4 Things to Start Doing This Year

by Beth Rifkin

2 min read

Small business owners have numerous responsibilities that sometimes prevent personal and professional development. If you’ve been spending most of your time running your business, you may be missing out on opportunities to grow your business and improve your work-life balance. Try these four things for more balance this year.

Continued Learning

Taking courses that teach new skills and impart industry trends can help you stay ahead of the competition. It may not be possible – in terms of time or money – to take a college course on campus or online. Instead, consider making a short list of things you want or need to learn and identify free and low-cost continuing education options in your community. For example, if you want to learn how to increase your profits or hone your business plan, consider signing up courses at your local small business center; some course offerings are free, while others cost as little as $25. Public libraries, banks such as TD Bank and the Government of Canada offer a wide range of low-cost and free business education courses, seminars and webinars year-round.

Blog Regularly

If you can’t make time to maintain a blog, you might be missing valuable opportunities to connect with prospective customers or clients and be a thought leader in your industry. You don’t need to blog daily to make an impact. Consider writing in your blog once per week. If you find yourself having more than one idea in a particular week, write several posts and use your blogging platform’s tools to schedule them to go live in the future. You can also use a tool such as HootSuite to schedule Twitter and Facebook posts announcing your blogs in advance.

Take a Vacation

Rest and relaxation are healthy, but it can be difficult to leave the business you’ve been working hard to build. Failing to take adequate time away from your business might cause you to burn out and lose your focus. To get the rest you need to remain enthusiastic about your business, think about planning at least one week-long or two-week-long vacation this year. If you have employees, train them to assume some of your responsibilities while you’re away. You might also plan to share some of your clients with a trusted colleague if you’re a freelancer or an independent contractor who typically works solo.

Get Offline

The internet can be addictive, but staying online for too long without breaks can lead to eyestrain, headaches and other health issues. Plan to take some time away from your computer and smart devices for set amounts of time during the day, no matter how challenging it might be. You could, for example, plan for your devices to be off during your coffee breaks and meals, or when you’re out taking a walk. You might also plan to talk to people who are physically near you, such as your employees, in person rather than sending them email or chatting online.

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