Entrepreneurs are some of the most grit-filled, passionate, inspiring people we’ve ever met in our lives. Statistics also show that they’re some of the most stressed out people in society as well. According to a recent study featured in USA Today, roughly 20% of small businesses make it out of the first year still standing. With the pressure of being successful, adapting to changing markets, the livelihoods of your employees, not to mention having your own personal life, it’s easy to see why business owners can succumb to stress.
However, being a bleary-eyed, burned out person doesn’t have to be the destiny of a business owner! You became your own boss to provide yourself with freedom, not increased stress and anxiety. Your business, your employees, and your family will only thrive if they get the best version of you and the only way to do that is to invest in yourself regularly. Instead of looking for the next great service, marketing tactic, or product that will revolutionize your business, consider these tips to make a difference in your business.
Get a focused hobby and exercise routine. While it’s not a new revelation that taking time to exercise makes you healthier and happier, studies are increasingly showing what types of exercise can help improve your professional life too. While we’re certainly big fans of investing in hobbies that compliment your career, some of the most successful leaders make it a point to have an activity that completely takes them away from the office. The cofounder of PayPal, Max Levchin, recently extolled the benefits of his cycling by saying “When I’m on my bike, it’s a fairly long period of time where I’m forced not to think about work. In my case, that’s actually a hard thing to do. Even if I have some kind of work crisis, I just get on my bike first thing in the morning, and for at least 90 minutes, I don’t spend much time thinking, which is good, because by the time I get to the office, I have a fresh point of view.” In a similar way, it was recently discovered that the Dutch King Wilhelm-Alexander has actually spent the last 21 years as a co-pilot with the commercial airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. "You can't take your problems with you off the ground. You can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else," he said in an interview.
Consider investing in an activity that exercises your body or mind in a way that still enables you to grow, but in a way that disengages from your daily problems. You’ll be amazed at the way it will improve your career.
Find Creative Ways to Say Thank You To Clients. We love the old saying about a turtle and a fencepost. The old saying goes, “If you’re walking along and see a turtle on a fencepost, you know one thing for sure- it didn’t get there by itself!” Being a leader in a business or organization is a tremendous honor that requires a significant amount of internal discipline. However, having an attitude of gratitude is a pivotal trait for successful entrepreneurs to embrace. Consider the different people that have played a role in your success and how you can make sure that they know you appreciate them.
When is the last time you picked up the phone and called your most valuable clients just to say you appreciate the opportunity of working with them? Even better- go the extra mile to show your appreciation. Highlight their growth or a milestone on your blog. Ask for their advice on something (and really listen). Send breakfast to their office on Administrative Assistant’s Day. Whatever you do, take a step out of the ordinary and sincerely let your most valuable clients know how much they have meant to the success of your business.
Quit Complaining. Is it really that simple? Sometimes, yes, it is. In Jon Gordon’s book The No Complaining Rule, he compares complaining to a hidden cancer in your business that spreads undetected and can destroy every part of the body. Complaining might seem like a small detail and easy to ignore, but left unchecked, it can spread across departments and infect the very culture of a company. Employees will resent leadership no matter the success of the business and leadership will return employees’ best efforts with complaints that they either could have done more or that they were just doing what they should have been doing all along. Take Jon Gordon’s advice- choose to confront complaints rather than let them fester. Use customer complaints as a source of learning. Choose to listen to your employees’ complaints to see if you have a process failure, an opportunity to improve systems, or if you’ve got the wrong personnel fit. Most importantly, make sure that your leadership reflects that type of culture that you want to be embodied across your business. Attitude reflects leadership, and you team’s attitude will be reflected in the success of your business.