Friends, Family and Business: Is It Possible To Balance?

Owning a small business is like a juggling act. You may have several balls in the air at one time, but if you lose your focus, just for a second, it can disrupt or entirely halt your “act”. Between friends, family and your business, it is important to note how to make all of these function simultaneously. All of these areas of life are important, and a good schedule and commitment to balance are key.

familyIf you feel that your juggling act could careen out of control at any moment, consider some of the following suggestions to implement better balance in all areas of life:

  1. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Need to make three important calls today? Schedule them. Need to call mom to make plans for vacation? Pencil in 20 minutes during your lunch hour to eat and chat. Busyness should never override the most important relationships in your life, and having an airtight schedule can help you do this.
  2. Focus on one thing at a time. Most people cannot truly, effectively multitask. You may find that your productivity increases dramatically when you are only focused on one task at a time. In turn, this opens other “blank space” in your calendar that can be filled with time with loved ones.
  3. Practice self-care. You are worth caring for, even in the busiest of seasons. Schedule time, however brief it may be, to do something that helps you reset and refresh. Even a 20 minute walk during lunch can have vast benefits for your mental and emotional well-being. Find what works for you and put it into practice.
  4. Forgive yourself. You are not perfect, and chances are, at some point, you will drop a ball, miss a meeting or forget something important. When this happens, be gracious with yourself and move on.

Time is valuable and family and loved ones are priceless. Your business goals should never be accomplished at the expense of the relationships that truly make life worthwhile. Be consistent, forgive yourself where you fall short and set realistic expectations—you may be in a season where life is one continual juggling act, but you have the ability to do it well.

Why You Need A Business Mentor–Even If You Think You Don’t


Mentors can be beneficial for everyone, no matter where they are in life. While mentors are often used as a sounding board and source of information for personal growth and development, many entrepreneurs are finding that they can also benefit from a business mentor. In fact, many business experts would say that having a business mentor is critical, especially in the early days of operations.

mentorBesides having experience with business matters, a mentor should be older, wiser and more experienced than the person seeking his or her help. Mentors act as a sort of sounding board, like a counselor or guide. From marketing decisions to difficult personnel situations, having an ally with whom you can fully discuss these matters is beneficial in that he or she can provide you a wise, outside perspective on whatever business-related matters arise. Mentors are supposed to have more experience that you have, which allows you to gain wisdom from what they have been through, both the good and the bad.

mentorYou never know when one conversation, one piece of advice or one suggestion could change the course of your business and, ultimately, your life. All small business owners should have mentors, someone who is not their mother and someone who will add value to their experience as entrepreneurs. Make sure that the input you are receiving is from a knowledgeable and trusted source, and if you are not receiving any input or guidance from a mentor, maybe you should be.

The Daunting Task Of Making Hard Decisions


Life is full of unpleasant and difficult decisions, especially when these decisions will affect other people in a real and tangible way. For you, making a decision may mean firing an employee or other such unpleasant task that is not only unpopular, but is also very difficult to actually execute. When faced with such a task, it is tempting to get it over with as fast as possible, but in many situations, “ripping the Band-Aid off” is not the ideal approach. When doing something difficult or unpopular, it is important to do it the right way.

Here are a few tips that may make doing a difficult thing or making a tough decision a little easier:

  1. decisionBe honest. Above all else tell the truth. People will respect you more if they can trust what comes out of your mouth. Don’t give false hope where there is none and always speak truthfully, but with tact, when asked your opinion. Truth–it’s the best way to navigate a tough situation.
  2. decisionBe fair. If this decision will cause another person pain or inconvenience, respect the fact that their feelings toward you may be less than pleasant. Being fair also requires you to honestly evaluate all possible options and provide the least-painful solution. Treat others fairly and equitably, especially when you hold a position of power. Pay people their dues when they have been honestly earned.
  3. Be smart. Often times, there are multiple solutions to a single problem. Life is rarely black and white, and, sometimes, additional consideration may reveal that an alternative is beneficial and practical. It’s okay to ask for counsel from a trusted source–an outside perspective may just save you from unnecessary hurt and complications.
  4. decisionBe ready. There are a few decisions that are simply unpopular, even if critically necessary. Be ready to deal with the aftermath gracefully and patiently, all while holding your ground. Being kind and compassionate does not mean that you have to compromise. Be strong, be firm, but be gracious.

If you own a business or manage a company, chances are at some point you will have to make a decision that is less than popular. Doing the right thing may require walking some difficult terrain, but, unfortunately, this sometimes comes with the territory of entrepreneurship. If you prepare yourself for this eventuality, you will be ready to walk through these times with confidence. Having confidence, thick skin and kindness represents the formula for handling difficult tasks in the right way.

Free Yourself From The Comparison Trap


Do you ever feel like you are behind, struggling to catch up, and not as successful as your contemporaries? It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, especially when you weigh your success against that of others. For entrepreneurs riding the small business train, it’s tempting to glance at the competition and wonder why they are doing it better, faster or more profitably.

comparisonIn many cases, comparison is a poor lens through which to view reality. Our views of ourselves and others is often grossly distorted when we begin to compare positives and negatives. If you can truly only control yourself, what is the point of wasting time and energy worrying about others? Comparison is not only a thief of joy, it is a thief of time, energy and other valuable resources.

Instead of comparing your journey to that of those around you, focus on what you have already accomplished. You have already had successes, made positive impacts and improved yourself by choosing the path of entrepreneurship. Give yourself credit for what you have already done, keep your chin up and focus on the future. Set yourself free from the comparison trap—you are doing just fine.