Many entrepreneurs find their personal and their private lives and their relationships suffer when they jump into business ownership. Can you have a business and a life? You can. It’s all about balance and that is hard to master when you’re just starting out — especially if you’re going it alone.
Balance in all things is necessary to keep your business up and running. You need to work on the business, but you need to take care of yourself. If your health suffers, the business will suffer. It may take time and planning to “have it all” but it can be done!
Can You Have A Business And A Life?
- Keep the drama to a minimum. Yes, there will be drama and a roller coaster feel to any start up. Don’t pull your significant other into it, unless it’s necessary. Yes, you want to share. Yes, you want to ask for help, but don’t drag them onto every piece of the roller coast ride that is entrepreneurship unless they’ve asked to accompany you.
- Find a dedicated space for your work and your business. If you don’t have space in your home for a dedicated office, you need to at least conduct your business where you’re not on the path of every day life. If your kitchen table is your command center during the day but it’s dinner table and homework central at night, you need to pick up your business and move it to a different location when the next “shift” starts.
- Spend time together that has nothing to do with business. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t talk about work. Enjoy each other’s company and keep work at bay.
- Be in the moment. Just as you need to spend time together, you also need to be in the moment when you’re with your significant other and friends and family.
- Keep business and family finances separate. This is likely an IRS rule as well as a good rule of thumb. Don’t drain the family grocery budget because you need printer ink.
- Give yourself a paycheck from the business. You need to feel as though you’re a contributing member of the family and a paycheck will give you faith in your business and to keep moving forward.
- Don’t make major purchases or investments without talking to your significant other about it. If you’re committing to a one year lease on an office or buying a majore piece of equipment even though it’s a business expense, it may impact your home life — talk about it.
It is more than possible to be a successful business owner and have a life. How can we help you cultivate a healthy balance?
Are your employees looking to make a mass exodus because they haven’t gotten a bonus or a raise? Are you struggling to keep them employed and the checks from bouncing and there simply isn’t any money left over for a raise or bonus? How to motivate employees when you don’t have cash is a question that many business owners struggle with.
There are other ways to “thank” employees and recognize them for a job well done even if there isn’t additional cash in the bank account with which to do that. You can use these incentives for staff, vendors and contractors alike.
How To Motivate Employees When You Don’t Have Cash
- A long weekend. If you have an employee — or several employees that go above and beyond, offer them an additional day off to make it a long weekend. Let them choose if they want Friday or Monday and let them enjy a three day weekend.
- Provide flex time options. This may be tricky if you need to cover a store front or phones for a certain number of hours a day, but if you have employees who can work with one another to make it work, offer flex time. Let employees work four ten hour days or come in earlier and leave earlier or come in later and leave later. As long as the business is covered for customer service, this is a very attractive perk.
- “Thank you!” Send a company wide email thanking an employee. Hang a “Thank you” sign in a space where everyone can see. Add details to the “thank you” so the staff knows why their coworker was singled out.
- Let them take time off work to volunteer. If the company or the individual has a pet non profit to which they’d like to give back, offer time to let them do that.
- Let them attend networking or trade events to get new training or the chance to learn a new skill. Alleviate boredom and let them learn a new skill and they may be happier and more satisfied at work.
Plan a company picnic. Have everyone bring a dish to pass and get out of the office for an afternoon. If you have the space outside, invest in a picnic table and let employees eat lunch out of doors as a change of scenery.
What can you do to incentivize employees without spending cash that you simply don’t have?
As an entrepreneur, it is less expensive to keep a current customer than it is to cultivate a new one. How to keep customers coming back is something that both service providers and product sellers need to keep in mind and plan for. Yes, you can count on some organic growth and some clients and customers might stay with you because they’re complacent or they simply dont want to do the work to find someone to replace you — that is not the reason you want to keep a customer.
You want to keep customers coming back because they are delighted with your goods and/or services.
One-off clients and one-off product sales are draining to your mental energy and won’t help you plan for future growth. Cultivate your current customers and look for ways to keep them with you. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Don’t get “bored” with your current customers. Some entrepreneurs love the thrill of the chase and caring for current clients is boring to them and they are always seeking that greener pasture. I recommend keeping current customers as happy as possible.
- What can you do to systemetize processes and onboarding and training your staff to care for clients? Make it seamless for everyone involved.
- Don’t be afraid to have your client work with a staff member. If you can be out there selling to larger clients or taking on more difficult tasks or creating new products and services give your clients to a trusted staff member. Don’t let your ego stop you from delegating.
- Know what sets you apart and let that be your signature product or program. This product or program can be your business’s differentiator.
- Check in with current clients. Don’t assume they think everything is going well just because you haven’t reached out. Stay in touch means staying front of mind and may keep them from hesitating when they pay your current invoice.
- Offer support services. If you can provide add-on services, do so. This may make you a more well-rounded agency and won’t give your clients any reason to have to shop.
- Create new products and services and offer them to current clients as upsells at “loyal customer pricing.”
When is the last time you checked in with your current clients to assure they are still happy?
How often do you get out of the office and meet people face-to-face? Do you attend networking events? Do you find them useful or do you just feel your time would be better spent if you just stayed in the office? What is your business networking strategy? Do you have one? If you don’t, then you probably are spinning your wheels and you should just stay in the office.
If, however, you want to expand your reach and meet new potential referral partners, then you need to get out of the office and talk with people.
What Is Your Business Networking Strategy?
Here are some tips to help you implement a business networking strategy to make meeting new people more effective and efficient.
- WHO will be at the networking event? If you go to an event knowing none of those in attendance are your ideal client, then why would you go? Look for events that may play host to your potential ideal client.
- WHAT do you want to accomplish at the event? Remember, you shouldn’t go to an event thinking “I’m going to sign up clients and make sales today” instead go the meeting thinking, “I am going to meet new people and start building relationships today.”
- WHY do you feel the need to network? Do you want some fresh ideas? Are you looking for a colleague?
When you’re at the networking event make sure you listen more than you talk. Get to know the person in front of you. Don’t just walk around handing out business cards without making a meaningful connection. Ask the person you’re talking with what they hope to get out of the event. Are they looking to build relationships? Are they first timers? Do they have a business that might be a fit for yours and you could become colleagues? You won’t know unless you ask.
Look for networking events in your area and make a list of those that make sense for you to attend. Remember, it may make sense to network outside of your particular niche if you want to grow your client list.
Many individuals will shy away from pursuing a dream of owning their own business because they are afraid of failure and they have heard misinformation. Have you heard these business myths? Are these myths stopping you from the dream of entrepreneurship? We’d love to know!
Have You Heard These Business Myths?
- You’re either born an entrepreneur or you’re not. This is blatantly untrue. Just as you’re not born knowing how to read and write, but you can learn — so too can you learn to be an entrepreneur. Follow individuals whom you admire. Take classes. Find a mentor.
- Half of all businesses fail. Sure, businesses do fail, but I don’t believe it’s at that high a rate.
- You must work 24/7/365. If you’re a believer of this myth you will burn out and health issues will arise from the hours you work. Being an entrepreneur should afford you some flexibility in your work hours. You need to structure the business to accommodate your life, not the other way around.
- Everything is a tax deduction. I suggest you talk with your tax guy and your accountant and an attorney to assure your business entity is correctly established. Know what you’re allowed to “write off” and keep receipts.
- You can operate without a business plan. This is not true. Your business plan is your roadmap to success. It doesn’t need to be a 1,000 page plan, but it needs to be more than a thought in your mind. Write down your mission, your vision, how you will market, what you will offer, your prices, and more.
What business myths are keeping you from your dream of owning a business?