your businessHow we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.
~Annie Dillard

For most of us, especially business owners, our days are spent chasing what we call productivity. The more we feel productive, the more we manage to pacify ourselves with the feeling that we are doing what’s right, what is important.

Is it really that important? Is most of what we’re doing, in our bid at success, nothing more than coasting through the day, not being totally aware of what’s going on around us?

What are the three most important things in running a business? The first is your product or service. Is it needed? Are you able to provide it with relative ease and at a competitive price? Is there a market for it?

The second most important thing is your customer base. Who will purchase this? What problems will it solve for them? Do they absolutely need it and if not is it needed enough that it will sell? Included in this are the activities involved in providing it.

The third is relationships. Yours with your customers and how you will relate to them to create a demand for your product, answer their questions and provide a valued service or product.

The realities of running your own business have always involved long hours, intense work and an ability to market to customers well. What you have to decide is what is more important to you. Running a business and having a life or running a business and only running a business. Efficiency is not a trait that many of us are born with but it can be learned. Many business owners are as easily distracted as the rest of us and just like us, they like to play hookey and spend their time doing what they want to do, rather than work. Wise business owners have also learned to concentrate their time and effort on the customers that buy from them the most. That way they aren’t putting in wasted minutes or hours dealing with the difficult customers who don’t end up purchasing from them, but go elsewhere. Learning to decipher one from the other is worth your effort.

The most successful business owners have a vision and they keep it in mind while working. If you look at your time each day and divide it into chunks that are worth so many dollars, you will quickly decide what is worth doing and what isn’t. Concentrate fully on your market and be consistent with your products and services. Decide what is most important about your business, what you can offer that will bring the most value and then go after it. This way, you are working only a certain amount of hours where you concentrate fully on the most important aspects of your business. If administrative work and details are taking up too much of your time, hire a virtual administrative assistant – one that can keep up your website, take care of your email, write your blog posts for you and handle all of the other little things that are needed to fully operate a small business.

Decide what you love to do, what is most important to you and do it. Realize that productiity isn’t everything, having a life is much more important. Your job and business may be rewarding but there are other things in life that bring much greater rewards when they are combined with your small business.

© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2015

image courtesy of thevisualcommunicationguy