September 04, 2017

How to Grow as a Business Owner During Self-Improvement Month

Being a better, more productive chief can aid you in solving problems, staying creative and ultimately helping your business grow. If you have been neglecting yourself, Self-Improvement Month may be a chance to turn the lens inward and see how you can invest in yourself—and by extension, your business. For Self-Improvement Month this September, try the following tips for business owners to manage stress, feel better and work more effectively.

7 Tips in Honor of Self-Improvement Month

1. Focus Less So You Can Do More

While staying on task may help small business owners get through towering lists of responsibilities, recent research compiled by Harvard Business Review found that excessive focus may short-circuit your brain, costing you in creative thinking, self-awareness and sound decision-making. The best advice for entrepreneurs hitting a mental wall may be to give their brain a rest. Try taking a nap, or switching temporarily to a less taxing activity.

2. Find Work-Life Balance

Most business owners deserve a vacation, but are hesitant to take one! According to a survey by Sam’s club, almost 50 percent of business owners either take days off during major holidays, or don’t take any vacation time off at all. Stepping away from your business may feel like neglect, but trying to juggle work and private life can add more stress to your plate – and is often a fool’s errand. Rather than trying to do everything, narrow your to-do list to the tasks that would be the most effective use of your time. And when you’re away, be away. Step away from checking email, and be present with the people you are spending leisure time with. You may be surprised by the perspective and renewed energy you’ll bring to your business when you return.

3. Mind Your Health

The first thing entrepreneurs often sacrifice is their own wellbeing. Yet burning the candle at both ends hurts more than just your body. The more you take care of yourself, the more you can give to your company. Eating healthier and staying physically fit can pay off in better memory and sharper focus, leading to more productivity. Given the stress of owning a small business, paying attention to mental health is especially vital for leaders. Entrepreneurs are often painted as lone wolves, determined to muscle their way through any problem. Learn to ask for help when you need it, and never ignore feelings of depression or anxiety.

4. Set Workout Goals to Achieve Business Ones

Did you know that consistent physical exercise can help you become better at setting and achieving your goals? One explanation may be that discipline is a skill required to both run a business, and stick to a grueling workout routine. In addition to the physical and mental health benefits, incorporating exercise into your schedule can help you develop the mental muscle and endurance to stay on track with your objectives. Success also begets success. Create a positive feedback loop of setting and meeting your goals in both your work and personal life.

5. Change Your Body’s Response to Stress

Stress is inevitable for business owners, and advice for entrepreneurs often include tips for minimizing it. Yet what if you could use the body’s biological reactions to stress can help you manage, and even harness that pressure? In her 2013 TED talk, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains how changing how you view stress can actually help you lower anxiety, improve relationships and feel more confident.

6. Communicate More Effectively

As the primary champion of their businesses, communication skills are vital to entrepreneurs who must convey the company’s mission to customers, employees, investors, stakeholders and the public. This may include public speaking and networking, but also often neglected areas like writing, listening and social media. Developing emotional intelligence, participating in events for Toastmasters International and studying other great leaders are all ways to get better at connecting with your audience, wherever they are.

7. Manage Your Time Better

In a study on why startups fail by Statistic Brain, the fourth leading management mistake is “entrepreneur gets worn-out and/or underestimated the time requirements.” Time is a precious commodity for business owners, yet often wasted by procrastination, inefficient processes and disorganization. For Self-Improvement Month, try streamlining one aspect of your daily routine, like minimizing the time you spend checking email. Set firm deadlines for projects, and try spacing out events in your calendar to avoid playing catch-up with your schedule. Other time management tips for business owners include prioritizing your to-do list and learning to delegate.