DOWN TO BUSINESS
A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director
I recently started a business with an office outside my home. How do I balance running a business with my personal life and family time?
Starting a business often consumes a lot of time and energy. Many new business owners find themselves spending 12-14 hours a day, sometimes 6 days a week, operating their business. That leaves little time for family or fun. A new business can be all consuming because it’s exciting, challenging and unproven. There are questions to answer, customers to serve, records to keep, inventory to manage, taxes to calculate and details to handle. So much needs to be done often by only one or two people. Finding balance in this chaos can be difficult. Not finding balance can lead to burnout, business failure, divorce or illness.
What are the strategies busy business owners use to balance a personal life with business success? They learn time management skills including: planning, prioritizing, being productive not just busy, delegating when necessary and taking a break to recharge. Finding balance is about making healthy choices and implementing tools that reduce stress. Take a first step and determine how many hours per week will be dedicated to operating the business venture. Now, ensure open lines of communication with family members to ease tensions at home and gain support for the business endeavor.
Health professionals at the Mayo Clinic suggest implementing at least one stress reduction strategy from the following options: plan each day, prioritize tasks, say no to non essential tasks, delegate, take the time to do a quality job, break large tasks into smaller tasks, practice the 10 minute rule, evaluate how time is spent, limit distractions, get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, take a time management course or take a break when needed. Try one strategy for two to four weeks and see if it helps. If so, consider adding a second strategy. If not, try a different strategy. Full details about each of these tips is available in the article “Time Management: Tips to Reduce Stress and Improve Productivity” at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/time-management/wl00048.
If it’s time to implement more balance into your business but you are not sure where to start, the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a good place to learn about successful business techniques. To find the SBDC office nearest you go to www.BizCenter.org.