why you started your small business in the first place? If you’re like
most entrepreneurs, it was because you wanted freedom – to be the master
of your own time and most likely to make more money. You wanted to be happier
and to do work that you loved.
once a small business takes off, that joy factor often gets shoved to the back
burner. We work longer and longer hours, become increasingly intense about our
company and expect a commitment from our employees as consuming as any
corporate giant. Our spouses and children start complaining. In short, we lose
sight of our real purpose, which is to create joy in ourselves and those around
people have been looking for a magic formula for finding joy since the
beginning of time, here are a few ideas that you can put to use right away.
radiant with your clients
are that many of your competitors offer the same quality of service that you
do. The only thing that truly sets you apart is the after-feeling you leave
with clients – whether they feel uplifted after talking or being with you.
Although intangible, this is no trivial matter.
in corporate jobs these days tend to be seriously overworked by “right-sizing.”
They desperately need that vision of spunk and creativity that they get from
consultants and vendors. We represent “the edge,” and they count on us for a
glimpse of an expanded world of possibilities that they suspect is beyond the
overwhelming reason given by Americans for working for oil companies in Saudi
Arabia, often under extreme hardship conditions for themselves and their
families, is to salt away enough to finance their own business back home.
bleaker moments, like when a major client hasn’t paid, I try to remember this –
to maintain a sense of gratitude for being my own boss.
the human connections in your business
you sense the slightest opportunity, find out about your clients as people, and
learn what makes them tick. In essence, this is an attempt to discover their
individual joy factors. Work may indeed be their overriding passion. But do
they also wait for 5 PM so they can watch their daughter’s T-ball game? Do they
constantly reminisce about their last trek in Thailand?
even a few moments discussing the real lives of your business contacts
transforms the energy in any encounter. Often, a genuine friendship develops.
These friendships, not the bottom line, make it all worthwhile.
can’t spread joy if you don’t have it yourself. The fastest way to lose your
zest for living is through over-complication. We tend to think that success
necessarily implies growth. Nonsense. Success is determined by attaining your
goals, not those set for large corporations by financial pundits or Wall
were your goals when you started your own business? Mine now seem
embarrassingly modest. Still, reviewing them helps me discern between
meaningful or necessary change and growth for its own sake.
down a little. Place a value on simplicity itself and the mental and emotional
ease that simplicity brings, and you will feel more centered and purposeful
when making major business decisions.
the things others do to make the world a better place, however small, and say
something. It’s amazing how the simplest compliment will make a person’s day,
or perhaps even their week, and how the briefest thank-you note is often
treasured for years.
of my colleagues sends her associate a token gift every now and again, with
congratulations naming her “employee of the month.” The whole thing is a joke
because there are only two of them in the company, and neither is technically
an employee of the other. Still, the expression of gratitude is an important
businesses do not thrive merely by our own efforts. They succeed when our
communities are vibrant, a sense of togetherness exists in our neighbourhoods,
our local economy is strong, and our environment is healthy. All of these
depend not on government policy or hand-out programs, but on ordinary citizen
involvement. That means you and me – giving time, money and expertise as best
we can to the causes that touch our hearts.
family responsibilities make it difficult to volunteer as much time as we would
like. Other times it’s all too easy to forget the giving-back portion of the
financial equation. So, consider pledging a small percentage of your gross
receivables every month. You’ll look forward to writing a check to the group of
the project of your choice, plus you’ll quickly develop a sense of being
“blessed” by the revenue that comes in (and goes out) through you.
best way to heighten and maintain the joy factor in your business is to become
aware of it. Think about joy, in yourself, your colleagues and your clients.
Notice it when it bubbles up in a meeting. Be thankful for it when you notice
yourself smiling. By making joy a priority, you draw more of it to yourself –
and therefore have more to pass along to others.