I have talked about this before in different guises, about the importance of looking after your number one asset when you are a business owner – you. Although in theory it sounds blatantly obvious, in practice it can be the devil to do.
Often it is simply a matter of time; sometimes it is all too easy to focus on the needs of customers over the needs of yourself; frequently the financial responsibilities of being a business owner can keep our nose to grindstone for too long and quite frankly it can seem like a damn luxury to take any time off. However, ignore your wellbeing and personal needs at your peril and at the peril of your business too.
I am actually writing this from Kefalonia at a yoga retreat. Before you think “it’s alright for some!” this has been a very long planned and first trip like this for me and something I have felt distinctly uncomfortable about. Not only is it time away from my business but also my family where I am also a CEO. However, life & business became such that that kind of distance was necessary. Nothing has gone wrong, in fact my business is on the move to grow, but I knew in my gut that if I didn’t do something relatively drastic to plan, think, reorder, rest & restore, then I would be doing my business, my clients and myself a disservice.
You don’t need to go drastic or abroad but you do need to make a definite plan and schedule it in so that you don’t reach breaking point, burn out or make a huge mistake in your business. If you are able to action some restorative time doing what restores you (not yoga I hear you cry!) then you will be better guaranteeing success & sustainability in your business and more of the life you planned when you set up you business in the first place.
So here goes – some ideas to help you keep going in your business:
- Try to drive your diary. This is something that took me while to get to grips with & sometimes slips away from me. When you set up a business your time/diary is your own to do with what you want – no planned meetings from your bosses or scheduled in lunch breaks. This freedom can lead to overload. Adding as many appointments into your week as possible, starting earlier and earlier each day (finishing later too) or filling the diary across the whole week are all signs of your diary driving you. You are in this business for a better life, to realise a dream or fulfil a passion so why enslave yourself? Decide what time is best to stay in the office and ring fence that to keep up with admin, read inspiring blogs, keep up with industry changes. Let your clients know you only have certain days for appointments – they will be totally at ease with that & you drive your precious time. You will find that you have more than enough time to do everything – perhaps slightly slower but definitely better. Break the shackles and start today.
- Build rest into your week. Again rest may seem like a luxury to some of you but rest is essential if your body & mind is going cope with the demands of running a business. You are no use to your customers if you are fuddled, exhausted and fearful. You could try having one full rest day a week for exercise, rest, meeting friends, exploring your navel – anything to rest your brain and body. You will be amazed at how the good ideas flow!
- Look forward to no business time. This might seem a bigger step but planning a week off could be a real breakthrough for your business. You may not choose to go anywhere but even a week at home with a book & some cake could be the key to allowing your creative business head to get a look in. Have a notebook at hand and see what happens. Plan the week ahead of time and organise cover or simply prepare your customers that you will have an out of office on. Your business will not crumble overnight & doesn’t require you to stare at it 24 7.
- Finally, don’t work in isolation. Many of us are either working on our own much of the time or are the only boss in the business, making decisions, maintaining confidence & staying focussed can be a stretch if we do it alone all the time. Build in time when you meet people other than your customers. Networking might be great for you (the relaxed/time to chat kind might work best here) or maybe a monthly coffee with self employed friends and colleagues. This refreshing opportunity to connect with like minded people is like a spa day for the brain – refreshing, restorative & uplifting.
Do get in contact to let me know how you manage to keep going in your business or find out how we celebrate, support & connect indie, small business owners over at Simply Staffordshire (soon to be Simply Great Britain!).
Happy resting, driving & chatting.