Congratulations! You’ve realized your dream of owning a business and finally have the independence and freedom you envisioned years ago…but wait a second. You now find yourself facing challenges that weren’t exactly part of that original dream. Maybe you’re working 60-hour workweeks, getting emails from customers or clients that constantly distract you from family time, or have vacations where you can never really mentally “get away” because your expertise is needed at work.
Now the real question becomes: “Do you own your business, or does your business own you?”
You don’t have to look too far to distinguish the truly successful businesses from the average ones. Not only are great businesses characterized by their stellar products and services, but also by employer and business leader satisfaction. Furthermore, a business cannot be effective and successful if its owners are overworked and stressed.
The new year is here, so it’s the perfect time to refocus and finally to take your business to the next level. So what exactly makes the truly successful businesses and their owners in Harrisonburg so different from the dozens of average ones who have come and gone in the Friendly City? Here’s five things that successful business owners do differently:
Invest in their employees. Successful business owners understand that their employees are the backbone of their business and are always looking for new ways to invest in them to make the business better. Consider having five-minute daily huddles with your team to prioritize the most important tasks of the day, and devote time for weekly coaching meetings with key employees to promote growth and understanding. These recurring coaching meetings may be the most productive and valuable time of your week and will help to create your strongest team yet.
Develop systems and document processes. Successful businesses owners document everything and find ways to streamline processes. This is imperative if you ever want to have freedom from the repetitive, day-to-day tasks and dedicate more time to thinking strategically and creatively. If you engage and collaborate with your employees in this process, they’ll be empowered and willing to take more ownership of their responsibilities. The choice is clear: either invest time on the front end improving your systems or waste time in the future resolving simple issues.
Work on the business weekly. This is different than working in the business. Successful business owners take time each week to reflect. Business leaders must take a step back – on a regular and scheduled basis – to gain a better perspective so that they can recognize opportunities, threats, and pour into their people and processes. It’s easy to lose track of your own goals and aspirations as your business takes on a life of its own. Staying focused on the things that set you on the path in the first place will help you stay on the right path long term.
Read leadership books. Successful business owners are always digesting a good book. As a leader, you must constantly adapt and improve to keep up with changes in your industry, and good books are an easy way to help keep the iron sharp. Reading daily can be as simple as signing up for Audible or another audiobook service so that you can gain valuable knowledge during your commute, making the most of your drive time. Consider reading Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth Revisited” from our recommended reading list to learn common myths about starting your own business and learn how to grow it in a predictable and productive way.
Take time to recharge. Your employees and family depend on you and you’re not doing your business or your family any favors by consistently putting in 60-70 hours of work every week. If you don’t take time to recharge and reset, your health, your business, and your relationships will suffer. You need adequate sleep, plenty of time to “play,” and opportunities to get away from the office to rest so that you can be your best self.
There’s no doubt that your employees and your family depend on you and on your business. You’re working hard for your family and for your employees to meet their needs. The plan for your future should work just as hard as you do.