Smallbiz Owners – Can You Have It All?

Picture courtesy Penn State University. Downloaded from under the Creative Commons Licence

Indra Nooyi Picture courtesy Penn State University. Downloaded from under the Creative Commons Licence

It was one tiny stone that shattered an entire beautiful glass castle. The beautiful castle was built over many years. A castle that ensconced a new generation of women who were brought up to believe that they could do anything they wanted – have a great career, be perfect wives and wonderfully nurturing mothers. They were brought up to believe they could have it all without any problems.

The small stone that brought the castle down was a statement made by Indra Nooyi, Chairperson and CEO of the global giant food company, Pepsico Inc. At the interview Nooyi stated that the anthem “women can have it all” is nothing but a fairy tale and there is nothing more farthest from the truth.

This statement was made by her in an interview she gave David Bradley of The Atlantic as part of the Aspen Ideas Festival. Made by one of the world’s most powerful female CEOs’, this statement went viral instantaneously and stirred up a raging debate across the globe.

Fact is that, in today’s world, neither gender can have it all. If working and career oriented women are paying a price with their mental health, their constant emotional battle with feelings of guilt and depression, the men are not far behind.

work-life-balanceBut the question you have to ask yourself as a smallbiz owner, is can YOU have it all? As a business owner you are in control of your destiny, unlike the Nooyis’ of the world who are under constant pressure from the likes of Wall Street. And yet, there is a growing generation of small and medium business owners who are increasingly believing they cannot have it all.

As someone who has ventured into the rough and tumble world of business, I completely understand the imperatives that drive small and medium business owners – especially at the startup phase. But you must evaluate the price you may be paying for this. You must take time to get the wind in your face to provide you with much-needed energy that will recharge you.

Jennifer Cox - Picture downloaded from National Network of Embroidery Professionals

Jennifer Cox – Picture downloaded from National Network of Embroidery Professionals

In a recent post, Jennifer Cox, President of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals put out some great tips for small and medium business owners to maintain a semblance of balance in their lives as business owners and their personal lives.

Look at this list and see if any of these strategies would help you to successfully juggle your business and personal priorities in balance.

  • Retain a sense of humor and keep fun in your life – there is nothing like humour to release the stress levels that build up within you.
  • Perfection isn’t always necessary, but quality is – we tend to mistake quality to be perfection, but you can achieve good quality without killing yourself to being a perfectionist.
  • Be aware of drop-dead dates (or create them) – embrace deadlines and, when you make them, acknowledge the accomplishment.
  • Delegate and follow up regularly to reduce stress – you cannot do it all. Acknowledge the fact that there will always be some activities that have to be delegated to others. Be fearless in doing so and quickly determine what can you hand off to others in order to focus on what you do best?
  • Be (or get) organized. Use calendars and timelines; evaluate and prioritize “the have to do, need to do, and want to do tasks”. Build in self-time and planning time.
  • Get outside help with marketing or sales. What can you outsource and have it done as effectively as if you did it yourself?
  • Manage your in-box, folders, phone calls and events. A little maintenance every day prevents overwhelm.
  • Set the timer. For example, allow just 15 minutes of desk straightening daily.
  • Take three things you are unhappy about and turn them into a goal statement. Create the plan, then let it go or get it on your schedule.
  • Get rid of clutter to make room for something else – physically or mentally.
  • Block time. Schedule chunks of uninterrupted work time each morning or afternoon.
  • Make five-minute revisions to your to-do list.
  • And finally—the most important question to keep asking yourself: Does what I am doing right now line up with what is important to me? If the answer is no, you are the only one that can change that!
Balance - Sepher Ehsani

Balance – picture downloaded from Ehsani, under the Creative Commons Licence

This is a pretty good checklist. I do realize that, for many, a lot of what is stated above will be difficult to implement. But, if you have to retain your balance between your tough business life and your personal life, you have to take the necessary steps to implement some of the above strategies. And who knows, by doing so you might just beat the odds and have it all.


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One Response to Smallbiz Owners – Can You Have It All?

  1. Mandar says:

    good article Ananth.

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