3 Reasons People Quit Before Their Businesses Succeed
Let’s be honest, running a business is hard. Many people dream of waking up late, dream of working from home. You think that running a business will increase your sleep, improve your mood, increase your wealth and generally make your life happier and more full of love and light.
Then reality hits and it feels like a bucket of ice water (with the ice!) being thrown on your head.
It’s no surprise that many people end up quitting before their business even has the time to get established. In the face of the sometimes daunting challenges that come from starting your own business, it’s critical to be really clear WHY you started in the first place. But the wrong WHY can be hugely harmful to your chances of success.
Here are 3 WHYs for getting into a business that will likely cause you to fail, and how to turn them around:
1. Freedom is Fleeting
When a business person says they want freedom, it’s usually a lie. If the dream is freedom, then you are better off becoming a monk or going to an Ashram in India. Most people when they describe freedom are really talking about having more than enough money to pursue their interests without worry. In fact, it tends to be the people who have the most experience with leisure that often wants freedom the most.
Unfortunately, freedom is rarely a good reason to get into a business. It tends to create people who are running away from responsibility, deadlines, or bosses. Instead, they end up trading responsibility for their work for the responsibility of paying rent and salaries, deadlines don’t go away and grow in importance and you trade in a boss you report to for a boss that pays you – in the form of a client. Most of the freedom people think they will get from running their own business is false.
That said, business has its own kind of freedom – but it is usually different from what most people expect. The freedom of being in business comes in the form of commitment. Commitment to achieving something for yourself on your efforts.
Business people who make it through the “honeymoon” period that comes from quitting and beginning a start-up, who then move into a business that is in full swing will tell you that committing to making things work creates a clarity of action that is freeing and allows creativity to shine. It isn’t all rainbows and smiles, but it does have a satisfying way of making everything clearer; and good business people relish the joy of finding solutions that come from this deep level of commitment.
For those people who want freedom, look instead at what you would do with that freedom. Create a clear vision of it, make it detailed and visual. This dream is what the “freedom” of business is about and when you hit a wall it will keep you from running away from the pain to the pleasure of your daydreams.
2. Fixing the Past is Toxic
Certain types of business owners are sadists. I don’t mean toward their employees, but rather toward themselves. They love to experience the torture that comes from focusing on the “naysayers” in their lives. You can tell who they are by the fact that they always seem to be in competition with everyone and are never satisfied with anything less than the perfect. It comes from this subconscious need to prove wrong, anyone who ever defeated them, degraded them or insulted them.
These people get into business to prove people wrong and are constantly looking for people to conquer. Many people are working to prove their parents, teachers, or ex-bosses wrong, and it ends up being more about proving than it does about creating any kind of joy or positive experience. The issue with this motivation is that once you have done enough to feel some level of success the motivation seems to disappear and people end up losing their motivation. For these people, the past is an imaginary spear in the back. Once it’s removed and the pain is gone, what drives them?
If the intention is to prove people wrong, get into sports because creating a sustainable business from this motivation is as rare as spotting a snow leopard in the wild. These businesses tend to be aggressive and fast moving but the owners tend to burn out before they can create something that outlasts their anger, resentment or injured pride.
What serves these character types more is to connect with what the kind of life they want to create for themselves once they have achieved success. By shifting the focus to the legacy they want to create instead of the problem they want to solve, these people can find a motivation that is greater than themselves. When the target is great enough and means enough to them, it will shift them away from the past and the pain that exists and turn their attention to the future.
3. Too Small a Vision
Business owners spend lots of time, money and effort to understand their products, their target markets and the mechanics of their business. Many of these owners start by setting goals for the first, maybe the second year, and then they get to work. In no time, as they get to work, the fires start popping up and suddenly all they seem to be doing is putting out or resolving issue after issue.
Too often the vision for the company that these business people have is simply survival in 5 years. When they have to concentrate on just keeping their heads down and focus on getting sales, they often lose motivation and find themselves wanting to quit. This usually comes from the fact that the vision they created for themselves is too small.
One of the key things that people need is a purpose. Having your business fulfil that purpose is one of the most effective ways to keep your head up when the pressure is on. In fact, many of the most successful business people create their companies in ways that specifically address the changes in the world that they want to see. It is never a bad idea to take a good look at your business and see if it is aligned with what you want to have changed in the world. Keeping your goal big, a little scary and challenging can evoke a powerful drive that overcomes the doubt when things get tough.
Business can be challenging and full of unknown variables and unexpected issues. Having a vision and reason for your business that is compelling creates momentum and a desire for growth.