Time and task management are two critical skillsets small business owners need to have. A highly developed focus can help ensure all operational functions of your business run smoothly and that projects are delivered on time. Many of the skills that you use in business management can also serve important purposes when they’re employed in your personal life, helping you create an overall healthy work-life balance.
Many small business owners think they only need to develop a business plan once as a way to outline objectives and potentially apply for funding. However, a business plan should actually be a living document that helps guide the way your company operates and evolves over time. Critical components include marketing, crisis planning, employee management, and financial and accounting functions. The same principles can also be effectively applied in your personal life with regard to creating a household budget. Tracking income and expenditures in an organized way can ensure you’re on sound financial footing.
Part of overall business planning should include both short- and long-term objectives, particularly around growth and expansion. With these critical areas in mind, you’ll be better prepared when it comes to hiring, developing your product lines, identifying your target demographic, and making calculated choices when expanding into new markets. The same skill can also be applied to your personal life, particularly with regard to home and family. For example, when you’re buying a home, you’ll want to consider the size of your family and the neighborhoods you find safe and appealing, as well as issues like proximity to schools, amenities, and healthcare.
Small business owners are most effective when they have the ability to delegate tasks and workloads. Being able to hand off projects and functions is essential to focus on big picture operational matters like customer cultivation, handling high-end clients, financial planning, and long-range goals. According to the Center for Management and Organizational Effectiveness, delegation has a domino effect. You may save considerable time by handing off functions, whether it’s running a meeting, managing customer service, or proofreading documents. Delegation can also work at home, with individual household members having responsibility for various tasks. This might include vehicle upkeep and maintenance, meal preparation, pet care, and the like.
Farming It Out
One step beyond task delegation is the concept of hiring out or “farming out” different business operations as a way of allowing you to spend more time on crucial functions, or simply to recharge. An example might be hiring an accountant to handle your bookkeeping and taxes rather than doing it yourself, or using a formation services company to do the legwork necessary for forming an LLC. You could do these things yourself, but dollar-for-dollar, your time is better spent on generating revenue for your business. The same concept applies to home life. Why spend your weekend cleaning your home, skimming the pool, or grocery shopping when you could hire someone to do those things for you? The rest and downtime are well worth it to prepare you for the week ahead.
No one plans for a crisis, either in their business or personal lives, but the unexpected does arise without warning and calculated response is essential to surviving the situation. For example, crisis planning ensures a company is prepared for addressing things like internal scandal, natural disaster, or an unforeseeable downturn in the industry. This might include developing a succession plan, a communications and public relations campaign strategy, and outreach approaches to both internal and external stakeholders. On the home front, crisis preparedness might include an emergency savings account; homeowner, auto, healthcare, and life insurance policies; and guardianship plans for minor children.
Businesses evolve and change over time, and according to the Happy Manager, change management is an important function of business ownership. Internal stakeholders — your employees — need to understand what’s going on and how it will impact them. External stakeholders — your clients and customers — will also need to be kept apprised of changes and what they mean to their relationship with you. Change also happens in families, whether it’s a relocation, an illness, a change in marital status — any time the dynamics of a family shift, The same principles of change management apply. It’s critical that the head(s) of the family address the issues with honesty and tact.
When there’s a breakdown in communication, it leads to mistakes, misunderstanding, and sometimes, anger and frustration. Communication in both the workplace and the home needs to be cultivated. At work, written directives and guidelines and regular project updates and check-ins can alleviate most types of miscommunication. At home, being forthright with one another about recurring issues and frustrations can be a starting point for identifying and working out differences in a reasonable and loving fashion.
There’s a substantial amount of crossover between the skills you learn running a business and the life skills necessary to manage your family and your home life. Developing a sense of compassion and empathy, as well as addressing challenging subjects head-on, can help both business and family thrive.