In Monday’s post, I wrote about 5 Habits of Exceptionally Successful Founders. I pointed out that adopting a goal-first approach and working to become a realistic optimist are important habits to cultivate. Successful founders also learn to experience the customer’s pain and solve one simple problem at a time.
More than 21,000 people took time to read that post, and I always enjoy reading what people write. I asked what other advice readers would give to business founders, and more than 75 readers offered their ideas. The advice was for founders, but I think it broadly applies to everyone who works. Here is one comment that stood out:
Be sure to keep your team in the loop, and communicate fully. This is often missed — it is too easy to assume that everyone else has the same level of understanding that you do, leading to misunderstandings and missed opportunities.
Too true! Keeping the lines of communication open is a key driver of success. Here is more advice from an experienced founder:
Expect to work at least 3x harder and longer than you did working as an employee elsewhere.
There is no way around it. When you start a business, be prepared to work harder than you ever have. But one comment was different than the rest, and it really got me thinking.
I appreciate you taking the time to really lay it on the line for your entrepreneurs. Too often this is perceived to be cushy and whimsical, when the opposite is reality! The dedication is amazing. Yet, it can be simple and even fun!
Yes, running a business is hard work, but it is good work. You start with a great idea that may someday change how people live. You think of a better way to do something that has been done the same way forever. Business owners are dreamers, creators, innovators, doers. That should be exciting, exhilarating stuff.
When you do it right, running a business should not feel like drudgery. Do you know the one sign you are in the right business? When work becomes fun.
Here is how you know you are on the right track with your company:
You ignore the clock
Have you ever been so immersed in a project that you lose track of time? That is the sweet spot for a business owner — to be able to lose yourself in the work. You know you are investing countless hours into your company, but who is keeping track? You know that every moment you spend is helping your business build momentum toward your goal.
You adore every task
You are ready to do whatever it takes to make the business a success, whether that is paying the taxes, meeting with customers, or figuring out what is wrong with the website. Just like a parent loves a child completely, you have unconditional love for your business. When it hurts, you hurt. When your business soars, you soar with it.
You help others
As a business owner, there are two groups of folks that you get to help, your customers and your employees. Each day is an adventure when you are surrounded by great people that you have handpicked to work alongside you. Together you provide a product that does something good for your customers. You are making your mark on this world in a positive way.
If that doesn’t excite you, you may be in the wrong business.
Make no mistake about it. Starting and running a business is a tough endeavor. You will work harder and longer than you ever have before, guaranteed, and some days will be better than others.
But when you are doing it right, the good days will outnumber the bad days. You will be grateful that you do what you do because it will not feel like work. That’s when you know for sure you love your company.
How do you know you love your company?