So you’ve just become mama to a brand new business baby. Congratulations! That’s fantastic and exciting news, and no doubt it takes a lot of time to grow it into a walking, talking and fully functioning business. Balancing work and play with your new baby can be a real challenge, and just like human babies can leave us feeling tired, and forgetting the world around us, your business baby can do the same thing. Here we share 6 top tips to help you cope with your ‘business baby brain’:
1. Don’t Forget your Friends
Getting your business up and running smoothly will require a lot of help and support from your friends, so don’t forget about them. You’ll lose hours working on content, getting the design elements just right, or dealing with customers, and it will be easy for things to slip your mind. Try not to let important friendships slide though. True friends will understand when you are under pressure, but it’s important that when you can, you do make time for them.
The business baby stage can be one of the loneliest periods we go through, having to miss family time, holidays or events. Try to keep perspective though, because you’ll want your friends to be excited and celebrate the wins, or offer support when you need it. Involve them in at least part of the journey so they don’t feel totally left out.
The ancient Greeks believe that a man remains immortal, so long as his friends remember him. Try to keep this in mind before deciding which events to skip out on, and think about how you’d feel if you were on the receiving end of a potential rejection or no show.
2. Don’t Make it all about you
Your business may be super important and exciting for you right now, and that’s great, but it doesn’t have to be that way for everyone else in your life. Don’t make it all about you and your business, and be prepared to ask about what’s going on in everyone else’s lives when you go out.
3. Ignoring the need to switch off
For a lesson in the importance of switching off, read ‘Thrive’ by Huffing ton Post founder Arianna Huffington. This book covers all the detailed reasons why lack of sleep and addiction to our smartphones and tablets play havoc on our bodies. It also creates an isolated family dynamic at home where there isn’t enough quality time spent together.
Not only is it clear from the science examined in Thrive that our brains need sleep to learn, to process and memorize information and form new neural pathways, missing out on sleep and rest time affects all areas of life, and inhibits growth in younger people. Sleeplessness kills our creativity, leads to clumsiness and mistakes we make while working tired, and is responsible for different problems from anxiety and depression to overeating, weight gain and low libido.
Get enough proper sleep by making sure you shut down all technology and screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and don’t take any devices into the bedroom. If you have trouble following this advice a doctor or sleep psychologist might also be able to help.
Let others know your working hours and manage expectations; they’ll start contacting you when they know you’re available or wait before chasing you up. This truly works if you stick to it.
4. Don’t Refuse to Ask for Help
Every person has what’s called a ‘zone of genius’ where they are better than average at what they’re doing, so far more effective. If you spend too much time working outside your zone of genius you will slow down your progress, and probably be resenting it. You’ll also make those around you feel like they’re part of a sinking ship.
What’s the solution? Figure out the things you enjoy doing and are good at, and look around for cheap and effective help to do the rest. Learn how to delegate and outsource effectively and watch your business baby thrive.
5. Don’t Ignore sound advice From others
No matter what industry you’re in, there are plenty of others who have been in the game long enough to give you helpful advice, if you want to go down the same path, but they have to know you’ll take it on board. Surround yourself with people who have succeeded and are willing to share their experience of failure as well as success, while encouraging you to take your own calculated risks. It’s important to do your own proper research and analysis of others’ success, and go with your own intuition if you really feel a strong pull towards a particular path.
6. Don’t get so Caught up in ideas
A lot of entrepreneurs are full of ideas, and can easily become addicted to identifying the next ‘big thing’. Each ‘big thing’ takes a lot of dedicated work once you’ve had an idea though, so you need to have staying power and a concrete plan of action too. Going from one idea to the next can be a long road to nowhere if you have no way to hone in on one or two key things and build a team to take them further.
New ideas should propel your business forward, not distract you from the day-to-day running of your business. Make sure you have a way to analyse each idea for its potential, and understand what you can act on first, breaking down the steps so that they are manageable.
Ideas that sound great to you might not appear that way to others, too. It’s essential to have a way to vet ideas with relevant parties, whether they might be potential customers, a mentor, networking groups, investors or advisers. Every idea will need to be developed and have a clear path forward if it’s going to be successful.
As a business owner you’ll need to have your eye on the prize at all times. That means remembering your bigger ‘why’ that got you started in the first place, to motivate you through the really tough challenges. For many it’s about having and enjoying freedom – whether it’s more free time, or location freedom. It can also be about family, or making a change for the better in the world before you leave it.
You need to have a clear idea of your ‘why’ and keep your mental health in balance when life gets hectic, as it surely will. There’s a lot of support online for entrepreneurs these days, and there are growing numbers of new business ‘mamas’ out there, so remember you’re not alone, even if it feels that way sometimes.
When others see your passion, dedication and enthusiasm they are sure to want to be involved and follow your story. This list has hopefully given you some pointers on how to do that. It might not be possible to do everything all the time, but hopefully you can manage a reasonable base line now that you know the things to look out for and stay on top of.
- Understand well who you’re in business to serve
However juicy your peaches might be, there will always be the customer who simply doesn’t like peaches, or so the old saying goes. In this world of more than 7 billion people there will always be some who you can’t serve. Don’t focus on them too long or you’ll lose your connection with your ideal customer, and that’s never easy to win back.
It’s important to take all customer feedback on board, but action taken or changes made should be in line with your core values, mission statement and customer service objectives at all times.
- Letting what you like dictate what your customer will like
Your personal opinion has to remain just that, personal, when it comes to business. A new product or service will need to resonate with your target market before they’ll buy, so make sure that it isn’t just you who thinks that something is a good idea.
- Stopping the search for incremental product market fit
As your target market grows and develops, so should your products and your strategy. It’s important to have a good handle on what people in your target market are buying, and how they are behaving at all times. Failing to do this can really do damage.
A business that can survive in any environment is one that can respond to what its customers are doing in a bigger picture level. If you’re in retail this might mean going online, and if you are in food, it might mean keeping up with the latest diet trends and having your own response to consumer behavior ready.
A classic example of this is how the traditional newspapers weren’t ready for the explosion in online e-zines, blogs and social media outlets that would let users publish their own content, curate it and comment on it. Don’t go the way of the Dinosaur and stay nimble!
Author Bio: Luscheyne Mellon is co-founder of Veromo.com, an Australian startup that offers business setup and registration services.