In my experience, there are two types of owner-managers: the business-builders, and those who want to change the world.
The typical business-builder is like Warren Buffet – money is the way they keep score, and they get their enjoyment in their business simply from ‘doing the numbers’, beating the competition, becoming an important player in a market. The money isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, it’s just the evidence that they are doing a good job. Their motivation is to create a thriving and successful business – and the nice house, cars, holidays that they buy with the money that comes from that confirms their position as a successful business-owner. The trouble with business-builders is they can sometimes get stuck in work they don’t really enjoy.
World-changers, on the other hand, get their enjoyment from doing something they have a real passion for, better than it has been done before. So their motivation, the way they measure themselves tends to be more about recognition than money, and they are often quite happy to sacrifice profitability in pursuit of the ideal process, something that will perfect their delivery and delight their clients. The trouble with world-changers is they can end up not getting properly rewarded for their effort and innovation.
It was to resolve this challenge of balancing passion and pragmatism in business that I developed my Opportunity Matrix™ tool. By splitting out which criteria relate to Pragmatism (e.g. market size and access) and which relate to Passion (e.g. excitement, strategic fit or ethics), it facilitates business-owners to assess their activities and opportunities on both dimensions. And so answer what I call the “2 Big Business Questions”:
- How much do we want to do this?
- Will we make any money at it?
There are too many people grinding out an existence in businesses that are financially rewarding but leave them dead inside; and far too many who are doing the work they love, and simply not getting properly paid. All the really successful businesses I know achieve a balance of those two questions – they balance passion and pragmatism, achieving both healthy profit and meaningful purpose.