A business must be impersonal to the one who builds it, and entirely personal to the one who buys into it.
There are many kinds of dreams.
The dream of the lonely man or woman
The dream of the lustful lover
The dream of the old man wishing to become young
The dream of the young man wishing to become older
The dream of the spinster wising for a companion
The dream of the companion wishing for the lover
The dream of the 'D' student wishing for good grades
The dream of the single mother wishing her son would get a job
The dream of the plain woman wishing for beauty
All of these I call 'personal dreams.' For most of us they remain dreams of longing, personal desires. But even when such dreams become action, they rarely produce the desired result. They may shift from dreams into goals, but the goals themselves become suspect once achieved. Once the goal is reached, a new goal is set--a bigger house, a better tan, a faster car, a more responsive lover. These are 'incremental dreams.' There is no end to them.
To run a successful business, you must have more than a personal dream. In fact, you must have an impersonal one. What do I mean when I say an 'impersonal dream?' I mean just that--it is anything but personal. It is not about you and it is not about me. It is about the act of creativity; that "sudden seeing" of a possibility we have never seen before.
A business must be impersonal to the one who builds it, and entirely personal to the one who buys it. Entrepreneurship is nothing about the one who creates a thing and everything about the one who consumes a thing. Entrepreneurs must care about creating because of the impact they can have on someone else.
That is the impersonal dream's difference. That's what separates a dream that drives a business from a dream that drives a person. Your personal desires are the dreams of your heart, but the dreams of your business must be about making the world a better place for those you serve.
MICHAEL E. GERBER is a true legend in entrepreneurship, helping transform 70,000+ businesses in 145 countries over the past 25 years. Michael’s New York Times best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, has sold over 5,000,000 copies. @MichaelEGerber