risk and experimenting can help improve your attitude with work, relationship with the project and the attitude in the workplace every morning.
One of the best ways to create a fulfilling workplace for both you and your team is to focus on education and training.
Self-improvement in the workplace is becoming hugely popular, with many businesses offering dedicated training programmes and time for their staff, and many of the top applicants worldwide looking for roles they can develop and earn qualifications in.
Whether it’s at major brands such as McDonald’s or less well-known enterprises such as CultureAmp, training has come to define what working at these companies is about. For business owners, this development and re-branding of business ethics can be hugely fulfilling.
Watching staff develop from interns and apprentices into fully-fledged team members with unique insight and a dedication to improvement can make those hard years getting the business off the ground worth it. A company should always be more than profit, and developing your own training programmes or working with existing courses can massively improve the culture of your enterprise. If you miss the buzz of the college campus, this is a great way to replicate it.
Talking to team members about their training, listening to their discussions about industry theories and watching them use their education to solve real problems — few things are more fulfilling than that.
Know when to take a break
To feel truly fulfilled in your work, you have to strike the right balance. Just as it’s important to know where you’re going, it’s essential you know when to take a step back.
While owning a small business can come with a significant amount of pressure, there are plenty of ways you can ease the load from your shoulders.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the same applies to work. A short break every now and then can help you come back fresh and ready to tackle new challenges without getting burned out.
Don’t be afraid to outsource. When things are tough and you can see that not just you, but your whole team, are at breaking point, it’s not cowardly to reach out for help. There are so many talented freelancers out there who can offer your business a quick boost in your time of need, whether you need content, technical advice or just someone to do the admin.
No business ever thrives because an owner broke themselves working on it. Be kind to yourself and don’t make work a chore. If you start to dread working, you’ll never be fulfilled by your business.
Set goals, take risks, reach for them. If you didn’t feel the urge to be fulfilled you’d have carried on working that boring desk job.
Starting a business is all about getting more out of life and putting your own stamp on the world. Follow these tips to realise a business dream that doesn’t just put food on the table, but makes you feel like you’re really accomplishing something.