Passion and building a business go together like Nutella and....anything. Sometimes though, you need to take the spoon out of the Nutella jar and think more about how you’re building your business instead of how delicious the experience is.
What this post is going to focus on is how systems will trump passion (most) every time. I 100% believe that grit, as a function of passion, can play a big role in your business’s success but it’s not a sustainable and repeatable activity. Businesses have seasons just like anything else in life. Your passion is important to help you ride out those rough seasons but it’ll be the systems that keep you moving forward.
This might sound harsh but I’m going to start by calling passion out.
Passion needs to fall behind systems for entrepreneurs because it’s inconsistent. It’s easy to be passionate about something when it’s going well. In fact, entrepreneurs experience a passion snowball when their efforts are being rewarded by either revenues coming in or growing exposure. What happens when things aren’t going right for you? What happens when it gets hard? Well, coming up with the passion to keep pushing forward gets to be more draining and there’s a chance that feelings of doubt and regret start to creep in. It’s normal for passion to ebb and flow or even change all together. The challenge is not trying to build a sustainable business on a passion platform alone.
Passion is great for setting goals, shaping vision and setting your business's values. Passion is the rawest most authentic version of your business. You need those things and that rawness for any strategy to be really effective. Why? Because people connect with passion. When it comes to making the operational choices that matter in your business, passion and goals alone shouldn’t be the deciding factors. You need systems to help you evaluate whether or not a decision is worth making for you business. You need systems to make sure that your customers get the very best experience every time and you need systems to help keep you passion in check.
So what is a system then. I want you to think about systems as recipes for your business that you cook in repeatable intervals. Think of like baking a cake for your business every day, week, month etc. Only instead of something delicious like red velvet it’s more nutritious for your business like writing blog posts, keeping track of expenses or even just dedicated times for cultivating new prospects and leads. Systems should be simply designed to be repeatable and specific like any good recipe.
It’s a simple idea that is not always easy in practice. It shouldn’t matter how you feel that day, what the economic environment is looks like around you (short-term market variability), or if you are lucky or not. What matters is that you have a set group of actions designed to produce results that creates efficiencies for you.
An example might be blogging. Let’s assume that I’ve already proven to you that blogging for your business is a worthwhile endeavor. For me, I’m very passionate about teaching business owners like you to build sustainable businesses but, there are some days that I might not feel like “showing up”. And I haven’t. My goal here is to show up every week but if you go back through the posting dates you’ll be able to see a few posts that stretch a little longer than a week.
How can you and I keep building a relationship if you can’t rely on me to show up and hopefully deliver amazing content to your eye-holes? My system for blogging is built into my morning routines and rituals so that it’s part of what I do every (read: most) week(s). Passion starts and stops in the mind but it’s the system that puts my hands to work.
Systems also create opportunities for you to collect and objectively evaluate your business’s data. As business owners, using passion as a way to distribute resources or making choices can get a little confusing. Passion is inconsistent and in your business you can’t afford to make choices inconsistent for a whole number of customer experience reasons. It’s important to be able to take stock of what you're doing and measure it against your goals or how you define success.
Systems trump passion because they help to build momentum. Even the smallest systems, like getting a run in every day at lunch can help you keep your momentum going. Why? Because you have started and finished something. Not only that but it’s in an effort to reaching the goals that your passion helped set. It’s the feeling of doing the work and not just wanting the want.
Here’s my challenge to you and your business. Find your goals and post them somewhere so that your brain can let them go. Then go out and create the incremental systems that will outline the actions you need to take everyday to find that success you chose for yourself. They can be qualitative or quantitative but the point is to take action. Don’t forget to keep track and analyze along the way.
Finding efficiencies or opportunities for competitive advantage is a good thing :) You are trying to plan out any space or time where a wavering passion might get in the way of reaching your goals. Anyone can set a goal and for proof think of all the times you or your friends set a goal, stressed about it a bit, and then stopped caring because their passion evaporated. What will set you apart is deciding what work to do and how to do it - then doing it!
Take the long the view on what you want and start working your systems today!