No matter what kind of business you have, where it’s located or the size of it, running a business isn’t quite a cakewalk. Whether you’re in business alone or juggling between life & work, you constantly have to manage a dozen or more responsibilities that lay on your shoulders each and every day.
Some days, more than others, you might feel like you’re about to crumble under the pressure, which raises a totally valid worry for a lot of business owners. At some point, you may have even had the thought of:
‘Am I losing the passion, the love or the joy for my business?’ cross your mind…
I feel you. It’s heart wrenching, confusing and frustrating.
But here’s the thing… it doesn’t have to be that way.
Why? Because I used to feel the exact same way. I have felt disconnected and like my passion was completely gone. I was close to giving up. So I would like to share with you some powerful business and life tips that I and some of the most successful people around the world apply to stay connected to our mission, vision and passion for our business.
Because let’s be honest, what’s the purpose of running your own business if you don’t enjoy it?
Like any relationship, your relationship with your business needs to be nurtured and cultivated if you want the drive and passion to last.
So here are my ‘10 Simple Tips’ for you to stay connected with your business so that you can make those important business decisions with intention, clarity and confidence.
Tip 1: Reconnect with WHY you started your business in the first place
As James Clear so wisely said: ‘With a big enough WHY, you can overcome any HOW’. This means that when your business’ vision deeply inspires you, it will generate enough drive and willpower within you to overcome any challenges or obstacles that come your way.
Many business owners are more often focused on their daily to-do lists and the tasks at hand, and this can lead them to forget about the bigger picture as to why they started their business in the first place. You see, the success of a business isn’t exclusively measured by its revenue number. You can work yourself to the bone, make a lot of money, and still feel miserable from the inside.
Make sure you cultivate the driving force in you, day in and day out. You will not only inspire yourself, but everyone else in your business along the way.
Why did you start in the first place?
What difference do you want to make as a result?
What will that allow you to experience more of?
What will progressing towards that vision will give you?
Tip 2: Know your values
To feel fulfilled in your business and in your personal life, you need to live your values day in and day out. Knowing your values will allow you to set goals that are aligned with what matters to you, increase your ability to make aligned decisions, it will result in feeling more confident, focused and excited, and ultimately increase your business results.
What are values exactly?
They are the emotional state you want to experience on a regular basis. In other words they are what’s important to you. Your emotional compass. Your guiding principles. And best of all, you don’t choose them, they choose you. You will find them if you look where you spend most of your time, money and energy. They are feelings or intangible experiences that come naturally to you and that you don’t need to be prompted to live.
For instance, my three top values are:
So I’d like to invite you to find out what your top 3 values are, and make sure you live them day in and day out. Not just when it’s easy and convenient.
Tip 3: Seek to understand before seeking to be understood
People really don’t listen.
They are just either not quite interested in what you’re saying, or they are too focused on their own agenda. That’s the nature of human beings. We want to be heard, understood and appreciated!
So in order to get your point across, you must first listen and seek to really understand where the other person is coming from, then validate their view. It doesn’t mean that you agree with them, only that you genuinely want to understand where they’re coming from.
In short, show open-mindedness and empathy.
You’ll then see something interesting happen: once they feel heard and understood, they instantly become more open to what you have to say. So listen to them, validate them, and then make your point heard.
Tip 4: Fill your cup up before taking from it
Running your own business is emotionally and physically draining because you’re constantly taking energy out of your mind and body. Like with a car, you need to put fuel in the tank before you can drive it. If you don’t, the car stops functioning until you give it the fuel it needs.
Human beings are the same. We need to fill our energy up first if we want our engine to function properly, sustainably and smoothly.
Some of the habits that give you more energy include:
- Eating healthy: Less junk food and a balanced diet will impact your energy and productivity immensely.
- Sleeping well: Getting an optimal amount of sleep will boost your mood and improve your ability to focus
- Exercising: Working out and consistent daily movement makes you more alert and provides a great energy boost
Tip 5: Learn to plan before implementing
‘Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail’ – Benjamin Franklin.
Having a business that is predictable, manageable, and enjoyable takes preparation and organisation. So do not skip that part, it is CRUCIAL for your success and peace of mind!
Plan each day in advance using the Important/Urgent Matrix:
- Not Urgent/Important (Plan)
Plan each day around your most important tasks that will propel you toward achieving your goals. Highest priority projects and deadlines with the greatest value.
- Relationship building
- Greatest value projects
- Planning, goal setting
- Urgent/Important (Do)
Then work towards the tasks that contribute to less important goals but are urgent.
