If you're like me, your entrepreneurial days are full of emails, phone calls and directing all the day-to-day operations of your socially conscious business. But as social entrepreneurs, we are especially vulnerable to the burnout that can come from living in the business details--it's all too easy to lose our way and forget why we do what it is we do each day.
Staying inspired and passionate about what drives you and your mission is critical to the success of your business and more importantly, making headway toward the cause behind your company. Nurturing my social side--as well as my team's--is a top priority. Here's how to keep your social spirit soaring so you're able to move the needle on your organization's most essential goals.
1. Use words wisely.
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a great quote. The right words help me recall the reasons behind GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning's mission to offer the best, healthiest, environmentally friendly cleaning products and services to our clients. A good quote reminds me of what it takes to accomplish something bigger than our company; what it takes to make a real difference. And lastly, a simple, poignant sentiment sets my day off on the right track, leaving me strong and inspired. Use the right words to do the same for you and your team. Take time for a quick internet search each business day to find a quote or inspirational image that speaks to you, and then share it with your team members so they feel more inspired, too. We start every staff meeting with a great quote to inspire and motivate us.
2. Encourage critical work-life balance.
To keep motivation high, it's imperative that social entrepreneurs and the amazing people we choose to walk beside us have the right work-life balance. That means taking days and time off, encouraging it when needed and staying personally connected to your team members. At my company, we consider ourselves a family, celebrate each other's triumphs and support each other during the inevitable struggles in life. We also remember that laughter can sometimes be the very best motivational medicine and can be the one thing that truly keeps us in balance during the workday.
3. Connect to your social scene together.
I'm not talking about checking out the latest social hotspot, I'm referring to volunteering in your community. We encourage our team members to find and support a social cause that aligns with their personal mission. You can take this one step further by finding an outside organization that aligns with your company mission and volunteer as a team. You may also want to consider hosting "Volunteer Days" during business hours to honor restorative personal time.
4. Check in with your customers--internal and external.
The best way to make sure what your company does achieves its social initiatives is to ask the people closest to you, your customers. Remember, as an entrepreneur, your customers are both internal and external, so survey both team members and customers about what you do, how well you do it, why it matters to them and most importantly, what suggestions they have for improvement. I pretty much consider the results of these surveys inspirational gold. Not only do I receive insight into our front lines, but feedback on the ever-changing social landscape. And the internal component allows me another opportunity to tap into the brilliance of my team and give their ideas a go. There's nothing more inspiring than watching your idea come to fruition and make a difference, for a team member or an intrapreneur.
By re-charging our socially conscious spirits, we are able to shift our thinking from how to be in business to why we are in business. This small shift in thinking creates a gigantic shift in priorities--invigorating us with new energy and clarity to move our businesses to the next level.
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.