In many ways, leading a business is like being a parent. After all, many of us think of our businesses like our children. We birth an idea and nurture it based on our values and ideals, and (hopefully) we watch that business grow into something successful.
Running a business is a full-time plus job, and so is parenting. We pour countless hours and immeasurable energy into building a successful business. We manage emergencies and have to ensure all the ducks are in a row so that you are organized and ready for the next thing. We do exactly the same things in our home. Being the manager of both a household and business means that we can transfer many of the concepts we use to parent to running a business and vice versa. Sales and business leadership is a lot like parenting.
- You must know what you stand for. Believing in something bigger than ourselves drives us to try harder and do better. In parenting, often, our children are that driving force. In business, the goal is unique to each of us. Perhaps your motivation is making more money so your family can enjoy more vacations together, or perhaps your business motivation is broader in terms of wanting to provide a specific product or service to improve your community. Additionally, we instill our values and beliefs into our children in parenting. We raise them to understand our concept of what is right and what is wrong. The purpose is to instill a legacy of values and ideals for future generations. In business, we want to leave a legacy as well. We must evaluate and define for ourselves what that legacy is.
- Be adaptable. Every parent knows that even the best-laid plans can go awry. As a survival mechanism, parents have learned to be masters in the art of adaptability. This ninja-like adaptability can be a very effective tool when applied to our business decisions as well. Things will go wrong. You will have missteps. Pivots will be necessary. Adaptability allows us to be resilient, get back up, and try something new in the pursuit of our goals.
- Embrace process and structure. Everyone learns and works differently. However, everyone benefits from continuity and streamlined processes. Schedules and charts help keep us organized at home, so if you have perfected what works for you in one area, why reinvent the wheel? Apply those same systems in your business. Use that extra time and energy towards tweaking and adjusting those systems to fit your business model.
- Set boundaries and responsibilities. Even if you are your only employee, it is important to know your key responsibilities and goals in your business. Track the key actions and results that move your business forward. Make yourself a star chart like you would for your kids if that helps you, but be sure you are setting and meeting your own standards and responsibilities. Remember that it’s also important to set boundaries for yourself and adhere to them. Your mental health is important for both your business and your personal life, so be sure you are carving out the time necessary to refuel mentally and physically. Say no to the things that don’t move you closer to your goals.
- Delegate and ask for help. Just like you would call your mom or friend to ask for advice in a situation with your child, reach out and ask for help from others who may have more experience or knowledge in a particular area of business. Seeking mentors or coaches can help you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes. Keep in mind that asking for help might mean realizing that you need to hand off tasks that are using up too much of your time and energy. Delegate when necessary.
Consider this birthday party scenario for your seven-year-old child.
Your child sent out twelve invitations, and nine children have rsvp’d. So you have planned for ten children plus a parent for each child. You know there will be a lot to be done the day of, so you enlist the help of a few family members. Your aunt is a wonderful baker, so you asked her to make the birthday cake last month. Your mother has a great eye for design, so you put her in charge of decorations, and your brother is tall, so you ask him to help hang the taller ones. Your twelve-year-old and her friend are full of energy and driving you crazy with their non-stop chatter and giggling, so it seems fitting to have them blow up balloons and put together twelve goody bags. Then the morning of the party, your aunt calls to tell you that there’s been a disaster with the cake, so you quickly have your partner run to the store to buy a new cake. Crisis averted. As the children arrive for the party, two of the children have brought additional siblings, but because you had your daughter and her friend make extra goody bags, none of the children are upset or feel left out. The birthday party is a success!
Celebrate your win! You planned, delegated, and adapted like a pro! Think about how you can apply the tools used for pulling off the birthday party to areas in your business.
Empowered Leadership helps businesses find freedom through business coaching, executive coaching, assessments, and training. Stacie is an entrepreneur who helps business leaders balance their time to run an effective business and enjoy their life.