Face it – you didn’t start your own business to give up all the things that make life worth living! You had a great idea and/ or wanted to be your own boss.
But you soon found that in your haste to start a business, you were sacrificing many things—your workouts, time with family and friends, and even your health! Yes: starting a company requires hard work. But if it’s going to take over your life (or ruin it?), then maybe entrepreneurship isn’t for you after all.
Strategic planning is a process that all successful companies undertake but rarely do large corporations consider factors outside their own scope. As the owner of a small business, however, you have the flexibility to bring your personal life into this process—and one of its many benefits is that doing so can help you achieve success.
It is here that you can find a balance between business and life. The importance of balance in entrepreneurship can’t be overstated. If you’re not careful, running a company can take over your life and leave little time for anything else. This is especially true if you don’t plan strategically: instead of focusing on what’s best for your business or customers, you may end up making decisions based solely on what’s most convenient or profitable at that moment.
In order to live an authentic life, you must start with your values. Values are the foundation of who we are as individuals and if they’re not being lived out every day—then you will feel like something is off in your own skin. Know what matters most to you in this world and communicate that; it’s important for other people (aka those around us)to know how to treat**you best! Be true first unto yourself
Include your personal values in your strategic plan for the year, so that you don’t forget about them. Your business can only be as strong as its foundation, and that foundation is made up of values.
The values that you choose to live by will be the ones that guide you in all aspects of your life. When you are clear on what matters most, it becomes much easier to make decisions and stick with them. Your business will benefit greatly from this as well—if your employees know what is expected of them, they can perform better and feel more fulfilled in their jobs.
Think about the lifestyle you would like to have. How could you make it a reality? What baby steps can help get you there? What does a successful lifestyle business look like? Take a few minutes to write out what this might mean for you—and keep that image in mind while you put your business plan together.
How can you plan for your business to be successful without sacrificing the lifestyle of your dreams? What are the core values of your business? What will guide your decisions as a business owner? Think about what you want to stand for and how that will affect the lives of your customers.
Think about what your ideal lifestyle would be like and then use that as a basis for defining your business goals. What do you want to accomplish in 5 years? What do you want to accomplish in 10 years? It’s important to have a vision for the future of your business and what it could mean for your life. This is something that will help you stay motivated and focused throughout the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
What do you need to accomplish in the next year in order to feel like you’re headed toward your long-term goal? You can measure this by looking at revenue, profits, the number of customers served or any other standard that works for your company.
I want to increase my revenue by 30 percent in the next 12 months while still working 4-day weeks and keeping my nights free for family. Once you have established your goals, identify ways in which you can achieve them. Brainstorm possible solutions to make it happen.
If you hear or think of an idea, no matter how silly it seems at first glance, write it down. It may turn out to be a winner with further reflection and honing. Give your ideas some time to breathe. Ask yourself: “What would I get if I executed this idea?” and, “What further support does this idea need to be successful (eg: stepped-up marketing, new product, etc)?”
Is this idea consistent with my values and lifestyle goals?” Look at the idea from various viewpoints, as if you were seeing a beautiful stone for the first time—turning it over in your mind again and again.
If you don’t have anyone to talk over your ideas with, get a coach. Listening to yourself is only one of many perspectives that can help you refine your work.
Construct a detailed plan and then implement it. As you execute your strategy, be sure to revisit the original plan often so that any deviations can be immediately corrected. Review your plan every month as if you were reviewing an employee’s performance. Change it along the way to keep you on track, and feel free to revise or alter the course if needed.
So change your mindset and let your imagination create a business that fits perfectly into your life, rather than one that rarely lets you have fun.
Allow yourself to make mistakes. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, then don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Entrepreneurship is about taking risks, so don’t be afraid to try something new or make a mistake—it’s all part of the process.