Passion, Freedom and Impact: The 3 Ingredients of Business Success
More than 10 years ago I founded my then “small” business that today has more than 600 employees and tens of thousands of customers around the globe. I talk to small-business owners every day, and while they all come from different industries and places, it is passion, freedom and impact that have been the main drivers determining their success or failure, progress or regression.
Let’s take a closer look:
Passion is your drive, ambition and the love of what you do and who you serve. It provides you with a very special view of the world that others often don’t see. For example, Steve Jobs had the vision of a phone with one button on the front. Jeff Bezos of Amazon had a vision for a store that sold everything.
These are well-known examples of entrepreneurs who had a unique view of the world that others didn’t see at the time. Every successful small-business owner and entrepreneur must have a passion that drives them forward -- a core belief that keeps them pressing on, even though others don’t necessarily have the same vision.
My strongest passion is serving entrepreneurs and small-business owners. In the beginning, many people thought I was crazy for believing that a thriving company -- just focused on small-business success -- could last. Today, Infusionsoft serves more than 25,000 small businesses.
Stop and ask yourself: What is your true passion? What makes you excited about what you are doing? The difference between those who push through difficult times and those who do not is passion.
Freedom is the ability to spend your time and money as you see fit. Financial freedom enables you to not only grow your business and pay your employees, but to also give your family the quality of life you want for them. Freedom enables you to invest time in causes that matter to you, whether that is with your family, friends or hobbies.
My father was a teacher. Growing up, our basic necessities were always taken care of, but my father had to take additional jobs to earn extra money to supplement his teacher’s salary. As I became older, I knew that I wanted to ensure I had a career which enabled me to go beyond providing for my family’s basic needs, but to give us a lifestyle where money was not an issue.
Impact should be at the core of your business. You might think that when your business reaches a certain stage of growth or you have a bigger budget you’ll then decide to make an impact. Don’t wait! Start from the beginning. Very early in our business we made giving and helping others a key part of our purpose. If having an impact is a key part of your business from day one, you will make an impact on someone’s life every day.
What’s your vision for your company’s impact on the world or your local community? Is that vision big enough?
Remember, it’s OK and you should expect your vision to change and evolve over time. The key is to have a vision for what kind of impact your company can have and let that be another force to drive you forward.
Passion, freedom and impact are not isolated -- they work together and are achieved together. Without a passion for your business, you can’t have the freedom you desire or the strength to make an impact. Without freedom, you’ll never make an impact and your passion is wasted. If you are not making an impact you’re not experiencing the freedom entrepreneurship allows, nor are you allowing your passion to be fulfilled.
Take a step back, identify what your passion is and what freedom means for you. Ask yourself what kind of impact you want your business to have, and then weave your answers into every aspect of your business.
As you consider these three ingredients of small-business success, it’s also important to consider the stage of success your business is in. At Infusionsoft, we believe in seven stages of small-business success. Your viewpoint of your vision, freedom metrics and maybe even your passion will evolve depending on what stage you are in. For instance, a solo entrepreneur might have different motivations than an entrepreneur with an established business that is a local success story.
As you grow professionally and as your business grows, take time to periodically evaluate these ingredients and ensure they’re all working in harmony towards a shared vision of the success of your business at every stage.