Does your business serve you or are you serving your business?
Finding that answer is as easy as answering the following question: When is the last time you did something that was totally and completely all about being good to and pampering yourself? If the exact particulars of date, time, activity, and people involved have not already sprung to mind as you read this, then its been way too long.
Do you fit into this category? If so, did you go into business expecting freedom from the restraints of a traditional job only to find yourself trapped by the many demands of owning and operating your own concern? By now, youve probably discovered that your product or service is almost an afterthought compared to the many tasks and processes required to keep a business up and running. Far too many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of being slaves to the businesses that should be serving their wants and needs. This leads to burnout, a variety of attempts to cope, and possibly even failure.
A long time ago, I learned a very simple lesson: No one on this planet is so important that the world cant get by just fine without them for a little while. Same goes for your business. Whether you believe it or not, you can step away for a little while and things will keep humming merrily along. So what are you waiting for?
As soon as possible (certainly within the next two weeks), I urge you to leave your business and do something to pamper yourself. It could be as easy as going for a hike or watching a sunset. It could be as involved as getting a complete spa treatment or a night on the town. You decide. The only criteria you need to meet is that whatever you do must be completely and totally about you and no one else.
Try to relax fully into the experience once it occurs instead of worrying about the many things that might (but probably arent) going wrong in your absence. Do that and youll emerge with your batteries recharged and ready to go back to work. The trick is to do this as regularly as possible to keep your stress level down and to create a strong mental association between your business and being good to yourself. You created this business. Shouldnt it be good to and for you?
What does any of this have to do with marketing?
One word: Energy
A stressed-out boss spreads that stress to her or his employees and creates a tense vibe that permeates the entire business. Customers experience this vibe the moment they walk in the door and get a double dose when they encounter your employees and receive curt and/or inattentive treatment. I once stepped into a restaurant where it was clear the owners had been arguing only moments before. The tension was so thick as I ate that I never returned. Did the owners stress levels affect their bottom line? You bet.
If time management is your issue, my previous column has some quick tips to help you start getting a handle on your time and there are plenty of great resources out there. If youre worried that less time in your business means less profits, I know at least one person who is on track to triple her profits while cutting 15 hours per week off her schedule.
If cash flow is your issue, there are many things you may be able to do to boost your profits immediately. Ill be writing a future column about pricing. Beyond pricing, you may be able to reduce expenditures in various ways by increasing efficiency and/or closing down unprofitable parts of your business.
If a strong sense of duty is your issue, well, yes, you must give your business the attention it deserves. The flip side of that is that your business can only be as healthy and vibrant as you are. If there is something wrong with your business, the mirror is usually a good place to start looking. Never forget that your prime duty and responsibility is to yourself for without yourself, you have and are nothing at all.
Be good to yourself and your business will be good to you. Just as importantly, it will be good to your customers, who will be far more likely to visit you again in the future.
So how are you going to pamper yourself this week?