Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Falling in Love Again -- With Your Business

Remember the last time you fell in love? You thought about that person all the time, wanted to be with that person all the time, and suddenly every little thing seemed to give you energy instead of taking it away?

That's the normal course of events. Life is -- and should be -- like that.

But slowly over time we get used to new people, and new adventures, and beautiful things. What was fun and exciting and new becomes normal and regular. Not necessarily boring: just normal.

It's an interesting trap. Most of us resist change. We somehow believe in a fantasy world in which things can stay the way they are, and we can be comfortable. Okay, we don't really believe in it. Our intellectual side knows it can't be. But our unreal, emotional side just wants something to be the same.

So we seek happiness and comfort in stability. But that stability becomes "old" and normal and boring. Our lives and our jobs become less interesting because of the stability we asked for. Ooops.

Here's the good news: Change is a beautiful thing.

Change in your business can make it all new again. Change in your business can be something that makes you fall in love with your business again.

I don't mean change as we normally talk about it in the technology business. Not new service packs and new product releases. Those certainly help. But because we swim in a river of change, these become normal over time.

Real change -- major operational change -- can make your business much more exciting.

We've made some major changes now in our business over the last few years. And we're planning more. Somehow, the time spent on excel spreadsheets and strategy meetings doesn't take time away from the work that needs to be done. It adds energy and excitement.

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Phases and Stages

When I started my business I was eager and full of energy. It was new and fun and exciting.

Then the company grew. It was challenging. Difficult. Still pretty exciting.

At some point it "floated" to a nice, manageable, level. Didn't grow much. Didn't shrink. Zero turnover. Happy customers. Same old same old. Very profitable. Same every day. Same every night. Blah blah blah.

In other words, it became profitable but pretty boring.

I didn't feel "trapped," but I wasn't quite sure what to do next. I couldn't walk away just because I was bored. Plus that would be stupid. Or at least unprofitable.

So then things started changing. I hatched a plan to invest some money back into the business and grow it. Spend money to make money.

What followed was a series of challenges, including some rather difficult challenges. Problems with growth, employees, new customers, and more. Suddenly my business wasn't boring at all.

I'm not saying I like tough times and tough decisions. I don't like firing people I've hired, or getting rid of clients who no longer fit our model. Some days I don't like having a model into which some clients don't fit.

But I have to admit this: My job isn't boring anymore. Every day's interesting. Every day's a challenge. We have a great team who are excited about what they do. We have interesting projects and new opportunities.

Projects make life even better.

Projects, like adopting a product line, or creating a new service, can bring even more energy into your company.

When you get excited about your business and want to steal time to be there instead of anywhere else, that's falling in love. That's a great, exciting, fun feeling.

If your business has become a little boring, it won't be much fun. With luck, you can capture some excitement by making changes. They don't have to be too dramatic. But who wants to work at a place that's not fun anymore?

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Change happens. One of the things I tell people when I speak is that you will do better if you accept an attitude of change. You, your life, and your business are going to change. You will all be different five years from now. Will that change be something you let happen to you or something you helped plan and execute?

Part of falling in love with your new business is falling in love witht he process of making things new again.

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For more thoughts on change, see

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