Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
Americans spend one-third of their lives working – often more for entrepreneurs – and the distinction between our work and personal lives becomes more difficult to separate.
You may not realize what you learn as a business owner may also apply to other aspects of your life, whether it’s your relationship with your partner, or negotiating with a home contractor. And applying interpersonal skills to your business is also appropriate.
Getting things done
If you have fallen victim to the never-ending “to-do list” at home, consider how you tackle your essential tasks and projects as a business owner. You might track a project’s progress using project management software. You give yourself deadlines for reaching certain steps or milestones.
While investing in professional time management software may not be realistic, there is no shortage of time management apps that can replace the seemingly endless sticky notes or the list stuck to your refrigerator door (probably with a promotional magnet that is supposed to remind you to get your teeth cleaned). However, you can go old school and use the A-B-C method to set priorities and decide which tasks to do first and in which order.
Another thing business owners do is have a sense for when they need to call in reinforcements, whether from employees, associates, contractors, or even technology. For example, as a business owner, you can ask your assistant to draft a standard “thank you” email that you can easily personalize as necessary and send out as needed. You can recreate this at home by ordering personalized, pre-printed cards that can easily be adapted into customized thank-you notes, birthday greetings, or expressions of sympathy.
In all cases, remember that just because you know how to do something yourself, doesn’t mean you have to, or even that you should. As a business owner, if you decide to structure your business as a limited liability company or LLC, you could do all of the work yourself by researching the steps of filing in Illinois online and taking time from your already-stacked day to fill out the required forms and file the paperwork.
You could also spend money and hire an attorney to do it. Better yet, take advantage of an online formation service for starting a business in Illinois, easily saving your company’s precious resources as well as your irreplaceable time. In the space of a couple of hours you’ll be ready to hang up your shingle and accept your first customer!
Getting things done, only better
Successful business owners have a vision for their company but still embark on tried-and-true paths in their business operations. For example, business plans have been used for years, giving business owners a roadmap and helping them validate their ideas to potential investors. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs help them manage their sales funnels and manage customer satisfaction and retention. Not reinventing the wheel saves time, money, and reduces stress and anxiety.
BUT … business owners also aren’t afraid to innovate and problem-solve when necessary. It may involve taking risks, but risks are a necessary part of business and in fact, many would consider risk as being synonymous with entrepreneurship.
However, developing a healthy sense of risk tolerance along with the need to develop discipline and standards as the business evolves is what makes some business owners “business builders” rather than serial entrepreneurs, as noted by Chris McGoff.
How does this apply to other parts of your life? Well, sometimes it pays to take the path of least resistance, but that shouldn’t erase the desire to make positive changes, to dare to dream, and to try new things – or simply improve on existing ones.
Take communication, for example. Everyone does it, whether we want to or not. But for some people, it comes easier than others, and they may not see a reason for putting additional effort into their communication capabilities, or “soft skills.”
Technical and practical expertise is often emphasized and lauded, while “soft skills” are considered “nice to have.” Well, honing your soft skills can help you land jobs, contracts, get a better price, and even save relationships. That sounds less like a “nice to have” and more like a “must-have.”
Establishing your brand
Who are you? As a business . . . as a person. What is your brand? Creating a brand that matches with your values and your company’s values is easier than to pretend to be something you are not. Spending some time considering your brand and your values is important.
Have some fun with this. Use a visual logo design maker to create and stimulate your thoughts. What do you want your logo to say about you? What can you visually bring into the world to emphasize your emerging brand and values?
Also, your website and your marketing need to let the customer know how you can help them and what problems you can solve. Hiring What A Great Website to ask you the right questions, help you define your brand, and create a website and all marketing materials that properly align your brand with your values and business model can be immensely productive and necessary to your continued growth.
Explore the portfolio of What a Great Website’s clients and see how hiring someone to create or update your website can establish your brand and better serve your customers.
It’s all a blur of humanity
Improving yourself crosses both personal and business lines, which is the point. What you do in one affects the other. Your business is filled with emotions because it’s filled with humans. Once you understand that, you’ll realize the importance of adding tools to your toolbox to help you deal with that humanity.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. Find her at http://juliemorris.org.