As a business owner, there never seems to be enough time in the day. Between providing the best possible service to your current clients, meeting with prospects, managing your staff and dealing with whatever issue the day brings, business owners tend to be the definition of the word “busy.” But busy doesn’t always equal successful. It’s important that we learn to work smarter, not harder, and maybe even pick up some helpful habits along the way.
Here are 10 habits of successful business owners for you to consider.
- Preserve Your Body: A healthy body promotes a healthy mind. Exercise, and drink plenty of water. Eat healthy 90% of the time. Enjoy the many benefits of being good to your body. Moreover, preserving your body means you will live a longer, healthier life; hopefully, long enough to watch your business grow and flourish.
- Open Your Mind: To quote Forbes contributor Kelsey Meyer, “Leaders must be readers.” Reading can be beneficial in so many ways. Whether it’s a book, a blog post or an infographic, anything that exposes you to new ideas or reconnects you with top-of-mind concepts is a beneficial habit for success.
- Plan Ahead: We’re all familiar with the dreaded to-do list. But if you start small, by creating a list of tasks for the next day or things you want to accomplish by the end of the month, little by little, you’ll be able to move mountains.
- Give Thanks: No matter how big or small your team, they are at the core of what’s keeping your business running. Although there’s certainly a time and place for larger forms of gratitude, even a simple “Thanks” or “Great job” at the end of an email, or even better, in person, can go a long way. This is especially true when days are chaotic and you know your team is working at full speed. Keep in mind that gratitude is just as important outside of the office. Your family, friends and biggest supporters deserve a heartfelt thank you.
- Delegate: It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks, but it’s important that you focus on the big picture and let others lend a hand. If you don’t have time to work on your budget, create a marketing plan or maintain your payroll, hire someone to do it. This goes for outside of your business too. Hate mowing the lawn? Hire a landscaper. Tired of food shopping? Try out grocery or meal-kit delivery services. There’s no shame in asking for some assistance. Learn to get by with a little help from your friends.
- Find Balance: Finding a work-life balance is such a popular topic these days, and it’s because it really is vital to your success. Try unplugging from your phone or computer by a set time every evening. Schedule in some daily downtime. Book that long overdue vacation. Find activities outside of work that bring you joy. This will enable you to approach your business matters refreshed and energized.
- Set Goals: As a financial advisor, I’m constantly asking my clients to set goals so we can put together plans and work toward accomplishing them. Business owners can benefit from the same tactic. Where do you see yourself, both personally and professionally, in 10 years? Five years? Next year? Next month? It’s important to consider both your long-term and short-term goals. They might be unclear, seem insignificant or feel very far away, but writing them down and devising a plan is a step in the right direction toward achieving them.
- Declutter: Clutter tends to cause stress. By finally cleaning out your home office, letting go of a professional or personal relationship that is no longer working, or listening to some meditation podcasts to help clear your mind, you’re setting up a healthy, more efficient environment.
- Give Back: As the saying goes, success isn’t measured by how much you have, but by how much you give back. Studies have shown that volunteering and giving back to your community not only has positive physical health benefits, but can help take your mind off your own problems, fight depression and enable you to see the bigger picture. It’s also a great way to meet new people and expand your network.
- Do What Others Are Unwilling to Do: You have likely heard of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment of the late 1960s. Led by psychologist Walter Mischel to test the impact of delayed gratification, the experiment very simply offered children one marshmallow to eat right away, or the option to wait 15 minutes and receive two marshmallows. The end result was that those who exhibited a bit of control and waited for two marshmallows grew up to earn better SAT scores and were described by their parents 10 years later as significantly more competent, better at handling stress and concentrating, and having more self-control than their peers. The ability to do what others don’t want to do is what makes for successful business owners. So, delay gratification. Climb over hurdles, and consider taking risks. Successful business owners tend to wait for the second marshmallow and, as a result, reap the rewards.
Time is the one thing we all wish we had more of, and the one thing we can’t buy or recover once it’s gone. As business owners, it’s important that we spend our time wisely, and learn from one another by utilizing proven best practices and implementing successful habits.