How Hunger Feeds Your Business

How Hunger Feeds Your Business

Are You Hungry?

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I worked for an avionics company in Coral Gables, FL. It was a good job with reasonable hours and it didn’t take me too long to get home at the end of the day.

Somewhere along my commute down US 1, I morphed from a mild-mannered marcom manager with “no desire to eat” to an aggressively ravenous crazy woman. My wild hunger swings helped me understand the true meaning of “hangry” – so hungry you’re angry. (Yes, it’s a word, in fact, it was just added to the Oxford Dictionary.)

Fast forward twenty-some years to my current entrepreneurial life and I can see how hunger drives success – and inhibits it.

Hunger Incites Action

Do you work as if your life depends upon it? Are you more passive, approaching work as a nice diversion between tennis matches or dinners out with friends?

Hunger is a good metric to test how much effort you’re willing to invest in an endeavor – both financially and in terms of time and energy. It’s more compelling than passion, with a sense of urgency that passion often lacks.

Think about it. You might be passionate about a number of things, like helping people or taking care of your family or launching a new venture. But that passion doesn’t always come with drive. Drive emanates from a deeper place. It’s a visceral and compelling need to act.

Hunger is a natural drive that forces us into action. No one sits idly by while starving, unless illness or environmental factors prevent them. Hunger motivates change, provides initiative and inspires creativity.

If you have any doubt about that, just watch the participants on Naked and Afraid. When dropped into the wild with no clothes and no food, it doesn’t take long for them to readjust priorities. The definition of a good meal shifts from 5-star cuisine to 5 crickets, and they’re happy to have them, thank you very much.

Hunger Forces Innovation

Hunger in business pushes people to pursue new customers and fresh ideas. It drives growth by sparking innovation. Entrepreneurs are like contestants on Naked and Afraid, making their way through an unfamiliar landscape in an endless quest for their next meal.

Some are excellent hunters who thrive in their new environment. Those who can fish and trap are at a distinct advantage, as are entrepreneurs who know their target market and how to connect with them.

Applying unconventional ideas makes it possible to turn trees, trash and rocks into the tools of success. Entrepreneurs do the same with whatever resources are at hand.

In this way, hunger is a good thing.

Hunger Shapes Decisions

When I was that hangry pregnant lady, I made some pretty poor choices at 6:30pm. Almost anything looked good enough to eat, and I’m sure I consumed more burgers and fries than I should have. (Thank God my husband cooked regularly or I’d have been in real trouble!)

Hungry entrepreneurs also make bad decisions at times, believing that what’s in front of them right now might be their last meal for a while.

The scarcity mentality hunger creates can cloud your judgement, undermining success just when you really need a big win. Signs that your hunger may lead to self-sabotage include:

  • Chasing the wrong customers just because they’re easy or convenient.
  • Pushing so hard for the sale that you appear needy or desperate.
  • Hanging on to outdated products or services because you can’t bear to give up the little revenue they bring.
  • Losing your temper with partners, employees and clients.
  • Hiring the last person you interviewed because they can start right away, even if they’re not the best fit.
  • Constantly looking for the next big thing because you’re afraid what you have now won’t sustain you.
  • Bouncing from one idea to another before any of them have time to yield results.

I could list many more, but you can see the theme. Giving up on your principles or convictions and loosening your standards should give you pause.

Are you making business choices driven by fear of starvation?

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Find the Right Degree of Desire

To maintain a healthy level of hunger in your business, manage your appetite:

  • Feed yourself and your team regularly with training and personal development, peer support and frequent communication. These things are like the fruit and vegetables in a balanced diet.
  • Watch for signs that hunger is getting out of control, and have a healthy snack – a small deal with a loyal customer, a quick revenue hit from a special offer – to keep your revenue on track.
  • Understand that excessive hunger on an ongoing basis signals a business problem that needs to be addressed.

If your company feels sluggish, bloated or seems to be shedding weight (clients, key employees) rapidly, get professional help from an expert advisor who can get you back on track.

Photo by Constatin Jurcut on

Has hunger helped or hurt your business? Share your experience in the comments below.

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