Balancing Business Ownership Through Continued Education
As a business owner, every once in a while it is wise to step back and take a look at the big picture to get some perspective on your life and business. This is not just a bigger picture of your business but how your business fits into your life.
Balancing your business ownership with the rest of your life is important. I know of some small business owners who were so focused on the business that their marriages and other relationships fell apart. Abundance comes in all forms and your business can provide much of that – a purpose, fnancial wealth, etc. Remember, your business should help you accomplish your life goals, not rip apart one or more of them.
What’s important in relationships is quality time. Set aside an hour or two 2-3x per week to totally focus on your mate and/on your children (if you have them). Also, if you have children, let them see what you do. Take them into your office – in the evenings or weekends if doing so during the week would be disruptive.
Try setting aside a couple of hours once a month for close friends or other family members. By focus, I mean you pay attention and enjoy them. You cease the pre-occupation with your business and the ideas you have or the issues you are encountering to focus on the ones you love while you are in their presence. If you are continually distracted, your loved ones will NOT “feel the love”. Make time for your friends, family and yourself. You never know, a friend in a wholly unrelated field may have an insight you never considered. In addition, inspiration comes from many sources.
Continued education is another method of of balancing your business ownership with your life. Regarding your business, if you truly want to build a business that you can sell or leave behind or combination thereof, you should regularly take classes or workshops, attend seminars, read, participate in business roundtables, etc. to make yourself a better business owner. Here are three of my reasons to do so:
1. As someone who also conducts training seminars, I believe strongly in continual education. I have an MBA from the Wharton School of Business but I still have areas that I am weak in. For example, I know I am good in finance, strategy, and operations but weak in sales so I attend seminars and training on how to recruit, manage, and motivate a sales force.
2. I once owned a real estate investment firm but was a little arrogant when I started because I had invested on a small scale before and thought I understood everything. I encountered problems with contractors, inflated appraisals, and realtors. I finally began attending conferences and seminars and quickly realized the mistakes I had been making, many of which I could have avoided through classes.
3. The only way we know how to do something is to smash through it ourselves or learn from others. Continuing education including books (which I now read regularly – 4-6 per month on average) provides insight and methodologies, etc., you may not have considered previously. I generally take classes on a specific business topic but also attend industry conference workshops. Like working out, exercising my mind in new ways is a priority so I always find time. We must allot regular time to work on the business instead of just in the business or the business (or us) will eventually fall apart.
Inspiration comes from many sources. Finally, attending a course where you have a weakness can make you better in that area or at least help you find or manage someone working for you in that area better.
Tiffany C. Wright is President of Toca Family Business Services, a strategic advisory firm that provides interim CEO, COO and CFO services. She is the author of Solving the Financial Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses, available at Amazon.com, and HELP! I Need Money for My Business Now!