Maybe It’s Not All About the Benjamins When it Comes to Small Business

istockphoto_333666-benjaminsYou own a small business. Are you in it for the money?

If you answered “yes” to that question, it may be time to do some soul searching. A recent study from Manta, an online small business community, and computer maker Dell found that money is not the driving force behind most small business success.
Personal achievement — with a response rate of 37 percent — topped the list as the biggest motivational factor on the road to being a successful small business owner. It makes sense. When we start a business, there should be something in our minds that we want to accomplish. When that goal is met, it gives us a sense fulfillment that money alone cannot provide.

Human needs

This need for personal recognition and fulfillment is reflected in other survey results. Almost 30 percent of the respondents said that when their business received its first award was the proudest moment in their professional careers. Similarly, 37 percent identified winning their first repeat customer as the most important milestone for their business.

Achievement tops money. Long after the money has been spent or reduced to numbers on a balance sheet, the inner sense of worth that comes with achievement lingers. I would suggest that even business owners who frame the first dollar they earn don’t do it to celebrate making money; they frame it and put it on the wall as a reminder of fulfilling a significant goal in their lives.

Being and doing

We ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Perhaps a better question is, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” The people who we grow up to “be” is certainly an important question on many fronts. But what we “do” with our lives is important in its own way.

What we do drives the economy and creates opportunities for others, and as this survey found, it is the driving factor in how we feel about ourselves and our efforts. It’s not “he who dies with the most toys wins,” the truth is that “he who realizes his dreams wins.”

So do you have goals you must achieve? Look beyond today’s cash flow to see what you want to accomplish tomorrow. And if your goal seems too big and too distant, find some bite-sized goals you can achieve in the shorter term. Work hard to check them off your list and then each time sit back for a little while and enjoy the moment.