Love your business? If it’s your own venture – yes, you probably do. Or at least, you probably did. But if the love is fading, what can you do to bring it back?
Let’s face it, most of us start a new venture with bucketloads of enthusiasm, undiluted by experience. Until, of course, experience kicks in. And that once-golden vision begins to look a little – well, tarnished.
It happens. We’re only human. But it doesn’t have to. Because all too often people fall out of love with their business for avoidable reasons. Perhaps, for example, because it isn’t working nearly as well as it could. Enthusiasm, after all, will only take you so far if you’re working six times harder than you need (or want) to.
So what’s the answer?
Well, you could look for inspiration to Ole Kirk Christiansen, the man who invented Lego. Without (to start with) knowing the first thing about plastic.
Because he was a carpenter…
Ole Kirk Christiansen’s story
What Ole did have was a burning desire to create quality toys that would help children to ‘play well’. Or since he was a Dane, ‘at lege godt’. Which was the origin of the name ‘Lego’. And because he was a carpenter, his first toys were made of wood. Like most business startups, he began with what he knew, what he loved, and what he was good at. Wooden ducks. Wooden bears. Wooden bricks. With his own young son as an enthusiastic beta tester.
In a country still recovering from war – and from the bitterness and humiliation of the German occupation – people were in the mood to rebuild. Ole found that children, too, liked to build things – and, like many Danes, he was a man who looked to the future and found it exciting. And one of things he found most exciting was the wealth of possibilities in new materials like plastic.
So he experimented with plastic bricks. Simple ones to start with, that didn’t lock together. Until his son complained about them. So the LEGO brick was born. And patented.
Ole’s grandson still runs the business. It’s a little larger now, but Ole never fell out of love with it – and nor has his family.
Play well, work well, live well
So what can we learn from Ole’s story?
First, that passion counts for a great deal – and that he most certainly had.
Second, that doing something you love can still involve change and development. It doesn’t mean doing exactly the same thing you started with, because a successful business will evolve and grow to meet changing demand and changing conditions. You may need to shift its direction, think again, and try something new. The first Legoland, in Denmark, was a complete gamble. Ole’s son, Godfred, expected 125,000 visitors – and got 1.5 million…
Thirdly, that you may need to adapt and change your processes. Because what worked well for a carpenter turning out individual toys was hardly going to work for a factory turning out millions of plastic building bricks. Because Ole was prepared to make those changes, he never fell out of love with his business. And his love was amply repaid.
And fourthly, that even the most successful business may face unexpected challenges. The rise of computer games led to a prolonged crisis for LEGO – which they resolved by an impressive new strategy that embraced and exploited the new possibilities of online play.
So if you no longer love your business, give me a call. I’d be delighted to help you rekindle that romance. Why not book a free initial consultation?