Back to School tips for Small Business Owners
This morning I finally did what I've been needing to do for a couple of weeks now: I stopped living in denial. Fact is, the summer is over and it's time to start another school year for kids all across the country. While a huge part of me is excited to have the house back to myself, I also realize that the start of a new school means getting used to new routines. For busy entrepreneurs like myself, organization is the biggest key to surviving the start of a new school year with having a nervous breakdown.
Although there is not much time left to prepare, there are still a few things that you can do to make the transition to the new year a successful one.
1-Join the App world-For those of you who may not have embraced technology as much as the rest of us; get ready to let go of their techno-phobic ways. Taking a a few minutes to browse the bevy of apps available to you on your smartphone or tablet is one of your best moves. There are tons of organizational apps out there that sync the calendars of everyone in your family, and allow everyone to update their schedules from wherever they are. There are also study tools for kids that allow you to take advantage of valuable study time while traveling to and fro. Lastly, apps like the Blogger platform and Evernote allow you to take advantage of jotting down great ideas on the go before they manage to slip your mind.
2-Plan for the next day-Planning ahead is key! Even if it means that you have to stop in the middle of your day, you will be grateful that you stopped to get yourself repositioned. I cannot tell you how many times I told myself not to stop in the middle of a task to write out a solid plan for the next day, only to forget pertinent things on my list.
3-Find a buddy-Rome wasn't built in a day, and it certainly wasn't built alone. Even if you're an entrepreneur that works alone, find yourself a "pacing partner", someone you can check in with to ensure that both of you are on track and completing your specified goals. It doesn't necessarily have to be someone in your same field, and it doesn't have to be done in person (who has time for that?!). Your pacing partner can be someone you communicate with via email, Twitter, or even Skype. If you're short on time, get a stopwatch and time yourself. Give each person two or three minutes to go over goals, vent, or give advice. You will leave with a clear head, inspiration, and a sense of accomplishment and direction. A pacing partner is a good way to help you stay on track and make the most of your time; thus allowing you more hours in the day to spend with your family.
4-Evaluate your financial needs-For small time entrepreneurs, this may be a little daunting, but its absolutely necessary. Taking the time to look at your finances may mean the difference between spending money on new marketing ideas that will bring you more clients and eventually more money, versus wasting precious dollars on unnecessary items that are not yielding positive results. You may be surprised at where you can trim the fat, and add or delete items on your expense report. You may find that you have more money than you thought that will allow you to give yourself a raise, and use the extra money on tutoring for the kids or taking mid-year vacations.
5-Ask for help-Many of us who are engaging in small business practices are faced with very limited budgets that don't allow for much wiggle room when it comes to hiring new faces. However, that doesn't mean that you still can't get help for your business. Turn to resources like family members or even a neighbor that you trust to help you with small tasks such as running to the post office or picking up the kids. If you can't afford a tutor, ask an older neighbor who is in high school or college if they would be willing to come over and help your younger child finish their homework or prep for a test. You can trade off things like dinner for broke college students or rides to the mall for high school students. If finances permit, by all means hire someone to come in and help you out with time consuming tasks like laundry, dog walking, or grocery shopping. If your kids are old enough, you can even count on them to help you get yourself organized. Teach your kids how to use the copy and fax machines, and have them sort through mail and clip coupons. Its a great way for them to earn their allowance, learn responsibility, and even get inspired to run their own businesses.
Getting back into the groove after a long summer vacation doesn't have to be extremely daunting. There are small ways that you can take advantage of the few extra minutes in your day to get on track and spend more time with your family.
What are some of the things you do to get back in the 'Back to School' groove? Share your tips with others who may be suffering the Back to School Blues.