A successful entrepreneur notices that small business lessons are everywhere.
Are you seeing glimpses of spring? It is still a little too early to start seeing signs of spring here in Alberta, Canada but our family recently returned from a holiday in England … and I am definitely missing the signs of spring that were popping up already. Daffodils blooming … tulips starting to peek out … and even the vibrant greens that we don’t see here in Alberta. It was hard to return back home to a snowstorm after being immersed in these signs of spring everywhere.
This will be a shorter article as I am still adjusting back into our daily routine and getting back into client work. Today, I am sharing three small business lessons I learnt from my holiday – lessons that we can all apply to our businesses.
3 Lessons For Every Small Business Owner:
1. Don’t be afraid to pivot
It was March 2020, and excitement was rising as we were only three weeks away from our planned trip to England to visit my brother and his family, along with my parents. It had been over a year since we had all been together, and my brother had not yet met his nephew and birthday twin. To-do lists were getting completed, and plans for our time there were getting made. The excitement was mounting!
And then came the unexpected news … the world was shutting down. Everything came to a screeching halt. Our flights were cancelled with no idea of when we would be able to re-book. There were huge emotions of disappointment, sadness and uncertainty. All the emotions that I know most people were feeling at that time when plans were cancelled and the future seemed uncertain.
Fast-forward to the present day, and it is almost 2 years to the day. Restrictions are being lifted (or have been) and life is beginning to feel a little more ‘normal’. Maybe a different ‘normal’ than what we knew before the pandemic, but still ‘normal’ enough. It was time for us to take that holiday we had planned and dreamt of two years earlier, and it was what we all needed.
Just as our lives took a pivot two years ago, as entrepreneurs, coaches and course creators, we need to be constantly ready to pivot our businesses. To be successful business owners, we have to be willing to pivot – to make a shift or turn in a new or different direction. Pivots are changes in direction based on a new target marketing, change in the products or services we offer, or in your business plan to adapt to changing circumstances. Don’t be afraid to pivot if your current direction isn’t bringing success to your business.
2. It is not selfish to prioritize yourself
For anyone who has flown, you are familiar with the safety instructions for putting on the oxygen mask:
“…place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping small children or others who may need your assistance.”
Why are we told to put our own oxygen mask on first? Because if we run out of oxygen, we can’t help anyone else. Simply put: if we die, we can’t help anyone else.
This is an important concept when it comes to running your business as well. Whether you are a coach, course creator, therapist, private practice owner … any type of service-based business … you need to prioritize yourself and your self-care. Taking care of others can easily become exhausting if you aren’t prioritizing your own care. If you don’t take care of yourself by setting boundaries, prioritizing times to renew and rejuvenate, and living a healthy, balanced life, you can so quickly become burnt-out, stressed, fatigued, tired, etc.
I believe that taking the time to invest in yourself is even more-so important today. Start with something small – block 15 minutes to do something that gives you joy. Go ahead. I give you permission to stop reading and do that right now if you need to. 😀
3. Schedule in time to unplug
One of the best things that happened to me during on our holiday was that I was able to unplug from work. I have an amazing team member that kept everything going while I was away, and although I was only an email away, I was able to step away from the business knowing that everything was being looked after. It was a huge relief, and just what I needed. To put down my business owner hat, to unplug and to be fully present during our time away.
There is evidence that shows the benefits to unplugging from your work and your business include better sleep, a better quality of life and better interpersonal communication. If it is not feasible for you to take extended time off in the near future, I highly encourage you to try to unplug from your phone and for your email for, at minimum, a few hours but preferably even a full day each weekend. Give yourself permission to spend more time presently with family and friends, to be creative and to do other things that you enjoy.
According to Talkspace therapist Reshawna Chapple, “unplugging reduces stress. Both your brain and your body need to recover from the intake of external stimuli. It helps you to physically feel better and make you less anxious.” This sounds like a great benefit to me. 😀
I know that it isn’t easy, or necessarily feasible, for everyone to take some time off. However, I do encourage you to look at your business and your schedule to see if you need to pivot, prioritize yourself, or schedule in time to unplug. This is one of the most valuable small business lessons you can implement for business as well as personal growth.