You’re only as strong as your weakest link.
The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How do you stay inspired to run a business?” is written by Jeff Ruby, founder and CEO of Newtopia.
Running a startup is like jumping off a cliff and building an airplane on the way down. It can be fun and exciting one minute, and the next can leave you feeling terrified and powerless. It’s during these times that you need to draw upon your passion and remember why you started your business in the first place. What inspired you?
My inspiration for the company came from a very personal place. I lost my father to cancer at a young age and doctors concluded that it was the result of “unlucky genetics and an unhealthy lifestyle,” which in turn caused me to reflect on my own health. If that ended his life, what was going to stop my life from ending the same way? I realized that I had no clue about my genetic makeup or where to obtain a healthy lifestyle plan. That was when I discovered my “ah-ha” moment: Why is there no personalized plan or support for people to lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid disease? Isn’t that what “health care” should be all about?
As a leader, I’ve learned that there needs to be one motivational factor within every aspect of the business, and that’s drive. In order for an organization to thrive, your team has to have the same passion and drive for doing what’s best and influential to the business, especially when you’re trying to bring innovative solutions and new platforms to an already-crowded market—like employee wellness. While my inspiration for the company was my father’s health, I have found ways to turn this personal passion into one my team can find inspiration from as well, whether that be a personal decision they have made to get healthier, helping a friend get inspired, or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle already in place.
Understanding how to work with your team and turn your inspiration into longer-term, relatable motivation is vital to having committed support from your employees. As the saying goes, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” One of the greatest strengths in any organization is the ability to have a strong support system—one where everyone feels comfortable to share their ideas, visions, and best practices for the company. Working with a great team of experts and coaches has enabled me to bring my best ideas to the office every day.
Additionally, as leaders and entrepreneurs, it’s important to plan for everything and foresee any problems that may arise in the future. A good leader understands that there are bound to be minor failures, and strategizes on how the organization will overcome these failures. Much like trying to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle—just like starting a business—there is no “quick fix,” and there will be challenges along the way. But with the information I’ve learned after losing my father, I remain as inspired as ever to help myself and others live healthier lives every day.
When you add it all up, the hardest part of starting and running a business isn’t necessarily coming up with the new idea, maximizing ROI, or sustaining growth. It’s staying inspired through the uncertainty of what lies ahead, and I’ll always have my father for that. If you start with passion, you’ll have the right fuel to persist when things inevitably don’t go as planned.
Jeff Ruby is the founder and CEO of Newtopia, an employee health engagement platform leading the way to personalized health through a personalized, holistic approach. Ruby also co-founded Cleveland Clinic Canada, Life Screening Centers and Genetic Diagnostics Inc.