We are so excited to introduce Episode 020 of With Grace and Gold: The Podcast – a business education podcast for small business owners and entrepreneurs. With Grace and Gold: The Podcast features 5-minute episodes with clear, actionable steps to guide you toward successful small business ownership. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Spotify, or elsewhere!
According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review: Two thirds of people will settle into a new job in around three month’s time. Now, that’s when people are in a position with processes and procedures already in place — in positions where others have gone before them, where a training manual has probably been written, and where certain expectations are held and will continue to be held.
But what about for entrepreneurs — people who are literally creating their jobs each and every day?
If you think about it, our days are completely filled with decisions — decisions about our approach to creating our businesses, decisions about how to respond to problems and opportunities that arise, and decisions about how to grow or expand our businesses.
With plenty of information available to us — but no one, official road map to follow — the choose-your-own-adventure aspect of being an entrepreneur is both exiting and a big responsibility. Because, like we talked about in Episode 019, the decisions we make today can impact the trajectory of our businesses in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
In Episode 017, we talked about how — when we rely solely on our own approach (our past experiences, our personal preferences) — we could actually be blocking our unique path to success.
So, today, we want to share 5 bad business habits we, ourselves, broke — 5 seemingly small habits which changed the trajectory of our business, and are definitely worth breaking!
5 Bad Business Habits We Broke
Breaking a bad habit is one thing, but not knowing you have a bad habit to break is another. When we rely solely on our own understanding of our businesses, it can take us awhile to see the impact of our bad habits — to realize something needs to change, and to discover a solution we believe in.
The 5 bad habits we’re going to explore today are 5 bad habits we broke early on in our business journey — and we believe breaking these 5 bad habits truly changed the trajectory of our business, for the better.
- Going forward without a project management system. Like all small business owners, in the earliest days of our small business, we were creating systems within our business. For the first few months, we documented all of our client processes using a shared document — a list of each client we were serving, and where they were at in our process. We quickly discovered, though — a list wasn’t enough. We found ourselves not knowing where to put notes specific to each client, not knowing when we had last checked in with our clients, not knowing if we were waiting on something specific from our clients… All of that – plus being a team of two – made things get very complicated, very quickly. We needed a project management system, so we could program in our step-by-step process, apply the process to each client we were serving, and open up our computers every day knowing where each client had been, where they were, and where they were going in the process. Whether you manage 3 clients or 30 clients, a project management can help you serve your clients well, serve your business well, and free space for creativity and innovation, too! When we shared about our project management system and our process with students of our With Grace and Gold Workshop, one response we heard was, “Doesn’t having systems create less of a personal experience for your clients?” And our answer is, “Having systems not only allows you to serve your clients really seamlessly in a professional and elevated way — but it also allows you to build in the personal touches you want included in your client experience.” Having systems doesn’t mean you’re rigid — it means you’re dedicated to creating a streamlined experience for every client you serve. When we think about businesses, like Walt Disney World, where experience is at the top of their priority list — we know their amazing guest experience is the result of many systems working together.
- Going forward without set business hours. Having business hours is helpful not only for you as the owner of your business — but it’s also helpful for your customers and clients. Having business hours allows you to hold yourself accountable to the amount of time you’ll spend working within your business. It allows you to spend valuable time outside of your business — which, in the end, will help you bring your best self to your workday. Having business hours informs your customers and clients of when you’ll be available, which helps to build credibility and dependability as they journey through your process with you. Having business hours is a small, quick decision you can make — and its impact lasts and lasts.
- Keeping our e-mail Inbox open throughout the day. At With Grace and Gold, our business hours are 7 AM – 3 PM, so we try and check our email Inbox at 7 AM, noon, and 3 PM — and to keep our Inbox closed otherwise. We’re human, so we don’t always keep this rhythm perfectly. However, we know first-hand closing our Inbox tab for even for a handful of hours can make a huge difference in our level of concentration as we work… so it’s definitely worth a try!
- Checking in on social media throughout the day. We use Buffer and Planoly to plan our social media content, so our hope is to plan our content calendar in advance, allow our content to post automatically — and to check in on social media just a couple of times per day to respond to questions or comments as needed. Doing so at the beginning and end of our business day is a helpful way to stay on track — because we all know how easy it is to fall down a social media rabbit hole!
- Comparing our small business to other small businesses. It’s human nature — we, as humans, like to look around and see what everyone else is doing. It’s our very natural, very human way of making sure we’re on the right track. But as we learn, as we grow, and as we build confidence — we come to find, there really is no right track. Building a small business is about serving people well, in your own, one-of-a-kind way. All of the decisions you make as a small business owner are your own; those decisions add up to creating a business and a lifestyle you love and feel proud of — and those will always be unique to you. The truth is, behind-the-scenes of our business, our days are too full to look around and see what anyone else is up to. From beginning to end, we’re working on and in our business, and looking back, we think that’s the goal. This bad habit could be the most important one of them all — because it changes the way you approach your business altogether. Comparing your small business to other small businesses holds you back — but creating freely and confidently from a place of peace and purpose sets you free to experience your definition of success, both personally and professionally.
The sooner you can break these habits, the sooner you’ll experience peace of mind, joy, and confidence as you approach each work day. What did you learn from today’s episode? Let us know by leaving a 5-star rating and a review of our podcast.