Small businesses grow out of passion–it might be your desire to do your own thing, share something wonderful, or make a difference. It might even be a passion for money…although that is less often the case. It’s a bit like being in love: we’re so excited and high that the inconveniences and risks are minimised. Our love will see us through. That first biological, powerful surge wears off or tips into obsession…or the other person may not feel the same. Long term success in love and relationships is a combination of love and balance. In business too, passion plus balance equals success. Passion is the fun bit…but what do I mean about balance?

It’s a bit like being in love: we’re so excited and high that the inconveniences and risks are minimised. Our love will see us through. That first biological, powerful surge wears off or tips into obsession…or the other person may not feel the same.

Long term success in love and relationships is a combination of love and balance. In business too, passion plus balance equals success. Passion is the fun bit…but what do I mean about balance?

Starting out full of confidence, tightrope walking

Starting out full of confidence–Tightrope walking is a doddle

Tightrope walking not so easy

Uh Oh, Rope a bit wobbly, next handhold a bit of a stretch

The dangers of excessive passion

When we are passionate, we often lose our awareness of reality and others. We need to remember that it is OUR passion, not theirs. We think that the more passionate we are, the more successful we will be. In reality, too much passion can be as dangerous as not enough. This is particularly true for social enterprises, charities and value led businesses.

Not enough money

We are so enthused we will do it for no money, or not enough. We are frightened that if we charge too much, others won’t want what we’re offering. You know what happens when someone is so in love that they will do anything for the other person…

Poor customer service

We are so convinced of our own vision that we want others to share it, when they don’t we feel personally rejected. So if a customer criticises our product or our service, we feel personally hurt. When we feel personally hurt, we get defensive. We start justifying and blaming. This is the opposite of how we should behave if we really want to succeed. A criticism is an opportunity to find out what others want, a chance to do better.

Conflict

When our staff, family or partners don’t share our passion, we may feel hurt, angry or misunderstood. If they do, we may take their enthusiasm for granted and not reward them appropriately. Or we put up with someone’s poor performance because they share our passion, until it gets too much.

Burnout

Burnout stuck left dangling when too much passion not balance

Run out of steam?

This usually occurs a few years down the line–no matter how passionate you are, you are only human. If all you focus on is your passion, eventually your money, health and/or relationships run out (more on this topic).

Passion Plus Balance: Recipe

Take time out

When you can’t separate yourself from your business, you need to stop…

When I realised that I was turning into a grumpy resentful person, I knew something had to change. I thought working harder would make things work out. Actually, what turned our business around was setting aside time to relax every day, making time to step back.

Look after yourself, find another interest, make time for the family, get out for a walk. Force yourself to take time off. Do one thing at a time. Do something enjoyable every day.

Find and manage risks

When we start out in business, most of us don’t really want to know about the risks. Find a good mentor who has lived through some tough times–recently. Those that are hugely successful and have forgotten the pain are not as helpful as those who’ve weathered the storm recently.   If you’re passionate about your business, make sure you protect it by being aware of risks and putting measures in place such as insurance.

Get help

There are lots of experts around–they can provide the balance and the information you need to keep your flame burning bright. You don’t have to burn out or get dragged down. The Inspire network is a great resource.