Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

April 2016

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As entrepreneurs lucky enough to find the time, we measure stuff in our business.

We measure website visits, conversion rates, open rates, profit and loss…and for those fortunate few who have cracked the code, we measure lifetime customer value. All of these metrics help to create a healthier, more productive business.

There is one critical key performance indicator, or KPI, that’s often overlooked. It’s the KPI that influences performance, focus, concentration, and level of stress.

It’s the health and well being KPI.

A Check Up From the Neck Up

I consider myself to be relatively healthy. I make nutritious food choices – 75% of the time. I keep active to counteract hours of sitting – 60% of the time. Even so, my health, and accompanying energy, could benefit from a tune-up.

As every entrepreneur knows, there is a compounding impact that accompanies a less-than-optimal state of well-being. A waning state of healthiness contributes to an inability to concentrate, poor decision making, and it places a massive amount of stress and strain on all systems.

It makes running a business more challenging.

You Can’t Grow What You Don’t Know

You understand the elements that effect your business metrics. In general, you do XYZ and your KPI reflects the attention it receives. As a result, the business grows.

It’s the same with health and well-being. For sustainable energy, clear thinking, laser-like focus, resilience, and undying optimism to be the norm in our business, we need to recognize the influencers of health and well-being.

Healthy Entrepreneurs Create Healthy Businesses

Search Google for “health and well-being for entrepreneurs” and you’ll get 28,500,000 results in .77 seconds. Egad! (I don’t know about you, but my stress level just went up.)

How does health and well-being affect performance? Here are a few of the staggering numbers generated by recent studies:

  • Unhealthy eating reduces productivity by 66%
  • Infrequent exercise diminishes productivity by 50%
  • Smoking increases the risk of losing productivity by 28%
  • Insufficient sleep hinders the ability to perform tasks

Yikes! In the time it takes to woof down a sugary doughnut, imagine the health of your business stemming from a healthier you.

Start Your Engines

Starting is the hardest part. The body abhors change and fights to keep its old habits.

As you start your day with a nutrition-laden smoothie, be aware your body might want to take a Dunkin’ Donuts detour on your way to a client meeting.

Accountability – and tracking your health and well-being KPI – makes it easier to get started and keep going.

There’s an App for That

Of course there is!

Optimism Health Apps, a mood-charting app, tracks elements that influence your health and well-being. From sleep to diet to stress, Optimism App helps you focus on “stay well strategies” while avoiding the “triggers” of unproductivity and stress. And it works…

In less than 5 minutes a day, the behaviors that are harmful to you will be replaced with choices that change the course of your health and well-being, and that of your business.

When you know it, you can grow it.

Healthy entrepreneur = healthy business.

My sisters play Hay Day. It’s a popular mobile game where you build and manage your own farm. They frequently chat about what they’re growing, whose horses are running freely on the roads, and who generously shares their supplies. It’s creating a fun, common bond among siblings separated by time and distance. Frankly, I felt left out.

At the same time, I avoided getting involved. I told myself it was a waste of time.

Then my cooler-than-Justin-Bieber teenage nephew spontaneously told his Grandma, my big sister, that I need to play Hay Day on my Big A$$ iPad (i.e., iPad Pro).

Well, when your award-winning snowboarding, skateboarding great-nephew thinks his Aunt is cool enough to play Hay Day, it’s game on!

Business Skills Doppelgänger

It’s surprising to experience the similarities between amusing oneself on Hay Day and business building. Could it be a valuable tool to honing one’s business skills…without the financial risk?

Downloading the app is similar to launching your business. Time is allocated to learn the basic workings—like when you start your business. Decisions are made that fit the way you work best.

Naming your farm is no different than naming a business. It’s a piece of your identity that represents your attributes and values to the market. It’s important enough to give careful consideration to choosing the right name.

“Location, location, location” is important for business success. It is being at the right spot where business flourishes. For Hay Day, the location of your fields, chicken coop, bakery, barn, and silos influences performance.

Speaking of fields…successful farmers plant strategically. This ensures the correct quantity of crops is available to make the feed needed for the chickens to lay eggs. After all, without feed, the chickens go belly up—literally. No one wants to see that. Doesn’t this sound just amazingly similar to strategic planning and resource allocation? Trust me, just like in Hay Day, it doesn’t happen on its own.

