Many people run a business because they love to create and share with others. Others are driven to earn money. Some are driven by respect from others and ego. But sometimes, all it takes to run a fun and profitable business that people enjoy is to change the way you think about it.
It's no secret that running a business can be incredibly stressful and exhausting — but for some reason, most people find it either absolutely thrilling or incredibly painful. From startups to small businesses to larger corporations and private equity firms in our space, a lot of people are talking about how much fun their company is having. And why not? Who wouldn't want to talk about the success and growth of their company all day? But what happens when the fun turns sour and things get hard? When your company becomes less and less profitable and more and more draining, do you start looking for a way to make things better? How can you change the mood of your business — from miserable to joyful — without changing anything else? You can't and you won't. The new business model is going to require fun and growth in order to be sustainable for years to come.
You've heard it from experts and CEOs and everyone else with any authority: Making money is hard work. But here's something that I have learned through my own trial and error: The fun side of business is what brings in new team members, new customers and gets referrals (from both).
Here are five ways to make your own business more fun and profitable:
1. Create a fun environment
There are a lot of ways to make the atmosphere of your business feel relaxed and fun — especially for the team. To create a fun, collaborative environment for your team, follow these steps:
- Let them be themselves;
- Provide ample opportunities for sharing and collaboration;
- Be friendly; and
- Encourage great communication.
The workplace is where people come together every day to build something meaningful, so be sure to make your company a platform for your team to feel welcomed and comfortable.
2. Don't be afraid to be yourself
Being yourself and letting your personality shine through is something that many people struggle with. We're taught that we should always strive to appear "professional," even if we don't feel like it. But, as I've learned, it can actually be detrimental to your culture if you try to act or sound like someone else. It shows through and can come off as forced or disingenuous. Just be yourself, and you'll be fine. People desire authenticity now more than ever. Why not let employees feel they’re at a place that offers truth from leadership?
3. Let go of your perfectionism
If you've been putting off working on a project or launching something new because you're afraid of failure, don't waste any more time feeling guilty. Letting yourself off the hook isn't just good for your self-esteem, it's good for your business. Being a perfectionist is part of the problem. The problem is that perfectionism makes us feel like we can't start until everything is perfect. But if you have to wait until everything is perfect before you can start, you'll never start. Letting go of perfectionism is one of the fastest ways to create fun in the company environment. Nobody likes being judged, and when it's OK to make mistakes or "fail," life and business become a lot more fun.
4. Invest in yourself
It's easy to think that all you need is money and confidence in your own ability. But you really need to invest in yourself and your skills to keep growing as a leader. This means taking classes and courses, reading books and utilizing other learning opportunities. It means building your networks and finding mentors and coaches. It means being open to new ways of thinking and new solutions to old problems. Don't be afraid to learn and change.
To grow a business, you need to be able to expand. To expand, you must keep growing. So, if you're not investing in yourself in a big way, you can't expect to make a difference in either your business or personal life. Your team will begin having more fun when you're having more fun. Making progress and achieving growth through coaching, training and personal development is one of the most fun and rewarding things in business. Warning: This new you will rub off on your team, and they will start getting better results and having more fun.
Letting go of perfectionism is one of the fastest ways to create fun in the company environment. Nobody likes being judged, and when it's OK to make mistakes or "fail," life and business become a lot more fun.
5. Embrace change
The people who make change are those who embrace change. To that end, I recommend changing your mindset from "I don't like change" to "I love change." Why? Well, because to grow in business and have fun while you're doing it, you need to approach change as a positive thing. If you are thinking of change as something negative, that's exactly what you'll feel when you encounter change. That's no fun! If you approach change as a positive thing, however, you will feel good about the change, which means you will feel motivated to embrace it, and your team will enjoy this progress with you. We all know that things will continue changing at record-breaking speeds as technology and human capability continue to improve. We better find a way to enjoy the process!
In order to build a fun and profitable business, you must be willing to change the way you operate. The more you try to fit your business into a mold created by someone else, the more you will feel the life sucked out of you. You must be willing to let go of your ego and take responsibility for your own decisions, your actions, and your "failures". That's why I write this column every month for you. I just want you to slow down, don't take everything so seriously, and have some fun. Your business and career are one of the biggest areas in our lives of self-expression. Isn't it time for you to enjoy the journey a little bit more? Your positive results will be massively impacted when you implement the five strategies I've shared with you.