By Doug Kisgen, author of “Rethink Happy: An Entrepreneur’s Journey Toward Finding Authentic Joy“
When a business is struggling, there are many areas where problems could be lurking. Here are a few ways to revitalize a struggling small business, namely prioritization, mentorship, and attaining authentic joy.
Prioritization is key. When a small business is having trouble, the owner is often left to juggle a myriad of projects and responsibilities. What can be done when your to-do list gets too long? Think of the four D’s: Do it, Delegate it, Defer it, or Drop it.
It’s simple but not necessarily easy. Prioritizing in this way helps to process information without taxing your willpower heavily. Here is a great worksheet to help you out.
Whether attempting to prioritize emails, phone calls, tasks at home, or projects that need to get done, filter the items through this list. “Do it” usually refers to something you can complete in less than two minutes. If that is the case, you can simply do it now and skip the rest of the list.
If the task is something that someone else can do as well as you or better, you should delegate it. I personally take it a step further in my own application and say that everything that can be done by someone else should be delegated.
The 80% rule can come into play here. If someone else can do it at least 80% as well as you can, then you should delegate it. As a business owner or manager, your ultimate goal should be to complete projects and tasks that only you can do best.
Assign a date and time in the future to complete this particular task. Clearly, now can’t be the right time to do everything.
We all have things we want to do but aren’t necessary. These are tasks or projects that actually do not have to be done, so you can drop them from the list completely. For this strategy to be effective, you have to commit to not considering these tasks again. This tip will lead to less busywork and more productive efforts.
Mentorship is something that might seem to have gone by the wayside today, especially where egos tend to reign supreme. Working with someone who is more experienced than you can be greatly beneficial.
Nothing great was accomplished alone. Having a mentor can help you recognize which tasks you need to do, delegate, defer, or drop. The mentor can work with you to help identify weaknesses and strengths, so you can more effectively utilize your time.
3. Authentic Joy.
Today, business is all about getting ahead, and many times it means you have to – and it is acceptable to – step on anyone who gets in the way. I believe in a different philosophy: giving of yourself to achieve authentic joy.
Authentic joy is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness is a feeling. Joy is something that comes from within, and it is present even in the darkest times of a business.
Find authentic joy by thinking about others. Doing so will not go unpaid.
How do you apply this in your business? Compliment an employee on a job well done at least twice a week. It doesn’t have to be anything big. For example, telling an employee “you did a nice job on that email I asked you to send out” or “thanks for cleaning up the conference room after our meeting” is a small gesture that can go a long way. The key to authentic joy, both in business and personal life, is putting others first.
Doug Kisgen is a serial entrepreneur, organizational consultant, and author of “Rethink Happy: An Entrepreneur’s Journey Toward Finding Authentic Joy“. Doug’s current company, Kisgen Group, works with entrepreneurs and executives to help them get what they want through the use of a short survey that validly measures seven work-related traits. Follow Doug on Twitter @dougkisgen.