Running a small business can take over every aspect of your life. In one way that can be a good thing as it keeps you focussed and maximizes your use of time, but in another way … not so much. Your company can become such a huge part of your world that the lines between life and living become so blurred you don’t have anything in your life other than your business. Smart choices small business owners know that you need more than that to fill your days. So how, exactly, do you strike a balance?
Keeping a clear view of your small business and what is going on around it is the only way to operate your company effectively and sometimes, keep your head above water.
Here are a few smart choices that smart business owners make:
Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and many other well-known billionaires all have one thing in common – they make personal development a high priority. Each of them makes sure they read regularly, a least daily, and choose to delve into motivational and educational books that help them become a better businessman or leader, choosing them over newspapers, magazines and browsing the internet. Another thing they have in common is that they are extremely busy men and have very little ‘spare’ time, so they make sure that they make enough time to read an intelligent book.
One thing that every small business owner knows is that if they aren’t there – not much gets done! Smart business owners look after their health. You can go into the office when you are sick, but do you get your best work done? You only have one or two staff, if any at all, and what happens if you get them sick? You’ll end up paying them for not being there. Staying healthy is the best way to avoid losing business days, or making a fatal mistake by working when you’re not well enough to.
Keeping healthy is a combination of eating well, taking exercise and handling stress. Making the choice to base your diet on fresh fruit and veg for a meal, then going out for a walk after not only keeps your energy levels and immune system ticking over, it also invigorates your brain. Healthy habits are the only way to keep your wits about you, keep your mind clear and sharpen your intellect so that you can do what you do best – run the company.
HAVE A LIFE
If you spend all your time and emotional energy seriously concentrating on one thing only at some point you will hit ‘a wall’, either physically or emotionally. Having a life outside of work is a one of the smart choices that smart business owners make. The chance to get away from all the stress, speed and excitement can give you a chance to recharge your batteries and open you up to invigorating stimuli. After all, you have no idea where your next brilliant idea or top account will come from.
What type of a life you have is up to you, but always carefully tread that fine line between having a life – and having too much of a life! Giving yourself some well-earned rest and recuperation is very different from completely letting go and becoming an eternal beach bum; they’ll be enough time for that when you hit it big.
KEEP A WEATHER EYE OPEN
Great small business owners always have one eye on the business, and the other on what’s on the horizon. They make strategic smart choices. You can make the choice to follow industry trends, but if you’re smart, you’ll always be looking to take a bold leap past what is proved, to what is possible. The title ‘small business owner’ is synonymous with ‘pioneer’; always on the lookout for a new way to accomplish something, taking chances or improving what needs to be done. There may be another 400 companies out there who do exactly what you do, it’s that small, pioneering spirit that causes you to rise above the rest and open up a whole new ball game.
One of the smartest things you can do as a small business owner is to keep yourself organized. Keeping organized makes all the difference between having a head full of brilliant ideas but having no real system to materialize them, and having a thriving business that is capable of growth.
The kind of organization you will need will encompass running meetings to schedule, accurate records of all transactions, efficient accounting in and out of the business, deadline management, adherence to an effective business plan, etc. but also making sure that you stick to it. Being organized not only makes your small business more efficient, it saves you time as you know where everything is and at what stage it is at when you need it.
A nurturing person invests in people. A smart business owner who chooses to spend some of their time staying in touch with people, are thinking about the needs and wants of others and offer generous interactions with those around them. This nurturing must not be confused with weakness. Nurturing has a purpose and goal in mind, and moves the business along in one way or another. It is never just ‘being nice’, it is much more than that.
Do not underestimate how valuable the time is that is spent away from your desk nurturing a business relationship. It will be how you are remembered and will leave a bread crumb trail for people to follow back to you.
ALWAYS BE DECISIVE ABOUT SMART DECISIONS
Handing off all the decisions is not an option in a small business – the buck stops firmly with you. You cannot lead effectively if you cannot make a sound decision. Gather the information you need and make the right decision as much as possible, every time; the confidence of your workforce and customers depends on it. Most people can accept you made a wrong decision, but often cannot accept not making a decision at all. Learn to trust your gut as this is your business after all.
Sometimes the decisions may be hard to make, especially if it is the need to trim away the excess and make your company operation leaner, but the more decisive you become, the easier it will be to run an effective company.
Keeping ahead of the competition requires you to always make smart choices but if you choose to follow the list above, you’ll be ready when the time comes to move your small business forward.