As an entrepreneur with a very niche business, a specific target market and narrowly defined purpose, Sarah Riegelhuth knows all too well how easy it can be to get bored doing the same things each day – particularly once the exciting startup phase is over. Here she looks at how you can grow your business without getting bored.
I love the first year or so of starting a new company and getting my hands dirty, creating things and bringing my ideas and vision to life. Yes, there is so much to do, but it’s incredible exciting to see something that didn’t exist a few months ago, gain traction and come into existence.
And in addition to losing drive and enthusiasm, I made the other fatal mistake every seasoned entrepreneur preaches against: I started another company, and another, and another – on top of trying to run Wealth Enhancers. I’m an ideas person and so I began working on new ideas (new companies) in order to feed my need for excitement and creativity.
That was until I learned the danger of boredom and shiny object syndrome – the hard way. The business was in trouble all because of my lack of focus and all the distractions I’d added into my world.
Drastic action was needed and that started with getting clear on my vision and my priorities, and then I was able to create a strategy to get us out of the position we were in, and back into growth mode.
The years since then have been some of my best yet as an entrepreneur. I learned the hard way the importance of focus, but I also learned how to keep myself engaged in my company and not fall victim to the boredom that can set in once those early stages of getting established have passed. I’ve discovered this is far more exciting than starting new projects all the time.
It is possible to avoid boredom – even in a very niche business that has a target market and service that does not change much. Here is how I now do it:
Focus on your vision
Being really clear and excited by your vision for your business, which cannot change. This means that your vision needs to truly excite you. And then review this vision daily, along with your quarterly targets and priorities. I have created this as the desktop image on my laptop, and plan my daily to-do list around this vision and my priorities. We start our weekly team meeting with a reminder of our vision to keep the team focused, and complete quarterly business planning (we use the EOS model) in line with the vision of the company.
Build remote working into your yearly calendar. I have discovered the value of working away from the typical office scenario. In fact, I work in multiple locations overseas for the majority of the year while working from wherever I happen to be. That might not be possible or appealing to you, but taking some time to work from a new and fresh environment can reap benefits for you personally and the business. Maybe your business doesn’t need to change to satisfy your boredom, rather your location needs to change.
Invest in your abilities
By investing in your own learning and development, as well as your leadership team, you avoid becoming stagnant (and bored), and can rise to meet the needs of your company as it grows.
Innovate the ‘how’
Be prepared to innovate how you deliver on your vision if it is an answer to a problem, rather than a response to boredom. Constantly ask yourself, your team, and even external experts, if there are better ways to do things, so long as those improvements are in line with your vision.
Innovation, new ideas and change are important for business growth, but they will hurt your business and waste your time if you’re creating change in response to boredom, rather than finding better solutions to problems. Chasing after new shiny things, broadening your purpose, moving from your niche, increasing your business offering or expanding your target market, can all be detrimental to your business if they are in response to getting bored in your business.
Put simply, the cure for boredom in your business is an unwavering focus on an ambitious vision and exciting goal to work toward each day.
After all, a tight focus and consistency are two of the most powerful reasons for success. While the short-term thrill of distraction is one of the most effective ways to hinder your success.
About the author
Sarah Riegelhuth is the CEO of Wealth Enhancers, an award-winning private wealth management firm exclusively for Gen Y. She is a serial entrepreneur and investor in startups, having founded eight companies since 2009. She has since successfully sold some of these businesses to focus on her role as CEO of Wealth Enhancers. Sarah has also held board positions on several not-for-profit organisations including Project Futures, Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO), the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and the Institute for Global Women Leaders.