Optimizing performance for our business is a primary objective for any small business entrepreneur. All you have to do is google “better business performance” to uncover 61,400,000 pages of tips, tools, and techniques. From better accountant to employee engagement to business models, the options are endless . . . and a bit overwhelming, I might add.
Yet, it appears that there are few resources devoted to what the overwhelmed, exhausted, yet passionate small business entrepreneur needs to know to truly spark greater business performance.
The Great Game of Business
Honestly, sometimes I think small business ownership should be an Olympic sport. It requires a herculean amount of mental, physical, and emotional energy.
Ask any high-performance athlete and they will tell you that performance is 90% mental. The same can be said for extraordinary execution in any discipline. Yet, the majority of resources are often focused on the technical aspects, such as staffing, marketing, and finance.
Granted, those are vital elements of any business operation. Yet, little information — and even fewer resources are left to care for the most important asset of the business — the owner!
The Fit Entrepreneur: Five Transformational Tactics for Improved Performance
Fitness is a term commonly associated with workouts, gear, sports, health, nutrition, and advice. All of these components are vitally important to create the stamina required for the endurance sport of small business ownership.
In addition to attaining the physical fitness vital for small business performance, adding these crucial directives prevents you from hitting the wall of neglect and ineffectuality.
- Care for self, first. One would think we would have learned this valuable lesson by now! Following the lead of the airline industry — put your own mask on first.
- Don’t think too far ahead. Small business entrepreneurs are a creative, optimistic bunch. It’s the one glaring skill that sets us apart from our corporate counterparts. Yet, thinking too far in advance — with little correlation to planning strategically — generates countless ideas which often adds to our sense of overwhelm.
- Plan only the next step. It would be nice to complete a project in one sitting, like the parents of a toddler eating a complete meal at one sitting. This is virtually impossible given all that is required.
Business projects are composed of moving pieces and growing insights. When you’re needing to put your project on pause, plan for the next step — and only one step — before leaving the project.
Punctuating it with a sticky note makes it much easier to pick up where you left off.
- Find your best performance cycle. Moving from one project to another, one fire to another, throughout the day is a real grind on the body and the mind.
There’s tons of research to support working in 60–90-minute segments followed by 5–15-minute rest and rejuvenation intervals . . . if that works for you. Much depends upon the intensity with which you focus.
If you have a tendency to focus intensely (like I do), you may find working in 30 or 45-minute work cycles with a 30 minute “recess” to be your ideal cycle for achieving peak performance.
Discover what is best for your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
- Sandwich physical activity between intense exertion intervals. Contrary to what we think, we have a finite amount of mental energy available. Concentrated work cycles put a strain the brain resulting in “decision fatigue.”
One of the unhealthiest things we can do is immediately move on from one brain draining project to the next. Adding a bit of a physical intermission disrupts the wearing progression.
Whether it’s a brisk walk around the block, a 20-minute yoga class, or folding that load of laundry that’s been in the dryer for three days, physical activity replenishes our brain energy and prepares us for our next mental undertaking.
As a business owner myself, finding my ideal performance cycle is a work in progress. And, as a small business coach, I can honestly say we need to do better. Rather than search Google for the latest ground-breaking business growth initiative, why not snag one of these tips and apply it immediately. The results will be — well, in a word — transformational.