The Start-up MindsetWednesday, 22 February 2012 16:35
My start-up date night
A lot of couples go on pre-arranged date nights. They are times locked into their respective diaries that are reserved solely for a night together – dinner, a movie, a drink at a bar, whatever.
What these couples know is that the day-to-day demands of real life – kids, work etc. – can get in the way of their relationship. If they don’t deliberately make time to hang out, they risk things getting stale.
Now, I am not a marriage counsellor but I do think that the idea of a date night is relevant to a new business. When you first start your venture, it is fresh and exciting. You are full of optimism and enthusiasm. It’s like the honeymoon period of a marriage.
Then, inevitably, the realities of business life get in the way. You have cold-calls to make, customers to service, suppliers to keep happy.
There are rejections, disasters, missed opportunities, late nights and tax returns to complete.
Sooner or later, you get tired. Your enthusiasm wanes and far from being a world full of opportunities, you begin to question whether starting up on your own was even really worth it.
What you need is a date night with your business idea.
You need to spend some quality time together, to fall back in love with the ideas and insights that first led you to go out on your own. You need to forget about all of the real-world knocks and remind yourself of why your business is special.
I recently had a date night with my business. Because of my background in advertising, I sat down and wrote a brochure about my business. I did it in Word with no intention of ever turning it into a real brochure. The goal was to merely remind myself of why we launched in the first place.
It was a great experience.
I sat at my computer and started building all the arguments to support why our business is great – why it’s better than the alternatives, what its strengths are, what it has done for our users in the past, and why it’s fantastic.
By the end of the exercise, I was passionately in love with my media buying business again. I was pumped and ready to continue moving forward, ready to shrug off the inevitable bumps you receive when you start-up your own business.
Now, writing a brochure may not be your thing. That’s fine. Find another way to fall in love with your business again.
It might be as simple as re-reading your original business plan or reading testimonials that others have written about your business. It might be putting together a presentation for a dream customer. Who knows?
Find your own way to do it, but make sure that you do. It’s your insurance policy against you and your business drifting towards a break-up.
Jason Rose is co-founder and joint managing director of adboss.com.au – a website designed to help SMEs compare and save on their advertising.
He blogs on the lessons he has learnt and continues to learn about the necessary mindset to successfully run a start-up business.
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