Thoughts on Measuring Success

I don’t know about you, but I always get reflective around the end of the year. Maybe it has something to do with the weather. Or it could be the sappy holiday music that’s been filling every public space for the last month. At any rate, lately the topic of success has been occupying my brain-space. What is success? How should we measure it? Is success in business different than success in life? For small business owners, that’s a tough distinction. We pour so much of our time, energy, and ourselves into our businesses that it’s hard to separate the two.   With that in mind, I sat down this morning to contemplate what makes me feel successful. And here’s what I’ve discovered. Money – a typical measure of success for businesses (and individuals) – does not guarantee that I feel successful at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong: making money feels great and losing money hurts, but that’s not what gets me through the day. Feeling successful has more to do with my daily mindset. If I feel productive and accomplished at the end of the day, then it’s been a successful day. But if I feel frustrated or discouraged, I don’t feel successful.   I still don’t have any answers to my initial questions (What is success, etc.). My inclination is that the definition of success is unique to each individual. Personal and business goals are probably different, but for small business owners, they are related. Maybe even dependent (ie. Personal success is dependent on business success and vice versa).   While my morning...

Tired of Putting Out Fires? Get Proactive!

Shout out to all firefighters! You are awe-inspiring! You stare danger in the face and take action. You don’t let fear stop you from doing what needs to be done. Firefighters are much in the news these days with the wildfires in the Appalachian Mountains. So when someone said to me that he was busy putting out fires at work, it got me thinking. Do you know any unofficial firefighters? I bet you do. Unofficial firefighters are the business owners who spend all their time putting out fires. They’re so busy dealing with emergencies that they can’t actually do any of their “real” work. If you are one of those unofficial firefighters, you’re not doing yourself or your business any favors. Unlike real firefighters, who regularly confront scary situations, constantly putting out fires at work is a sign that something scary is being avoided. It’s a sign that something needs to change. Change is scary, but it’s time to stop reacting to your circumstances and become proactive. What does it mean to be proactive? Being a proactive business owner means looking ahead to solve problems before they paralyze your business and planning ahead to weather economic storms. Being proactive also means that you’ll be more productive and that feels good. You’ll be able to better care for your employees and your clients, both of which will have a positive impact on your business. How to become more proactive: Manage your time. I see lots of people who are busy being busy. There’s always something to do, but your job as the company leader is to prioritize and delegate where...