Then there is the grumpy old man, the happily annoying little girl shopping for her “grandma,” and the Mary Poppins look-alike who randomly stop by the farm requesting to make a purchase. Like your business, you serve a variety of clientele. Can you tell which one best matches the buyer persona you’ve selected to serve through your products and services?

Of course, good strategic planning creates growth. And, as your business grows so does the need for capacity. Purchases needed for expansion require pre-planning and a budget. So it is with Hay Day. Hopefully, you’ve saved for equipment to remove stumps, cut down trees, and pulverize boulders. If not, things stagnate…like business.

There’s no resting on your laurels—on your Hay Day “farm” or in business. The land is continually surveyed for new opportunities.

On the “farm”—as in business—it’s all out growing, selling, delivering, and resource allocation. That is, until a problem develops. (For me, I’m still missing a bolt to expand my silo capacity.) Where do you turn for help?

As far as I know, there aren’t any instructions. You’re on your own to figure out how to run and grow a farm that is successful and thriving until your farm becomes large enough to access assistance.

Sadly, access to help for the small farmer is eerily familiar for the small business entrepreneur. (This is why we’ve geared our services for the small business entrepreneur.)

Overall, Hay Day is truly a game of honing strategic business skills. From strategic thinking to planning to budgeting to resource allocation—each move you make on the “farm,” as in business, determines the degree of success or struggle you’ll experience.

So, if you decide to jump in to hone your skills, be sure to look me up. You’ll find me at “YaYa’s” on Hay Day or reach out to me here.

A conversation with a dear friend reminded me that April is Stress Awareness Month. Initially, I chuckled at the thought. Small business owners seldom need a reminder of the ongoing stress associated with business. As my internal laughter subsided, the magnitude of a month designated to make us aware of the degree of stress we experience—and steps to reduce it—isn’t all bad.

Stress: A Small Business Owner’s Constant Companion

Technology, intended to make our lives easier, is overwhelming. Cash flow, or the lack of, influences performance. Workload, even during times of positive growth, can be crushing.

It goes with the territory.

Stress is a chemical reaction that occurs when we feel threatened. It’s the “fight or flight” imbedded in our DNA that served our ancestors well in more challenging times.

A little stress is good. It serves as a catalyst for tackling projects and meeting timelines. But, too much…and we’re caught in a vicious cycle of diminishing returns.

Stress symptoms are as varied as the causes. They range from subtle to striking. Stress shows up as agitation, moodiness, overwhelm, avoidance, and procrastination. Or, it can be more pronounced as fatigue, headache, forgetfulness, insomnia, and heart palpitations.

What’s really frightening is that stress at work could take up to 33 years of your life.

No matter the manifestation, it’s important to raise awareness to recognize the expressions of stress common to you.

Stress Reduction: An Inside Job

Reduce-stress-small-businessFrankly, I wish I could purchase “stress reduction” with Amazon Prime or outsource it using Upwork. However, reducing stress—its causes and symptoms—is really an internal operation.

Although Google is flush with stress reduction techniques, small business owners remain frazzled. We’ve yet to challenge the core solution to stress. And, until we do so, other stress management techniques are like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound.

To achieve sustainable stress reduction:

  1. Practice mindfulness.
    Mindfulness is a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. It’s paying attention on purpose, suspending all judgment of good or bad, right or wrong. It’s objective, neutral thinking that eliminates the emotional reactions that contribute to stress.
  2. Create a reserve.
    Supplement whatever triggers stress with more than is necessary. For instance, if cash flow is producing tension, design (and achieve) a plan to generate more cash than is needed. When you have more to accomplish than time in a day, a strategy that results in more time than to-dos eases the release of stress hormones into your blood stream.

Yes, it is true—we’ve met the enemy and it is us.

Isn’t it time to stop letting stress dictate your business strategy? Take back control, kick stress to the curb and redirect your energy into accelerating your business growth.

Open your mind and experience the “ah” of sustainable stress reduction with a strategic coaching demo.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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