When you’ve been in business for a while, as I have (14 years this year!), it’s imperative that you master two things– the first is work-life balance, and the second is strategies to keep your business interesting and evolving over time.
Work-life balance is key, because, in my opinion, it is what moves you from the start-up phase of your business to more solid and stable ground. The first time you can take time away from your business, the first time you can make choices based on happiness, not just finances, and the first time you can plan a work-free vacation- and take it- these are all milestones in your business history.
When you have hobbies and activities that enrich you and your life outside of work, it’s easier to be creative and effective when you are working.
The second arena- strategies to keep your business growing and evolving over time is what we’ll be looking at for the rest of this article. Why you want to keep your business interesting is because you’re spending hours working at it each week, and the more opportunities you have to be enthusiastic and excited, the better.
So here are three ways to keep your business growing and evolving:
#1) Seek out new collaborators and joint venture partnerships. Meeting new people to work with- even in a short, time-limited way, can infuse new ideas and new energy into your business. It can be fun to meet and get to know other entrepreneurs and see what you can create together. These new relationships can give you access to insights and perspective you didn’t have before.
#2) Make small changes. Read different books than you usually read. Watch different movies. Change up your working routine. Anything you can do, no matter how small, that is new or novel can add freshness and interest to your workday. Two things I’ve been playing around with are a 4pm organic tea break, and shortening the length of my work days. I find that the days I end early, I feel happier about returning to work the next day.
#3) Adopt creative destruction. Creative destruction is a concept I first learned about from Thomas Leonard, who is considered to be the founder of coaching. In this concept, Thomas describes the idea that we purposefully cut back and prune back – creatively destroying certain things- so we create room and space for other things. I’m still working on this one, but lately, I find myself trying to clean up loose ends, reduce my number of areas of focus, and streamline my projects. I’ve been looking at my projects with a critical eye, determining which to keep and which to remove or withdraw. So no destruction yet, but I’m at least entertaining the idea.
As a business owner, your business needs- and your needs for your business- will change over time. By paying attention to, and honoring your new ideas and new approaches, you make space for your business to grow and evolve right along with you.