President Obama has officially proclaimed May 15 – May 21, 2011 as National Small Business Week. Here are three ideas for celebrating – two for small business owners and one for their customers.
Schedule Your Free Time First
Small businesses start with an idea that is fueled by a passion for doing something well for a specific community. Even if you are not the founder of your small business, when you took the reigns you did so with thoughts of making your mark.
That passion is lost when the business begins to own you, instead of the other way around. It's easy to fall into this trap, and I'm one that is just as guilty as the rest of you. Take some time off – and do this regularly.
When I was in The Strategic Coach program we learned Dan Sullivan's Entrepreneurial Time System. It's very simple and it works.
Free Days – Every quarter you schedule your free days first – those days when you do no work and enjoy activities that energize you. That's where you start.
Focus Days – After that you schedule your work into two additional types of days – focus days and buffer days. Focus days are those when you are intensely focused on what you do best – your highest value, revenue generating activities.
Buffer Days – This leaves the remaining days to prepare for focus days.
Pretty simple system that works wonders for keeping you as fresh and passionate about your business as the day you started it.
Appreciate Your Team
I just returned from consulting with a client whose present challenge is finding skilled professionals that share his vision and core values. This indeed is the challenge of every business, though one that has greater impact on small businesses where the ranks are thin.
In looking back on my 20 years as a landscape contractor I had a lot of talented people that gave me their best. While I tried to thank them as often as possible, I'm pretty sure I could have done more – and so can you.
I've also worked for 10 years in a corporate environment and I can tell you that working for a small business usually demands a lot more – namely because the support systems are not there. Everyone is expected to do more with less.
So, take a moment to thank your staff – with the goal being to do so every day.
Thank The Owners of Small Businesses You Patronize
Life can be messy and the same goes for business. Nobody feels the pain of things going wrong more than the owner of the small business. They are accountable for it all – the well being of customers, employees, and a number of others in their communities that depend upon their success.
If you have the time to make a personal visit to shake the hand of your favorite small business owner and thank them for their service, you now have a reason thanks to National Small Business Week. If that isn't possible, just send a short, hand-written note.
You will have just reignited that spark that makes being a small business owner worthwhile.
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Until tomorrow, Jeff
Photo Credit: jmacphoto.com