How can I become less overwhelmed and feel happier every day?
How to get unstuck and make Business Fun again
Many small business owners feel frustrated, stuck and overwhelmed in business on a daily basis. They operate in crisis management mode, running around from this urgent problem to that emergency all day long, extinguishing brush fires along the way.
In the first years of business, you accept that all this running around and stress is par for the course, but a few years on, nothing much has changed, you’re still running around fixing everybody else’s problems and the stuff you really want to work on, for the long term development of your business, just keeps getting pushed back and back forever.
Most business owners have experienced that sense of frustration and the secret to building a Great Business that Stands the Test of Time, is to find your way around this state of overwhelm. I’ve written a series of articles called “The 10 Priorities for building a Great Business that Stands the Test of Time” as a guide in the process of getting unstuck.
All that matters in business is Fun
On this page I want to specifically go into more detail about Priority #3: Having Fun
The reason I have dedicated this whole page to Fun in Business, is that Fun is the opposite of Overwhelm and Stuckness. When you’re having Fun, you’re not Overwhelmed and when you’re in Overwhelm, you’re not having Fun. The two are mutually exclusive.
And when your business is Fun, it means everything is working:
- It means you’re making money
- It means your staff are engaged and doing great work
- It means your customers love you
- It means you’re proud of the product or service you deliver
- It means you’ve created a level of balance in your life that works towards your wellbeing.
So Fun in Business ought to be a key focus to help you move from crisis management and overwhelm to building a Great Business that Stands the Test of Time. (Read more about why Fun is all that matters in business)
I’ve also written a book about Fun in Business, The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun. You can download it for free as Ebook or Audiobook here.
The serious business of Fun
It may seem strange to make Fun the key focus in the development of your business. We’re generally told that the function of business, the purpose of business, is to make money. Hence we should make “maximising shareholder value”, making profit and generating cash in other words, our key focus. But in many years in and around business, I’ve come to believe that to really build Great Businesses that Stand the Test of Time, we need to think differently about business than we’ve been taught for the past 200 years.
Conscious Capitalism and the Purpose of business
I like to quote John Mackey, the founder and CEO of Wholefoods markets in the USA. The company was recently bought by Amazon for US$14 Billion. Wholefoods made profit and paid dividends to its shareholders every year for its entire existence. In other words, John Mackey has established credentials where it concerns making money in business. Yet John Mackey wrote a book called “Conscious Capitalism” (more about the book here, as well as here), and in it he says this:
“Thinking that the Purpose of business is to make money, is as silly as thinking that the purpose of human beings is to eat food. We need to eat food, eating food makes us feel good, but we eat food so that we can do what we need to do on this earth. It is the same with business and profit. Business needs to make profit, and plenty of it, but it needs to do so, in order to fulfil its purpose, the reason it exists”
I’ve written about the Purpose of Business and Conscious Capitalism here. I’ve also written how Profit can ruin a great business here. So, yes, business must make money. More about how to make more Profit here, and more about why we make profit and what to do with it here) The business must generate cash, and it must work hard to maximise its return to shareholders,
A Big But
- If your focus is making money, there will never be enough. This year you might focus on making $100,000 profit, but as soon as you’ve made $100,000, you’ll want to make $200,000, and then $500,000 and so on, there’s always more money to be chased.
- If your focus is making money, why pick $100K or $500K, why not $531,629,23? or $496,187.42. Any number you pick will be arbitrary, and hence meaningless.
- If your focus is making money, your brain won’t cooperate. To your subconscious brain, there is no difference between $100K or $150K. Your subconscious can not think in concrete concepts, such as numbers, it can only get engaged by emotional concepts.
- If your focus is making money, you’ll wonder what it’s all been about when you’re on your death bed. Nobody has ever lain on their death bed and thought: “I wish I’d made more money”. I guarantee you that much.
The 4 steps to take beyond money
So, if you want to get unstuck, stop being a crisis manager and move out of overwhelm in your business, you must start thinking beyond making money.
These are the big 4 steps to take to move out of overwhelm and into having Fun in Business:
- Ask yourself the Big Question of Small Business: Why does your business exist, and why would anybody care about that? (The Purpose question, more about the Purpose of Business here)
- Learn to ask yourself every week: How much Fun in Business did we have last week, and how can we make next week a little bit more Fun? (I’ve written about measuring Fun in Business in my book and also here)
- Develop a discipline around your time. Know that your time is the most valuable asset of your business. As a responsible business owner, it is your job to ensure that you look after your most important asset and get the best return you can from your assets. This means you must discipline yourself not to waste your time on things that are actually not all that important. (Read more about business owners and time management here)
- People: Get the right people on the bus, in the right seats, facing the right direction, and the wrong people off the bus. There is no greater cause of stress, overwhelm and frustration than people. (more about managing people here and here)
Further reading about overwhelm and Fun in business:
- The one thing that matters most in business
- The Fun in Business coaching programs
- Overwhelm and the Fun in Business Programs
- How to find the right support to make Business Fun
- The opposite of Overwhelm and how to get there
- 5 Steps to Fun in Business
- Fun in Business interview Angela Duckworth video