Tag Archive for 'Work'

Celebrating two milestones

If you will permit me, today I would like to talk about a couple of milestones of which we’re kind of proud.

On Monday, November 17, 1997, I began broadcasting The Small Business Advocate Show for two hours Monday through Friday, and ever since that first day the program has been nationally syndicated. This week we’ll celebrate our 17th anniversary and the beginning of our 18th year on the air.

In January 1998, we began simulcasting our show on the Internet, which makes us one of the pioneers of Internet streaming. We’ve been archiving our show since 1999, including multiple on-demand streaming options. In 2007 we added the ability to podcast all current and archived interviews.

This Monday will be my 4,421st live broadcast since we began — including all the holidays (next week I’ll broadcast my 18th consecutive live Thanksgiving Day show). Since that first broadcast, I’ve conducted over 17,600 live interviews with small business experts and entrepreneurs. When you hear me talking about making sure that you’re passionate about the business you start, if you didn’t already, now you know I practice what I preach.

From the beginning, my primary programming goal was to focus on the fundamentals that are important to successfully starting, operating and growing a small business, and to make all of the things we do available to you for free. On that last note–the free one–I must say thanks to our outstanding corporate partners, without whose support the free part would not be possible. I especially want to thank our Presenting Sponsor, Insperity, for ten great years together.

For my work on behalf of you over the years, I’ve received a number of national awards from organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration,FORTUNE Small Business magazine, TALKERS magazine, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Association of Small Business Development Centers, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and New York Enterprise Report.

Also this week, we’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of this publication, The Small Business Advocate NEWSLETTER. This week’s edition, Volume XVI, Issue 1, represents 780 consecutive weekly issues since 1999. Thanks for being a loyal subscriber.

Finally, thank you for your support, comments, many words of encouragement and especially the honor and privilege of being your Advocate. I’m already looking forward to the rest of our journey together. More than anything else, I want you to know how proud I am of you as a small business owner and what you have accomplished.

Nothing I do as The Small Business Advocate is about me — it’s all about you, my heroes, small business owners, regardless of where you live on planet Earth.

Find work you love and enjoy

Whether work is a blessing or a curse depends on what you are working on and your attitude about it. James Matthew Barrie, the Scottish novelist said, “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”

Many hard working entrepreneurs were once unproductive employees, but now, with their wagon hitched to their own star, work is the stuff of their dreams. Many productive employees understand the blessings of employment and become the most valuable of resources: the entrepreneurial employee who loves his or her work.
Work feeds our stomachs with food and our spirit with accomplishment. Work creates, produces, energizes, and fulfills all things humans need for survival and happiness.
If work is not a blessing for you — whether owner or employee — the problem is not work itself, but the work you are doing. The Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Work is love made visible.”
Life is short.  Keep searching until you find work you can love.  I did.

Four reasons you should take a vacation from your business

Could you use a vacation?

Of course you could and most of us know time away gives any leader a better perspective. But polls show less than half of small business owners are likely to take off a whole week for vacation.

Perhaps this is a better question: Could your business use a vacation from you?

Of course it could. Your absence will reveal organizational weaknesses that need attention as well as strengths you may have overlooked.

Regardless of your motivations, here are four ideas to consider to help you take more time off.

1.  Define success.
Webster defines success two ways: 1) a favorable outcome; 2) gaining wealth and fame.
Embracing both definitions as having equal value will help you recognize that living long enough to enjoy the fruits of the second definition—with your loved ones—must be part of your success definition.

2.  Hire quality.
Taking time off requires being able to leave your business with a team that’s trustworthy.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of leaving your baby in the care of others, your instincts are probably good, but your hiring practices may not be. Part of your interview process should determine whether a prospect is the quality of individual you would trust with your company in your absence.  By the way, this is one of the best times in history to acquire high-quality talent.  It’s a buyer’s (hirer’s) market.

3. Delegate.
If you’ve already assembled that trustworthy team, their usefulness is limited by your ability to delegate.  Delegating isn’t easy for entrepreneurs; you’ve done all of the jobs, and you know how you want them done. But there’s an old saying that successful delegators embrace, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  If you cringe at the thought of how things won’t be perfect in your absence—get over it.

4. Leverage technology.
No one has to be completely unplugged anymore. There’s plenty of affordable technology that can serve as your security blankie by helping you “mind the store” without actually being there. And if you practice, no one will notice that you checked email on your smart phone while rolling over to tan the other side.

Finally, if you’re not intentional about living a balanced life—that includes vacations—you may accomplish the “wealth and fame” part of success, but the big celebration may involve others toasting you posthumously.

Write this on a rock …

Give yourself—and your business—a vacation.

Balancing our work and life

Work is essential as the activity that delivers the things necessary for our survival as humans. Beyond survival, work is the lever of our intellectual curiosity and the blessing that has produced civilization.

Congratulations, civilization, because many small business owners love what they do so much that they actually don’t think about it as work – or that they would ever stop.

Alas, facing that indictment, this business owner would be guilty as charged.

B.C. Forbes (1880-1954), founder of Forbes magazine and grandfather of Steve Forbes, said, “I have known not a few men who, after reaching the summit of business success, found themselves miserable upon attaining retirement.”

Is Mr. Forbes warning us about retirement or the dangers of a life without balance? If the latter, consider this Blasingame Small Business Principle: “The work we love can morph from blessing to curse if it exists without balance.”

If you love your work, congratulations; but simultaneous with that love, make sure you also love whatever can counter-weight your work to balance the scales of your life: golf, tennis, knitting, or — and this is a big one — your child’s ball game.

Research shows that balancing our beloved work with other interests enhances physical and mental well-being, and actually increases productivity. And it makes us much more interesting and desirable to be around.

Balancing work and life is easier for employees than it is for an owner because they’re typically concerned only with their assignments. But when the proverbial “buck” stops on the owner’s desk, it’s loaded up with all of the challenges and opportunities facing every aspect of the business. And even if you’ve acquired the ability to take all of this in stride, “all of this” quite simply just takes a lot of time.

Consequently, achieving balance requires conscious intention, plus a little bit more. Finding the right combination of work and balance in the life of a small business owner requires the execution of at least three of the things that we use to achieve success in our businesses: planning, scheduling, and discipline.

The virtue of having a business or financial plan is self-evident. But we should be just as disciplined about a plan that balances work with other interests. Otherwise, paraphrasing Mr. Forbes, we may become miserable upon retirement.

Surely, the recipe for happiness includes work, relationships, and experiences that create memories.

Make sure your memories aren’t just about work.

I talked with Jim HarterChief Scientist for Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices and author of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, about achieving balance in life both personally and professionally. Click here to listen or download our conversation.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

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