The Best Boss
It's All in the Mind
"Sometimes I wake up grumpy; other times I let him sleep"
- from the Web
Believe it or not, the entrepreneurial spirit exists in nearly everybody. The trouble is, few deliberately climb out of their rut and take action. Being your own boss is a matter of belief - that intangible "extra" in the mind of the true entrepreneur.
Beliefs precede results!
Check your own thoughts against the following:
Attitude of mind is the vital intangible. False belief digs the rut, belief in self paves the way to success.
Beliefs precede results!
Source: The Business Magazine February 1995
Entrepreneur 101: Balance
Even in Slow Economy, It's Important to Have a Life
by Jim Hopkins
Teetering on the tightrope of entrepreneurial life, many business owners struggle to balance jobs and personal lives, especially during the summer when taking a vacation might seem impossible.
John Mason, founder of executive-search firm Perimeter Group in Atlanta, hasn't taken a vacation in 3 years. "It's just disgusting," he says. "But in a start-up, there's really not a lot of options."
Experts agree that taking time off is hard during the early years of an entrepreneurial venture. But they also say it's critical to avoiding burnout and to maintaining the fresh perspective start-ups need to charge ahead. Treat time off like any other business necessity, experts say: schedule it and don't cancel. Tack on vacation days to business trips or plan 3-day weekends.
Here's a guide to striking a balance.
Step 1: Accept reality
Many entrepreneurs simply don't have vacation-oriented personalities, says Rina Spence, a fellow at the Centre for Business and Government at Harvard University. Take them away from work, and they're immediately at wit's end. Who can blame them? A start-up's early years often are a caffeine-fuelled frenzy of 18-hour days stretching into the weekend. "I don't think you can take away the all-consuming part of it," Spence says.
Would-be entrepreneurs need to know this before they take the plunge. "If what you're looking for is, 'Gee, I want to be an entrepreneur, but this weekend I need to go and kayak: you're probably not going to be a successful entrepreneur," she says.
Step 2: Guard against burnout
Cynthia Driskill, founder of Dallas-area human resources consulting firm COG & Associates, says her company's sales softened with the economic downturn. That led her to cancel a 2-week family vacation this summer. "I didn't feel secure leaving," she says. Driskill, who has 100 employees, knows the importance of time off. Without it, she doesn't feel as creative and can't handle stress very well. "I try to show by example that it makes good sense and that it's good for the company," she says. "And I'm kind of failing as the leader this year."
DriskiIl isn't the only executive cancelling a vacation this summer: 43% of 223 CEOs and other senior executives say they're cancelling trips or cutting them short, according to a survey by executive search firm Christian & Timbers. "This will be the hardest-working summer since the recession of 1991," the firm says.
Many entrepreneurs worry their staffs are too inexperienced to be left alone. That's part of Mason's predicament. He started his executive-search firm in 1998 and now has a dozen employees. But they're not quite seasoned enough. As a result, the only time he's taken off in the past 3 years was a week after his father died. Mason, 47, worries that he's running out of steam. "I've about burned myself out," he says. "I'm almost 50. I feel like I'm 57."
That's the danger, says Alice Bredin, author of The Virtual Office Survival Handbook and a small-business consultant to American Express. "Once you burn out, it's really difficult to get your energy level up again."
Step 3: Make breaks a routine
Nearly 70% of 300 small-business owners surveyed by American Express plan to take a vacation this summer. While 75% say they'll be gone 1 or 2 weeks, 10% say they'll only take a mini-getaway of 3 to 4 days. For entrepreneurs who can't imagine taking off a week or two, Bredin recommends 3-day weekends or breaking up the workday by taking a morning off to garden or an afternoon to golf.
Equally important is to schedule time off and stick to it. "If family, friends and doing non-work-related activities are truly important, then you need to find opportunities to schedule those activities in as your regular routine," says Joseph Weintraub, a management professor at Babson College.
For those who can't completely escape the office, many entrepreneurs combine work with vacation.
Step 4: Change the scenery
Harvard researcher Spence, 52, has started several companies, including a chain of health centres for women. She takes 2-week trips to Europe, where she takes advantage of the 6-hour time difference between her vacation destination and her East Coast home. While much of the USA sleeps, she plays the role of tourist. Then, around 4 pm, she gets on the phone and conducts business back home.
She takes a cell phone and laptop computer with her so she can keep up with email. Such a holiday still feels like a vacation because it means a change of scenery. "I feel like I've expanded my horizons a bit," she says. "I feel like I've done something a little different."
Bonnie Clewans, who owns a bead-and-jewelry crafts store in Buffalo, visits the Italian city of Venice each fall so she can buy glass beads at the famous factories there. While there, she also squeezes in some vacation time. Clewans, 50, can't vacation during the summer because that's the busiest time of year for her store, the Bead Gallery, and its online operation. She doesn't have much backup at her store. She has one full-time employee and six part-timers. She is her company's founder, owner and chief manager. She knows a lot about trying to maintain balance in her work and personal life. Two years after opening her first store in 1994, she established a second location and a website. Her Internet-related business was so successful that it quickly dwarfed her brick-and-mortar sales. She was working 80 to 90 hours a week before she closed the second location.
Emmet Keeffe and Maurice Martin - co-founders of iRise, a 100-employee software developer in Los Angeles - extend their business partnership to a vacation partnership. For the past 3 years, they've vacationed together with their families in tow. The goal: to combine fun with long-range planning far from the office. Their company, started in 1995, now has a strong enough management team to allow the founders to get away. Managers are told to contact them on vacation only when absolutely necessary. To make sure they stay free of the day-to-day grind, Martin says they have an ironclad rule: "No cellphones, no laptops allowed."
Source: USA Today Wednesday 11 July 2001; ninth in a series of "how-to" articles for small business owners.
Our Wildest Dreams
by Joline Godfrey
Women are more likely to take less up-front risks and tend to grow their businesses more slowly, whereas men will throw all the money in the bag at the get-go and make a huge shot at the big score. For whatever reason, however, women entrepreneurs are big business, even if they are small business.
Source: Our Wildest Dreams, on women in business
Mother Can Help
Source: Funny Times May 2001
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