As entrepreneurs, we are very passionate about our business and really want it to succeed. We spend a little bit more on equipment because it’s faster and more efficient. Your manager, who has been with you for years, gets a pay raise because a competitor has offered him a lucrative contract. Most of your business decisions pay off because you have made the necessary call to scale the business and watch it flourish. However, your business may not be performing at optimum level because you are forgetting the most important person in your life that has literally been there since day one. Spoiler Alert: that person is you. If you truly want to be successful as a business owner and be a market leader you envisioned when you wrote the first sentence of your business plan, then investing in yourself is imperative. Here are a few ways to do just that.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT NEVER STOPS
Ok stop booing! Say what you want about Kobe Bryant but you can never question his work ethic and constant development as a basketball player. He is always working and adding a new aspect to his game because he knows basketball is a craft. As Entrepreneurs you should be doing the exact same thing. Now I’m not saying go and do resistance training in a pool…then again (more on that later). You must be learning more about your craft and industry constantly. Take some free online courses that teach the art of negotiation. Read articles and books that talk about the philosophies of those who have done it longer and are more successful than you. Instead of listening to the radio on the way to work, listen to a podcast about your industry. Thinking about expanding to a new country? Learn the language of a foreign land ( F.Y.I. there are three international business languages. English, Mandarin, and Japanese). Also, going to conferences are the best because you get a 2-for-1 out of it. You learn something and you get to network. Professional development separates the Mark Cuban’s from the graveyard filled with countless failed entrepreneurships.
DUST OFF THE TREADMILL IN THE GARAGE
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are people that exercise on a regular basis. It is part of their daily routine. It’s important for a number of reasons. For starters, it’s a great way to come up with new ideas. I keep a notepad on the treadmill because when my blood gets pumping and the wheels in my head start turning, new ideas tend to just flow. Also, it puts you in a good mood by giving you a sense of accomplishment for the day. Entrepreneurs thrive on the small victories that lead to the much larger ones. However the most important reason to exercise as an entrepreneur is to remain in good health. If you don’t take care of yourself you can find yourself sick more often which leads to unplanned time away from the business. This can be really bad. I have seen entrepreneurs not take care of their health and their business suffered tremendously due to sickness and sometimes even death. So squeeze in some time for workout on a regular basis and watch what you eat. (Practice moderation on those cheesesteaks!)
SAVING FOR RETIREMENT OR AT LEAST A RAINY DAY
This is important for one simple reason…piece of mind. Business owners too often live in the moment and when a crisis hits they are unprepared for it. Putting away a little bit here and there gives you the assurance that when bad things happen (and they will) the blow won’t be so bad. When you left your 9-5 you left the retirement package they had for you as well. All is not lost. You can still save for retirement due to the many options afforded to small business owners. For the aggressive people like me the stock market is where I go to create my retirement portfolio. However those of you not willing to take that roller coaster ride, mutual funds and IRAs can be your path to a healthy and sustainable retirement. You worked hard for your money so make it work as hard as you do. Don’t just let it sit in a bank account. Nobody has ever become wealthy doing that.
DON’T BE LATE FOR YOUR DAUGHTER’S TEA TIME
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is step away for a while. We often become so engrained in our business that there is no fresh perspective and innovation is lost. More importantly, we forget the people that matter, those who sacrificed the most while you built your empire. Reconnecting with them can provide clarity and even spawn new ideas. Your spouse may make a comment that sparks the solution you have been looking for in the business. Obviously the family should be the first option but there can be other ways to get away. Play a round of golf or catch a movie. The point is to hit the reset button once in a while so you don’t begin to resent the business. Amassing wealth with no time to enjoy it is a complete waste.
WHATS’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
Far too often entrepreneurs are working “in” the business as opposed to “on” the business. Sometimes being selfish and taking care of #1 can save your business, your family, and even your life. Constantly find uniques ways to improve your craft and your knowledge of the industry. Exercise can mean the difference between making goals and missing them completely. Saving allows you to worry about one less thing in your business because owning a business brings enough stress. Lastly taking a leave of absence allows you to look from a rare vantage point, the outside looking in, while appreciate the joys of life. Yes, you really need to buy that truck to make more deliveries but your growth matters so much more. #AnOwlInYourCorner