Rhonda Maco, ESQ.
BUSINESS BASICS 101: THE DANGERS OF SENTIMENTAL ATTACHMENT
Are you losing the passion for your business venture that was floating around in your head ten years before it finally came to fruition? Are you now losing the passion for the business a few years into its existence?
Whether your passion resulted in a profit or non-profit entity, your initial primary business goal will be to keep the passion of your idea burning while getting your organization off the ground. You will then strive to sustain your business by taking it to the next levels of entrepreneurial success. So what’s derailing your path to entrepreneurial success?
Perhaps you should consider that the enemy is none other than the sentimental attachment that attaches itself to any idea—be it a good idea or a bad one. All entrepreneurs suffer from it but only the successful ones get over it.
Sentimental attachment can be found in every aspect of our lives and can bring on catastrophic consequences if we allow it. In business it can and will prove fatal without even being blamed as the culprit. It is like an odorless gas that weakens your business undetected and then blows up leaving nothing but causalities in its path.
Sentimental attachment starts with you controlling the idea. It then grows into the mistaken belief that YOU and ONLY YOU can make the idea flourish. It is what I call the ‘Mine, Mine, Mine Theory’ to the extreme. The attachment never allows any meaningful input from others. It is akin to a mental block that chokes the life out of the idea and/or organization from every angle. It is like a person who believes they are in love with someone but is actually obsessed with the person. Just to be clear, someone once described being in love as ‘always doing what is best for the other person’. On the other hand, one definition of being obsessed is ‘mentally or emotionally focused on one thing to the exclusion or detriment of all others’; two different mind-sets with two very different possible outcomes. Yes they both hang their hats on some emotional attachment, but when you are in love, you are more willing to listen as you see the positive in the things and people around you. When you’re obsessed with something you are fixated, non-negotiable, one-track-minded.
You can see which state of mind is more prone to producing enjoyment and which one will undoubtedly result in tragedy. And so transferring that obsession onto your business means that you multiply your inability to relinquish sentimental attachment as you head down the path of no return, spiraling out of control with an organization that will never reach its maximum growth potential. This attachment may cause a business to quickly fail or it can remain comatose for years—spinning its wheels with no progression in sight. With that mentality, you will never be able to strategically align your business with the correct partners, investors, target audience and consumers, nor will you be able to take your organization to the next levels of success.
If you insist on hording your idea, be prepared for the negative consequences. The enemy here is you and you alone. Whether the attachment is to the idea itself or to the amount of time you invested in taking the initial idea to reality, your need to keep control over the operations will keep the business in a perpetual holding pattern whether you know it or not. Taking the business out of this pattern requires a conscious decision to cede control—to a certain extent, of course. Until that happens, your business will be at the mercy of the universe and all of its elements, particularly a bad economy. If this sounds like something you are guilty of, here are 5 ways for you to take a fresh look at what you are doing so that you can get your business off the fruitless sentimental attachment track and onto the road to success:
1. Allow Management Autonomy to Make Decisions – No, this does not mean that you give anyone complete control over your business. However, if you hire a president, manager and other officers to conduct everyday operations, nothing will ever get accomplished if they have to run every decision through you before they can act. When you empower your employees, they will be more productive and motivated to carry out your mission. Employees will not work to their potential if they feel that you are strong-holding them. If you hire someone to do a job, let them do it.
2. Recruit Well-Qualified Individuals, Not ‘Yes Men’ – One of the worse moves you can make for your business is to hire people who will do what you say and not think for themselves and bring a fresh perspective to the table. By hiring ‘Yes Men’ you are selling yourself short and undermining your business. Keep in mind that this business is your idea and your vision; allow it to breathe and grow by bringing in a variety of talent that will help you reach your goals. Think strategy, not control!
3. Be Open to the Ideas of Others - Again, you are not the only one with a great idea. Allow your employees the opportunity to participate in the business through encouragement. If your employees never receive an opportunity to at least discuss their ideas, they will have resentment towards you. Ultimately, you will have employees who are not motivated to see your business succeed; they will just continue to collect a paycheck until they find another job opportunity or start their own business….and possibility capitalize on your shortcomings as your new competitor.
4. Remember….You Cannot Do Everything – Perhaps the biggest mistake made by budding entrepreneurs is the belief that they can do everything. This is something that is rarely said out loud. Rather, it’s a mentality and a way of conducting oneself. There is nothing worse than asking someone to do something only for you to turn around and do it yourself before the person has a chance to do it. What is the purpose for this? If you do not believe the person can handle the task, perhaps that person is not the right one for the business. Or, perhaps you need to get over yourself and let the person do their job. By taking on everything, you are stifling your own creativity and productivity because you are not spending your time on other tasks that you really should be handling such as getting new business or attracting new investors. Again, don’t be your own worst enemy.
5. Learn the Value of Time Management – Learning how to manage your time is an art of sorts. Most, if not all of us, have issues with time management. Your first step in learning how to manage your time would be to stop doing the things you hired staff to do. Once you do that, you can then focus on your tasks. Create short and long term goals to help you focus. Then create a daily task list of what you want to accomplish. Keep track of your progress and understand what may have taken you off track. When you get off track, don’t dwell on what you failed to accomplish. Identify the problem and make the appropriate adjustments. Stay focused and you will see a difference.
There’s no question that you can turn your idea into a winning business. However, hard work and talent alone will not get you there. You must make conscious decisions about your product or service. You can do it! Just remember…do not allow sentimental attachment to be the enemy of your strategic advancement…..in business and in life.