It seems like these days just about everyone with an ambitious spark is creating their own business. Of course, this can be a great thing, and can provide plenty of fulfilment, opportunity, and satisfaction.
What’s more, creating your own business has arguably never been as straightforward in all of human history as it is today. The recent explosion of technologies like the Internet have ensured that just about anyone can begin plying their services as a freelancer or contractor, at minimal cost to themselves, not to mention reaching out to a virtually unlimited number of prospective clients and customers in a moment’s notice.
Different business structures exist that suit different temperaments, industries, and approaches. With a quick scan of the web, it’s often possible to gain a decent understanding of the technicalities of starting up your own business, in a relatively short space of time.
The downside? Well, as always, starting up your own business may be relatively easy, but making a success of it is not. You need longevity, discipline, dedication, and humility. Not to mention various other things.
Longevity, in particular, is easily one of the most essential things for the success of any business. That’s because businesses generally require layer upon layer of structure, revision, and work, invested over the mid to long term, in order to be successful.
Here, then, are a few ways to ensure your business has longevity.
Make sure that the subject you devote yourself to is something that feels worth the effort
There’s a famous old quote attributed to Confucius that goes “choose a job that you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”
All jobs – and especially entrepreneurial ventures – will require plenty of “work” as par for the course. But that “work” doesn’t have to be work in the sense of something that you find intolerable, dull, painful, and disheartening.
There’s a fundamental truth to the quote mentioned above. That is, when you actually care about what you’re doing – even love it – the work you put in won’t feel like work.
That is one of the best positions to be and when you’re trying to get a business off the ground. Because you will certainly face challenge, setback, and will need to spend more than a few restless nights cranking away at your project. But if you care about your project, and believe in what you’re doing for more than financial reasons, the whole experience can be fun if anything.
When starting a business, make sure that the subject you devote yourself to something that feels worth the effort. It should feel meaningful, and fulfilling. That’s a way of guaranteeing that you are always “motivated” to grind away, even when you’re tired, irritated, or frustrated.
Focus your life – remove distractions and narrow your perspective
Making a success of a business requires sacrifice. But not necessarily the kind of sacrifice that does you any harm, or causes you a lot of trouble in your personal life.
Primarily, the kind of sacrifice that a business venture requires is the sacrifice of your casual time wasting, distractions, and assorted competing schemes and plans.
When you focus your life and your horizons so as to put your business front and centre, you will be sacrificing things like hours spent surfing the Internet each evening, catching up on your favourite TV series, and all the rest. This is important, because you need this extra time, focus, and energy, to be directed towards your business in order to make it thrive and to give it longevity.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect your family, or other essential elements of your life.
But you’ve got to turn your attention into a laser point of focus, so that your business occupies most of your waking thoughts on some level.
Be willing to view your business as a continuity, and carry lessons forward to new incarnations
Richard Branson is famous the world over for his enormously successful company, Virgin. But under the umbrella of that company, he has had many failed business ventures and experiments.
A certain amount of failure is inevitable if you’re trying to make it as an entrepreneur. It’s just part of the game. To ensure your business has longevity, you need to view it as a continuity, rather than a specific entity as such.
In other words, you’ve got to be willing to accept the likelihood of failure and setback, and you must be willing and able to carry those lessons forward into new incarnations of your business, with each one becoming better, more refined, and more effective.
“Longevity” in a business, is largely a function of the ability of the business to morph, adapt, and grow consistently, despite setback of various types.