How do you maintain your mojo?

To answer this you have to firstly understand what your mojo is. Your ‘mojo’ is that special quality that makes you successful and full of energy. Or more simply put, it’s your magic: your zip, your pizazz, it’s that spark.

So over 25 years in business how do you keep your mojo, and keep the burning fires of ambition alight?

Aside from cash flow this would have to be the biggest challenge facing any small business owner.  Many businesses are sold at a time when that spark is at its lowest, if not extinguished, which is a travesty as the value of the business is also at it’s lowest. All the hard work in building a business is lost as all too often you here phrases such as “time to move on, seek new challenges, I have given it my all”.

Some year’s back I had an opportunity to buy a design studio in Sydney for just about the value of the assets; almost nothing for goodwill. It was a no-brainer as the owner had lost her mojo and wanted out quickly.  Needless to say it didn’t transpire for a number of reasons, but the point is the owner was basically giving her business away after all those years of building it up.  In short, selling her business under value was the cost of losing her mojo.

As a small business owner you are faced with many challenges, and statistically after all these years we are lucky to still be here.  Many years ago I learnt a valuable lesson from a client who established a successful business in a cutthroat industry.  He said if you plan for a loss in the first year, as many (accountants included) do, then that’s what you would achieve. Instead, plan for a profit from day one and surprisingly that’s what you will achieve – I know I did.

I am not afraid to admit that there have been many times over that last 25 years when that spark flickered and almost went out; my mojo wasn’t there.  The pressures of running a business, dealing with the ATO, cash flow, GST (yes it didn’t exist in the early years), resources boom and bust and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) have all at times presented major hurdles.

Gary Bertwistle wrote a book on this topic: “Who Stole My Mojo? How to Get it Back and Live, Work and Play Better”, a great read that helps you get a perspective on your mojo.  For me the answer lay within, as is often the case. I would keep asking myself if I won the lotto would I do the same thing? Every time the answer was the same – yes.

That’s not to say things would be different and my approach would change.  Bottom line is that I have gratitude for the people who have helped me along the way and made this possible.  I am grateful for the amazing opportunities I have had and the great people I have met along the way, many which have become good friends.

Take nothing away from the family support I have received, as when you run a small business it’s a family affair and impacts on everyone, for which I am truly grateful.

Coming back to the original question of how I kept my mojo for 25 years? The answer is simple: Passion. I am doing what I love, I get to work on a diversity of projects, meet some interesting and wonderful people, and more importantly have the creative outlet I need.