- Short deadline projects
- Last-minute demands
- Urgent/Not Important (Delegate)
These activities are usually routine or maintenance tasks that do not directly contribute to your goals.
- Some emails and some reports
- Some meetings
- Non-urgent/Not Important (Eliminate)
They are the time wasters that take you away from working toward high return activities and your goals.
- Some emails
- Some phone calls
- Pleasant activities
Tip 6: Obsess delivering WOW to your clients/customers (focus on value instead of revenue)
Focus on delivering value, be passionate and obsessed about the quality of the value you add to your customers/clients’ life.
Because the more generous you are with your customers, the more you build trust. And once your market trusts you, your reputation grows very fast.
So define what your benchmarks of excellence are in whatever product or service you sell, and then deliver on these benchmarks no matter what.
Tip 7: Use the 20/80 rule
This rule is the principle that 20% of what you do results in 80% of your outcomes. This also means that 80% of your outcomes result from only 20% of your inputs. Also known as the Pareto principle, the 20-80 rule is a timeless framework that’s all about focus. Because so much of your output is determined by a relatively small amount of what you do each day, focusing on the most productive tasks will result in greater output.
STEP 1: Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?”
STEP 2: When you set goals, first take a piece of paper and write down 10 goals. Then ask yourself: If you could only accomplish one of the goals on that list today, which one goal would have the greatest positive impact on your business?
STEP 3: Then pick the second most important goal. What you’ll find is, after you complete this exercise, you will have determined the most important 20 percent of your goals that will help you more than anything else.
You should continue to work at the goals that you’ve chosen as the most valuable all the time.
Tip 8: Set healthy boundaries
Boundaries are something that affects all our relationships. They help us stay aligned with our business vision, mission and purpose, and make sure we spend our time on our most important priorities.
They are vital to maintaining a healthy profitable business.
Here are some signs of poor boundaries:
- We compromise on what’s most important to us and the business
- We say “yes” to too much and end up having an endless to do list
- We let our customers or team members walk over us
- We feel increasingly resentful of others for their demands
- We feel tired, overwhelmed, exhausted and rarely have time for yourself
So what are boundaries?
They are points at which others can’t go further. They represent the love, care and self-respect you have for yourself. They also imply that that love, care and respect you show others, you expect to be reciprocated to you.
To set healthy boundaries, I invite you to use my 4-Step Boundary-Setting Process. I’ll endeavor to illustrate this process through an example:
- What’s okay
‘It’s okay for you to feel frustrated and angry in this conversation.’
- What’s not okay + how I feel about it
‘What’s not okay is yelling to make your voice heard. It doesn’t help me hear you better, and I feel very uncomfortable by it.’
- Guidance towards an alternative way
‘Can we please ensure a safe space for both of us to address this issue?’
If the person continues yelling…
- Warning to let them know what action I’ll be taking to ensure my boundary will not be crossed again
‘If you keep yelling, I will leave the conversation’.
Tip 9: Embrace your emotions
Can you remember a time when you received some feedback you didn’t like and immediately went into defense mode? Or maybe a time when you were triggered by an employee’s behaviour and you lashed out, causing a rift in the trusting relationship you’ve been working so hard to build?
Welcome to being human.
Emotions are okay, and if we don’t want them to control us, we need to acknowledge and embrace them. Like children who need and demand our attention, your emotions work the same. They need and demand your acknowledgment.
- Reflect: How are you feeling in the face of the other person’s behaviour/words? Disrespected, frustrated, stressed, insecure, pressured?
Notice this feeling and welcome it. Don’t try to push it down or to act on it. Just notice it and let it be.
- Don’t assume: find out where the other person is coming from. What they’re telling you is a reflection of what’s going on for them, it is NOT about you.
Your triggers are nobody’s responsibility but yours. Do not to take them onto others and instead, tame them. Get curious, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about you, what makes you tick and what makes you cringe.
Tip 10: Build a strong support system – Ask for help
Too many of us have been conditioned to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. We should be able to figure our own sh*t out, be independent and not relying on anyone after all, right?
This is wrong. How could we possibly be expected to have all the answers, in all areas of life, at all times?
This sounds more to me like someone who has magic powers than a human being… In fact, it is pretty unfair to be willing to place that kind of expectation on anybody, including YOU. The most successful businesses in the world recognise how little they know and how much room they have for growth. This takes maturity, humility, and wisdom to come to such a realisation.
Those businesses have a team of ‘trusted advisors’ who help them navigate through the turbulent business journey.