On Independence Day we celebrate our nation’s freedom. While not necessarily as grandiose as national patriotism, entrepreneurs everywhere recognize the importance of being able to enjoy the freedom of determining their occupation and work schedule.
Unfortunately, we often bind ourselves to our practices when they should be setting us free. In a Small Business Trends article, author Jamillah Warner asks whether our businesses are helping us achieve personal freedom or, “are they simply keeping us too busy, too tired and too disconnected from the most important relationships in our lives?” She poses three tips to help the self-employed truly celebrate their independence:
1. Take a day off. Some small-business owners become so involved in managing their businesses that they forget to take time off. This constant focus on one element of your life will throw everything out of balance, so it’s important to schedule downtime for yourself. Warner explains, “Besides, ideas on how to fix what’s broken and how to move forward just may come from those down moments…”
2. Serve differently. Independence also implies individuality and uniqueness. Your business should stand out from the competition. Take some time to consider what, exactly, is different about your practice. Warner suggests, “You can become the conversation, just by serving your clients in a different way. Maybe you are the company that knows your customers by name. Maybe you have an annual back-to-school shopping giveaway. Maybe you teach a summer business class for teens. Make waves by being different.”
3. Update and/or vary your training. Perhaps you want to specialize your accounting practice for the small business. Or maybe you want to vary your service offerings by offering QuickBooks services, tax preparation, loan application services, and business turnaround help. In any event, you should look for training that can help you serve differently while also taking the time to invest in yourself. Warner says, “Be sure to follow your lesson up with quick execution within at least 10 days of your training. It’s all too easy to hear good advice, meditate on it, then never use it.”
Celebrate your independence this year by applying one or more of these tips. Freedom isn’t so free when it means you’ve become a slave to your own practice.
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Warner, Jamillah. “3 Things Small Businesses Can Do to Celebrate Independence.” 18 July 2011 smallbiztrends.com