Are you giving appropriate attention to your Valentine this month? No, I’m not talking about buying flowers for your significant other who leaves his or her shoes in the middle of the floor. I’m talking about celebrating your other love: your business. It seems that no one really knows how Valentine's Day came about. In fact, historic events that tie in with it sound pretty gruesome and nothing at all like 'love' to me
But, whether you agree with the sentiment behind Valentine's Day or not, the fact is - we all like to be shown a bit of love - AND there’s no reason why we can’t apply that to your brand and business too. It is a labor of love after all!
We spend so much time working in our business that we rarely come up for air to actually nurture it and show it proper appreciation. This month we’re calling “Putting Heart in Your Business”, in honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s love our small businesses a little bit more. Here are 12 great ideas to get some love going in your business.
1. LOVE WHAT YOU DO
It seems so obvious - but if you love what you do, it'll show in your work, your communications and brand.
So, remember why you started your business in the first place!
Go back to basics. If things crept in along the way and you just aren't feeling it - make adjustments until you feel that sense of pride again.
Outsource to a Virtual Assistant. Hire a contractor. Change your products or services.
2. PASSION PROJECT
Find a passion project. Something you CAN’T WAIT to get your hands on again. That gets you *exploding* with creativity and expression.
When you find it - your passion and creativity flow into other areas like your work - and is often what brings the aha moments you and your brand become known for.
3. CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS
Blow your own trumpet cause unless you work with your mama - no one else is going to!
Look back often. Remember where you started AND how far you’ve come. Write down all the things you’ve achieved, people you’ve made a difference to and CELEBRATE!
You don’t need to make a song and dance, if that’s not your thing. But... always remember to acknowledge your achievements and learnings - big or small.
4. THANK PEOPLE WHO HELP ALONG THE WAY
Thank your partners in crime, friends, family, colleagues and mentors who have helped you or also made sacrifices along the way.
You don’t need to be soppy and tell them all that you love them or make everybody Valentine’s Day cards - that could be a LOT weird! - but drop them a message, a gift card for a coffee or just make some small gesture that shows you haven’t forgotten their part in your professional journey.
5. SHOW CUSTOMERS YOU APPRECIATE THEM
There's heaps of ways to show your love and appreciation to customers. Be creative with how you do it! Try to think of ways other than giving discounts or sending gifts.
Here at Business Solutions by Design, we have gotten into a habit of highlighting our customers on our social media sites. When meeting with potential clients, we inform them this is a part of what we do and they are almost always taken back by this. Our accountant tells other people about our business? Yes, we show them love all year long, and you can too!
Here’s some ideas:
- donate or help to raise awareness of a cause that affects your audience
- if you deal mostly with parents have a picnic where kids are welcome so you can all network or brainstorm together
- organize a small business networking event
- run a free workshop on a common pain point
- offer a value-add
- donate to a cause that resonates with your ideal customers- see our projects here
- tell your audience about your VIP clients - share their websites or latest blog post.
At every point in every relationship you have to sit back and re evaluate your life. Is this making me happy, is this something I can see myself with for a long period of time? Asking yourself these questions will force you to look at your business and see what you love about it and what doesn’t make you happy anymore. If you dread going into work, or stare at the clock waiting for the day to end, maybe it’s time you step back and make some changes, not just with your current career, but with yourself.
7. YOU LOVE YOUR JOB, BUT DOES IT LOVE YOU BACK?
What is important to you not just in the workplace but outside? Is having plenty of vacation time important to you when making business choices? Do you like to “leave the the job at the office” and not worry about business issues while with family at the end of the day? These are things that sometimes make you feel resentful about your job and you need to address what makes you happy not just with your business but outside as well. Sometimes running a small business is a 24/7 job and in those instances you live and breathe your job and that leads to burn out. Bring back the love for your business by making it what you need it to be. It’s your business after all.
8. BE KIND TO YOURSELF & REINVEST
You are your business. So invest in yourself.
Enroll in that course. Do that workshop. Sign up for that coaching seminar. Learn about mindset.
Or simply give yourself some time out and hire some help. Show yourself some LOVE. Your business will thank you for it when you come back feeling refreshed.
Put resources back in! Consider:
- working at your online marketing
- hiring someone to manage your social media
- training for your workers
- the rebrand you’d been thinking about
- lease a hot desk or office space
- upgrade to that new equipment you'd been thinking about
9. INTERACT + ENGAGE
Have your customers feel valued by interacting with them. Engage them in conversation. Be GENUINE! Get to know them and create a culture where you're open and approachable. You want them to know their concerns will be heard if they had any, and that YOU, GET THEM!
Show customer's you have an invested interest and value their customer journey.
10. DO YOURSELF A SOLID
Be FIERCE in going after what you want for yourself and your business. Surround yourself with people that lift you up, sing your praises and appreciate you.
Know when to call it a day and do what I call ‘weeding’. Not all colleagues or clients are the right ones for you.
Remember your values, your why and your main people often.
Look for opportunities to learn.
11. DEVELOP PROCESSES
When you do something, do you start from scratch every time, even though you do it frequently?
That’s a great argument for building a consistent process. By documenting how to do a particular task not only does it make it easier for you to complete it but when you hire staff, you can delegate and direct them to do those tasks exactly how you want them done with minimal explanation.
Being able to just hand some new hire instructions because you documented the process will go a long way to help someone get up to speed quickly.
12. PLAN AHEAD
“But Amanda, I don’t have time to plan ahead. I’m too busy putting out fires right now!”
Believe me, I get it. But if you put just a teeny bit more energy into planning things out now for the future -- whether that’s your blog’s content calendar, your travel schedule, or which of your staff will be working when -- you will have fewer fires to put out next month and beyond.
It will take some getting used to, thinking so far ahead, but doing so will ensure that your business runs smoothly even if the unexpected illness or travel disruptions occurs.
By loving your business, the time, energy, and even money you invest into its growth and success will seem so much sweeter. So today and every day, put your focus on your long-term relationship with your small business.