Valentine's Day looms.

Is your love for your business as strong as ever? Photo: James Steidl

Happy Valentine's Day! As couples all over the country celebrate with romantic dinners, bouquets of roses and the odd proposal, it might be a good time to consider if you’re actually still in love with your business.

Whether you’re a new business owner still flush with the excitement of first love, or a seasoned veteran in a long-term relationship, it can be worthwhile to think about whether you’re doing enough to stoke the fires of passion in your business.

Regardless of which stage you are at in your business, its important to keep your passion for it burning. 

This depends on what stage you're at in your relationship.

Stage 1: Flirting and courting

Before you even start your business, you’ve probably been thinking about it for a while. You might do some research, check out the competition and determine if your potential new love could be the right fit for you.

You toy with the idea, flirt with the concept of whether this business could be The One and daydream about the possibilities.

You even talk about your new crush with your friends, get their advice on whether you should go for it and finally … you take the plunge.

Stage 2: The honeymoon period

Once you’ve established your business, the honeymoon period is bliss. You love the fact that you have left your corporate cubicle for a business where you're the one in charge of your own destiny.

You love being your own boss and relish the idea you can implement any of the strategies and ideas that pop into your head. The honeymoon period is thrilling, exciting and full of adrenalin. You want it to last forever.

Stage 3: The comfort zone

After a couple of years you settle into a routine. You now have systems in place so you’re no longer confronted with too many surprises and you know what to expect when it comes to cash flow, seasons and customer behaviour.

You have worked so hard to get here and know that you should go the next level but you’re relishing having a steady income and predictable routine after the first heady couple of years of entrepreneurship.

Stage 4: Accommodating a larger family

This is where you start to grow your business. You get more staff and you suddenly have more mouths to feed and emotions to look after.

It’s no longer all about you. As your business grows, you need to empower and involve your team if you want to move forward in a harmonious manner.

Like any family unit, individuals play a huge part in whether relationships are positive or dysfunctional. You started off running a business, but now you're leading a family.

Stage 5: The seven-year itch

Once you’ve been in business for this long, there's a danger you could succumb to the seven-year itch. It happens. A lot.

Nothing is new anymore. You’ve successfully grown  to a certain stage, and while you are comfortable and grateful for what you’ve created, that initial excitement and thrill has not just been turned down a notch, it has almost ceased to exist.

Stage 6: Do I stay or do I go?

This is where the bright, shiny object syndrome can come into play and you need to make a choice about whether you’re staying with the business you have nurtured for so long or whether you want to pursue something new.

There are pros and cons to both choices but just remember if you distract yourself with something too new or different from your core business, everything you have worked hard for could implode.

Stage 7: Your retirement – time for new blood

You may get to a stage of your business where it’s time to hand over the reins of the business to someone else.

I am not talking about selling up. I mean that you may work towards a situation where you have your systems and processes so well documented and streamlined, that you can be comfortable handing over the running of your business to someone else. To someone who is just as passionate as you are about running it.

You might think there would be no one who could fit the bill – after all the business is your baby (and how could anyone love your baby as much as you do?) However, you might be surprised to discover that there are people who would relish the opportunity to step into your shoes and grow your business with their new ideas.

Keep an open mind when it comes to stepping back in your business because it not only gives you an opportunity to explore new horizons or simply take a break, you might find that your business actually flourishes without you!

Keep the passion burning

Regardless of which stage you are at in your business, it's important to keep your passion for it burning.

Whether that’s at a low ember or a passionate inferno, you just don’t want to get to the stage where you’re bored, exhausted or sick of it.

Like any relationship, you need to work at it. And like any relationship, you need to remind yourself why you fell in love with it in the first place.

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