Clare Moore is the Head of Franchising at Tide Cleaners.
There is a reason that young children often grow up wanting to be actors, dancers, football players, firefighters and astronauts. These are exciting jobs. These glamorous-sounding jobs can be a lot more challenging and grueling than they appear, but to a little kid they seem exciting, whereas running a business — not so much. Of course, even some business owners might say that their work isn’t all that appealing. But if that’s your mindset, you’re probably doing something wrong. Because, honestly, I think business is about the most thrilling career you can have. It isn’t just a job, but a lifestyle, a calling and a chance to be a community leader. Here’s what I mean.
You get to do something that matters to your customers.
This pandemic has been wretched in a lot of ways, but one silver lining is the spotlight on some of the least glamorous industries. We are now recognizing that what people do to contribute to society is extremely important. Working as a cashier at a supermarket might not sound like a job to write home about, but I think it’s safe to say that anybody who shops now looks at these employees with a newfound respect.
It doesn’t matter how boring your business may or may not seem. If you’re making a product or offering a service that people need or want, every day you get the chance to make your customers’ lives a little easier, a little happier, a little better.
I know it sounds sappy, but we really all do need each other to make it in this world, which should be clearer than ever. Whatever your business is doing, it’s probably pretty important.
You get to employ people.
Talk about helping people and your community. Not every business has employees, of course, but assuming yours does, by simply existing and offering people a paycheck, you’re serving your community and doing something that matters.
When you start a business or buy a franchise and begin hiring people, it’s a symbiotic relationship. They’re helping you build your business, and you’re helping them build their lives. Your employees are perhaps raising children, or maybe they’re practically kids themselves, earning money while going to school. Whatever they’re doing, you’re helping them to do it. I don’t know how one isn’t inspired by that.
You can make a big difference in your community.
It isn’t only customers and employees affected by your work. Your business can make a major impact on your community as a whole. You can use your business to sponsor local school sports teams or donate to local causes and nonprofits that you feel are important. You can encourage your employees to donate blood or do other sorts of volunteer work. That type of civic-mindedness is great for the community and can be good for both your morale and your employees’ morale.
Also, fair or not, business leaders tend to be solicited for their opinions. If you speak up at a chamber of commerce meeting, people are likely to listen. If you want to run for city council, people are going to pay attention. There’s a respect that often is attached to business owners because of what they do for a community. If you use your influence well and wisely, you may be able to make more of a difference to your city or town than if you weren’t a business owner.
You also can use your business to make your own life better.
That’s the really wonderful gift of owning a business. You’re constantly giving back, but it’s not a one-sided relationship. You’ll receive plenty back in return.
If running a business is a passion of yours, and you’re good at it, then naturally, financial stability tends to follow. You can then keep building your business, buying more franchises or starting additional businesses and remain on your current path. But you also can hold the line and let your people run your business — or most of it — while you use your extra time to spend with your family, friends, hobbies and interests.
If you’re buying a business or starting one, it may not look like the most exciting pastime in the world, and maybe if we’re literal, it’s not. But people forget about everything that goes on behind the scenes and all that you can accomplish when you own a business.
Because when you start a company or buy a franchise, you’re doing more than investing in something. You’re investing in somebody — many somebodies, in fact. That, to me, is even more exciting than a car chase in a movie or a perfect touchdown.