Muhammad Asif is an entrepreneur, investor, and CEO of MCA International, a firm providing growth-focused solutions to hospitality industry.
After years of running a business, particularly through a pandemic, it’s easy for leaders to forget why they started in the first place. Problems keep mounting, and it can be difficult to imagine how they will push through. Many small business owners are currently struggling for cash flow, and throwing in the towel is a tempting option.
It’s during these crises that it’s crucial for business owners and entrepreneurs to remember why they started their endeavors. Entrepreneurs have one thing in common: They are passionate about their work and are willing to put in the time and effort to find success. When times get tough, it’s critical to remember that spark from long ago.
During Covid-19, some business owners quit because they forgot their “why.” They stopped making profit, so they walked away. But if your “why” is strong enough, no amount of resistance or frustration can keep you down. There are three things I do regularly to keep my “why” front and center.
1. Engage in consistent and ongoing self development.
The role of CEO has changed significantly in recent years. Yes, overseeing and running the company is the main responsibility, but many of the ancillary tasks have evolved, like creating and managing hybrid work schedules and making sure self care is a priority in the workplace. In today’s world of work, two development areas should be on the top of every CEO’s list: talent management and adaptability. Both remain critical to understand and implement in 2021, especially as the pandemic threatens to stick around.
Leaders need to ensure they stay on top of what’s needed to best captain their ship, like maintaining an encouraging and motivated culture and making sure employees don’t burn out. Keeping up with new trends and research helps me stay informed and a more competent leader. Working on bettering myself － and by extension, my team － keeps my ‘why’ front and center.
2. Appreciate the mountain you’re climbing.
It’s easy to look around at your competitors’ success and forget about the amazing business and team you’re building. It’s like the mountain climbers who always wish they were climbing the bigger mountain. In truth, they should appreciate, acknowledge and celebrate the mountains they’ve conquered. When we fail to appreciate what we have and what we’ve done, we can forget the “why” in the midst of day-to-day chaos.
3. Take a value-based approach to business
Over the years, I’ve always taken a value-based approach to business instead of a traditional, rules-based approach. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines value-based organization as, “a culture shaped by a clear set of ground rules establishing a foundation and guiding principles for decision-making, actions and a sense of community.” In a values-driven environment, people align their personal values and the organization’s values to create a cooperative and motivated place of work. For example, one of my values is kindness. I live and breathe this every day — in every conversation, debate and decision.
Keeping values front and center helps your team stay positive and focused on the very reason you’re all there: The “why.”
The “why” of a business matters － to you, your team and your success. As the leader of the business, it’s on your shoulders to keep it front and center. The reward will be a motivated, engaged and prosperous team and company leading to solving real world problems and creation of a robust, sustainable, socially responsible and profitable business.