Critical Success Factor… Are you having Fun?

If you’re a business owner, there are a lot of tangible things you have to think about if you want to be successful. You need to be profitable – which means you have a handle on your costs and that you have a pretty good idea of how to sell. You need to be able to create or produce your product / service consistently – and with a high level of quality. You have to be able to keep customers happy and to do all of those things, you need to hire great employees.

You also need a lot of the ‘softer’ skills to make it all work – leadership, management, communication, and understanding what employees and customers want.

But maybe the most important thing you need, assuming you want to succeed in the long run, is fun.

Hear me out – fun gets a bad rap as something that’s frivolous. Certainly not a professional trait that has any place in a serious endeavor like building a business. But that doesn’t match up with how people are inherently wired – we can do anything for a while, but if there’s not some sort of intrinsic reward for doing it… we’ll eventually stop. Which means that you better have fun in your business if you want it to last.

The Impact of Fun… or the impact of the Lack of Fun!

Have you ever had a chore that you just hated doing? When I was growing up the one that I remember especially hating was weeding our vegetable garden. It was hot, hard work – and I didn’t even like most of the vegetables we were growing (I still don’t know how anyone can choose to eat okra…!).

Looking back at those summers, I remember it would take several hours to get the weeding done – but that was mainly because I hated doing it and would drag my feet the entire time. I suspect if I had just buckled down and focused on it, I could have gotten it done in 30 minutes (especially if I was willing to it more often).

Alternatively think about something you inherently enjoy doing. You gladly put in the effort, you’re interested in learning more about the topic, you’re consistently trying to get better… and when you’re doing this activity time flies by. You’re in the zone and you’d probably tell people that you’re having fun.

Bottom line – when something is fun, there’s an internal drive to do it consistently. And you’ll also tend to put in extra effort (thinking about how you could get better, learning about how others do things, etc.). If you hate what you’re doing, you’ll suck at it and constantly be thinking of how you’d like to be doing almost anything else.

Are you having fun in your business?

At this point, I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that fun is great and all, but it’s called work for a reason and you’re not supposed to enjoy it. And I would say that you’re right – up to a point.

With any business there are always going to be chores that aren’t any fun. Most business owners don’t enjoy accounting, but without it your business is likely to fail – so it has to be done. (Although it is a good example of something to outsource or delegate as soon as you can…).

But hopefully there is something you enjoy about your business. Something that makes at least a few (if not most) of your days fun.

At the lowest level, maybe you really just enjoy writing yourself a big check at the end of the month. That’s definitely satisfying and a positive thing…I’m not sure it’s fun, but it’s a start.

Maybe you enjoy doing the actual work of your business – whether that’s creating a product or delivering a service. As the owner it’s not great to be completely hands on all the time, but you could certainly mix in doing the work every so often – especially if that’s what you enjoy the most.

Maybe you enjoy building a business and solving problems. Most successful entrepreneurs have at least some of this trait… although they tend to struggle once the business becomes more predictable and mostly runs itself.

Or maybe you enjoy working with a great group of people and serving a great customer base. You’ll still have bad days, but they are definitely fewer and farther between if your fun comes from just going to work with your team and making good things happen.

Where does your fun come from?

How does this apply to your business? Are you having fun with your business (at least in some capacity)? Did you used to have more fun but lately it’s been more of a grind? That could be a good sign that it’s either time to shake things up or consider finding an exit.

What do you think? Is fun a key trait for long term success? We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment below.

Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach