I run a business, I support other businesses too, I talk about business and hang out with other business owners…but time and again I forget some key investments I need to make!
When you read business manuals, they (quite rightly) tell us that we have to focus on cashflow, that we need to invest money back into our business, that must ensure that all that we do is profitable, that we must have a plan and work very, very, very hard!
This is all good advice but there are things that I think many folks miss and will have just as much as of an impact on your business. They are things I forget too!
As many of you will know, I run my business as well as my home and being Mum to my boys. Life is hectic, lively and a rollercoaster. I forget the very basics of looking after myself sometimes. The very process of remembering to feed myself well, get some exercise, switch off occasionally often feels like a massive luxury that I can’t afford.
But this is a mistake. a BIG mistake. I feel it is so important to invest in other areas too…
- Invest in yourself. This means you! This means down time, relaxation time, time out, a rest. This is really difficult for me and for all entrepreneurs and business owners. You need to be professional about it and treat it just like you would treat an appointment with your accountant! Get it into the diary and block out time when you will chill out. Investing in this way will help your body recover from the constant adrenaline rush that many business owners survive on. It will also allow ideas and clarity to bubble up in a way that your busy brain might not allow most of the time. This takes me to point two…
- Invest in thinking time. Now, if you thought that point 1 was an indulgence, you might find that this is just too much like a decadence you can’t afford. But afford you must! It is all very well staying busy and working hard on what you do but if you don’t keep an eye on the horizon you will come a cropper. I do this in two ways. Firstly I take a little smidge of time each morning to think clearly about what I want the day to bring. I think about what I want to achieve but also how I feel, what mood I am in so that I can dictate which jobs might need to be left to another day. If I wake up feeling inspired and creative, the inspiration and creativity is what I try to achieve (I may leave my accounts to another day). If I wake up with a focus of fire to get on, I might tackle my overdue invoices, do my accounts and get busy. Secondly, I take a day each month to have head space. I might go for a very long walk or simply visit somewhere new. I take a notebook and simply allow my brain to fire up naturally. No end of great ideas (and some pants ones too) have bubbled up when I do this. Blocks and problems that have troubled me for weeks will suddenly find a solution that seems blooming obvious. Clearly your diary won’t allow you to do this perfectly…but you run your own business folks so use that flexibility to get the most out of each day!
- Invest in your knowledge and skills. I can’t tell you the amount of times I speak to clients who proceed to tell me that they are phobic of computers, aren’t very good at technical things, rubbish at graphics or simply don’t understand digital marketing. Many times, it’s a statement they make about themselves and believe and stick to like glue! Although I acknowledge it’s not essential to be an expert in everything (I pay for a good accountant so that I don’t muck the numbers up) and I can’t build websites (yet!!) but I have learnt everything else from scratch. I learn all the time. I pick things up, read blogs, watch Youtube videos, take advice, go on courses and learn from others. It is vital to great business to keep up with new technologies, new software, new ideas and new thinking. In this ever speeding up world, you will be left behind VERY quickly if you don’t. So invest in some training, take time to watch Youtube clips on how to do stuff, ask people at network meetings how they do something, read blogs like this and so much more. Staying interested is the key. You may not get everything and you may decide to pay someone else to take on particular tasks, but at least you will have a good grasp of it so that you can steer your ship.
Have fun investing everyone and just see what a results it has!