Remember why you first started your business — and what energizes you about growing it every day.
The spirit of an entrepreneur must sometimes be uncovered, discovered or unfold after years of working in the business, as opposed to on it. At other times, that spirit is the reason why an individual makes the decision to take the leap of faith and begin the pursuit of launching and growing a business.
For me, it was the latter. From a very early age, I knew I wanted to own my own business. I served as an Air Force Combat Controller in my first career. After nearly 10 years in the military, the idea of starting a business became even more appealing to me.
Home service industries were somewhere I thought I could thrive, so I started researching the versatility of those industries, officially beginning my path to entrepreneurship.
The HVACR industry was not one in which I had a background or previous experience, but it was the one that seemed most interesting and lucrative. Ten years later and I absolutely love it. I loved it from the beginning and continue to love it today.
Starting this company without technical experience in the industry was an advantage for me, as I focused more on developing the business and focusing on the business, rather than partaking in the technical work and working in the business.
In my military career, I always sought new and innovative ways to do things — something I continue to this day. It’s one reason I knew business development and ownership was the right path for me. I believed I was a natural at recruiting and finding the right people to enhance our culture. When we started Champion AC, most of my competitors were “old school” and set in their ways.
By definition, an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks to do so.
There are plenty of us in the world, and the word risk is key to this definition. It doesn’t mean someone who doesn’t own a business won’t take big risks or be adventurous. Anyone can be risky or adventurous.
Entrepreneurial risk is the risk of boldly going, growing and creating a company and feeling a passion so great that you don’t want to stop. This risk is worth the reward of filling a space with capable, talented, enthusiastic individuals that love coming to work each day and making an impact.
It’s creating a mission and a purpose that is shared and that is greater than yourself and any one of the individual members of your company. The risk is fighting through and overcoming challenges when any person in their right mind would have thrown their hands up and quit after hitting those same types of challenges.
Owning a business is challenging, but rewarding. Grueling, but fulfilling. The entrepreneurial spirit is what keeps you going. As a business owner, that spirit is like muscle — and you have to use it and refresh it to make it thrive and keep it alive.
A number of years ago, I was referred to and joined an organization called Entrepreneurs’ Organization. If there is a chapter in your area, I highly recommend it. As a business owner, you can speak with many people, but you don’t have many people who can directly relate to the ups and downs, highs and lows, pitfalls, mistakes, challenges, questions, triumphs and victories that you go through in the process of owning a business.
EO has given me the opportunity to speak openly, personally and candidly in a confidential environment in a forum of entrepreneurs who can share their experiences to allow me to make better decisions or encourage the decisions I have made as a business owner.
Additionally, I constantly learn from speakers and experts brought in by EO to showcase their expertise — from team-building to developing structured processes to accounting and finances, something at which we, as entrepreneurs, aren’t always the best.
It has given me a new way to look at my business and a group of individuals who support me in being better than I could be by myself.
Share Your Knowledge
I’ve had the opportunity to partake in panels, discussions and presentations in which I am sharing on SEO and online marketing (one of my areas of expertise in our business). I am able to talk about how we apply this component into our work flow at Champion AC and, each time, I love to see the pure interest on the faces of those to whom I am speaking as they take in the knowledge.
It reinvigorates my entrepreneurial spirit and energy for the company when I’m able to teach and show others how to apply this expertise to their businesses or the future of their careers.
I also truly enjoy speaking to young professionals about the pitfalls and successes of business — the inquiring questions make me think about when I first started my business and help me to return to the office with a renewed energy to continue to progress our company and lead the team forward.
Learn Every Day
It’s important to learn, not only in business endeavors, but in personal endeavors as well. As the father of a 2-year-old, I’m constantly learning in my personal life. I learn about relationships, both in my personal and professional life, and how I can make them better (usually through experience).
I also take the time to learn from seminars, workshops and experts wherever I can. It’s always great to get in a room with people who are smarter than you — the amount of knowledge you can soak in and then apply (the application part is key) is truly amazing and, once again, fills my entrepreneurial cup.
Equally as important, I encourage and give opportunities to my team members to learn. Teach and train them in-house — not just about installs and repairs, but how to serve as better team members, become more efficient in their jobs and serve with purpose.
Send them to applicable workshops and trainings that will make them not only better employees, but also better humans.
If your entrepreneurial spirit has gone missing, I encourage you to find it. Start with the elements above. Consider writing down what once made you start your business — and what energizes you about continuing to grow it each day.
Do you have the right people around you to keep that spirit alive and thriving? Create an environment where you can keep that spirit alive and energize the spirit of your team members around you.
Whether you started your business after a career as a technician or not, remember to wear the cap of entrepreneur. You have the opportunity to be a role model, an example and a dream catcher to the team around you and the next generation of business owners.