As a consumer, you probably have a short-list of periodic “must do” activities – dental check-ups, haircuts, etc. Similarly, in business, you should make time for the following. Put dates on your calendar – in advance (as you would with doctor’s appointments or school meetings) and make sure you keep to your schedule.
1. Review your P&L and make tough financial decisions before problem areas become major issues. Meet with your accountant or other financial adviser and talk about ways to improve profitability.
2. Reach out to your key customers and thank them for their business. Consider a formal survey to find out how you’re doing on service delivery.
3. Take an objective look at your marketing/sales plan (and if you don’t have one, create one!), and brainstorm new ways to grow. Make regular networking a part of your “must-do” calendar too. You’ll never grow your business if you sit in your office all the time.
4. If you have a staff, take the time to meet as a team to discuss critical objectives and projects. Make the time to meet one-on-one with every key person and conduct honest (two-way) reviews. Talk about ways they can develop and help your business grow. Make time to celebrate successes (and discuss mis-haps, so you’ll learn for next time).
5. Make time for your own health and well-being (physical and psychological). You’re of no use to your business and clients if you’re exhausted, unhealthy, or totally focused on work. Entrepreneurs are notorious for failing to make time for themselves. If you’re really having a tough time breaking away, consider simply tacking a few hours on to a business trip for “me time.”
Nancy A. Shenker is the CEO/founder of theONswitch, and is the co-author of Don’t Hook Up With the Dude in the Next Cube: 200+ Career Secrets for New Grads. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.