Newly funded, newly engaged, and thinking about the future, as the CEO of Laurel & Wolf, I've been contemplating ways to take the next steps in building a big company. I've spent a lot of time hearing stories and investigating how other successful founders have built their companies and at the end of the day, my realization is that the only way to win is to build with love. Passion isn't strong enough to sustain you through the tough times, and friendship won't keep you motivated to give 110 percent daily, but true love for your business will enable you to grow a strong and sustainable company.
Much like in a relationship, there are many phases of "love" for your business. The question becomes: How do you keep the passion, the love, and dedication alive through all the ups and downs? More importantly, how, in the craziest of times, do you continue to love and support your company as much as when it was young, hot, and cool?
I certainly don't have the answer to this riddle, but I suspect one might be able to apply the same rules to creating a long-lasting love to building a successful company.
Here are the promises I've made to my company in order to keep the love alive and as strong as that first "I love you."
1. I promise to celebrate the little things and take joy in the small wins and moments. It's not always about the grand gestures. Consistent kindness and consideration can make a huge difference in life. I promise to not simply celebrate the anniversaries and the birthdays but also to relish the simpler things.
2. I won't compare you to others. I will love you for your strengths and weaknesses and will support and guide you in becoming the best possible version of yourself.
3. When we are together, I will give you 100% of my focus. I will make you my priority. I will listen carefully, laugh with you, and be there for the hard conversations. Nothing is worse than feeling like you are second fiddle to other distractions. I promise to never let you feel this way.
4. I will be honest and open with you. When I fail or fall down, I will be truthful. When times are hard, I will ask for your support. And most importantly, I will share my joys and triumphs with you so you can celebrate by my side.
5. I will love you when you are old. You will be wiser, more experienced, and just as beautiful. Who cares about a few wrinkles? Those come from the hard times as well as the great but just as great wine gets better with age, so will you.