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Happy, Healthy and Productive

Who's in charge of You?

When this writer sold his business, he knew that he was in for a number of changes in his life.

After all, I was a fourth generation business owner that had only known working in a family owned business. Surely, as I went about enacting a career change, I would experience situations that would be substantially different from the tradition that I had grown accustomed to. These were traditions that people in retail, whether they be owners or managers, are well aware of.

My expectations of change were fulfilled. However, after having been away from "frontline" retailing for a while, I now know I should have experienced more of the upside of business. From my experiences, and the many business owners I have had conversations with in the past two years, I want to share with you these ideas that should be so important to each of us. It is these ideas that will assist owners in being more profitable, as well as healthy -physically and mentally.

Decide where you are going - Look at more than the sales goals for the next month or year. Look at what you want personally for this month, this year, and where you want to be five years from now.

Work hard and play hard - Every successful business owner works very hard, probably too hard. For many, taking a day off and doing absolutely nothing would be very hard. Give it a try. It will be great for your business, your family, and your physical and mental health. You will also find which of your employees should be allowed to manage your business in your absence.

Establish written goals - There should be goals that are difficult to achieve as well as easy goals in which you can feel "the thrill of victory". Goals, both personal and business, should be written and posted in a place for you to see each day. Another important part of the goals is that they also have written time lines for their implementation or completion.

Have close advisors - The word friend should be able to describe several people that you can talk to intimately about your business and your personal life. These folks could double as accountants, doctors, lawyers, spiritual leaders, and customers. Make sure that you spend time with each of these individuals. Let them hear the positives as well as the negatives.

Push forward - One of the worst feelings is to go home and think nothing has been accomplished in your business during the day. Part of technique to defeat this is to examine the tasks that you are performing and determine which of them could be accomplished by someone else.

An old definition of management states that if you are doing something that could be handled by a subordinate, then you are not managing.

Take a notepad and keep track of how much time is spent with others in conversation. For most of us, this will be too much time wasted, and from there we go home feeling that nothing has been accomplished. Don't procrastinate. From my experiences, there were times where decisions were made for me because the time frame to make a decision had expired. For, not to decide is to decide.

This second suggestion may appear to be a contradiction. Unless there is a financial advantage, make a decision at the last possible minute. You may never know when additional information may expose itself that will affect your decision.

Have one calendar - Using one calendar, denote all of your personal and business schedule. There is great value in utilizing a "Day Timer" or smart phone application to schedule your day. Having a "to do" list provides you with a feeling of accomplishment as you mark off the items as they are completed. Having the list also allows you to "multitask" as you go through the day. While you are driving to the accountant's office, you can stop by the cleaners, shoe repair, and the book store to pickup that special ordered book.

Capitalize on you moods - We all experience days in which everything goes our way, just as we experience days where we wonder why we are in this business. By making a point to always be aware of our personal moods, you will know when to press forward or when to slow down.

If you are experiencing one of those off days, there are two points that you should always remember. As retailers, many of us seem to have the habit of seeing the glass as being half empty, or the traffic light as being a stop light. Remember, it is your positive attitude that allowed you to achieve the level of manager or owner.

Secondly, no matter the situation, you will look at it differently tomorrow. Take the moment to regroup and approach the situation then. In this situation, today is definitely not the time to handle situations with your personnel.

Likewise, capitalize on your positive days. Get the most of the days when you feel that nothing is beyond your capability. There are probably some of the projects that have been hanging around that you can complete and wipe from your "to do" list.

Celebrate - In my business, my employees knew we had accomplished a team goal even before it was announced. Just like the professional football players when they scored a touchdown or intercepted a pass, I had my own version of a victory dance. I would go through the same motions when I achieved a personal goal, or received a confirmation of an order that I had worked so hard to earn.

Today, I go through the same actions when I receive confirmation of a seminar engagement. It is my way of celebrating, and rewarding myself for hard work. Make sure that you have your own way of celebrating.

Take care of yourself - You are the most valuable asset of your business. Watch your health, both physically and mentally. If you have ever been seriously ill, you know that you have little concern for your business when you are concerned about yourself.

Also, take care of yourself financially. Too often, I have visited with the business owner that is paying himself too little, or not paying himself the appropriate rent for the building he owns that his business occupies.

This is not to suggest you bankrupt your business to take care of yourself, but that you have reasonable financial expectations of your two most valuable assets - your time, and for those that own the business, your capital.

All of this from someone that has been there, and wishes to share with those that deserve the best - independent businesses.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.
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St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
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