A Day in The Life of an SME Owner
If you´re running an SME, you probably don’t need anyone to tell you that it’s not quite like working a 9 to 5. The point where most people end a typical work day often marks the halfway point for those running a small business.
Let´s be honest - as thrilling as it is to run own company, it’s not easy nor always glamorous with long, unpredictable hours and having to play the role of CEO, CMO, COO, bookkeeper, HR, and IT expert simultaneously. Often times, as a result, our health may suffer, which, in turn, can hurt our business.
With seemingly countless tasks to do, how do you focus? How do you get everything done? Although running an SME may feel a world away from a traditional 9 to 5, introducing the structure and routine from the 9 to 5 world can make running your small business smoother, personally and professionally.
Start Your Day Right
Running, doing weights, or yoga. Whatever it may be, simply put, there’s no better way to start your day than with exercise. We know, it’s tempting to say in bed. We know at the time it feels impossible to get out from under those warm, comfortable sheets.
However, the energy you’ll get from exercise far outweighs those extra 45 minutes of sleep. As they say, “You’ll never regret exercising”.
Aside from the physical benefits, exercising also sends a message to the brain that you’re committed and disciplined. The fact you’ve accomplished a difficult task so early in the day can have a tremendous ripple effect on other areas of your life such as work.
After you’ve exercised, shower, and eat a healthy breakfast and you’re ready to rock the day ahead.
Do What Matters Most
When you arrive at work, it’s time to put the adrenaline you acquired from exercise and the energy from breakfast to good use. This means doing the most important things first. Dedicating the hours between, say, 8:30am and 12:30pm to the most important things in your business is a clever move.
The most important things may not be the things you actually feel like doing. In fact, they’re likely to be the things you’d usually put off doing because you know they’re not necessarily the most fun.
Again, doing the tough tasks first sends a positive message to the brain about your dedication and willingness to roll up your sleeves and get things done. Additionally, new tasks will inevitably come up during the day and you’ll be more flexible to attend to whatever comes up.
Bringing The Outside World Into Your Day
During lunch, make the time to connect with others. Whether you take lunch with friends or colleagues, it’s important to shift your focus to more social aspects of running a small business.
The afternoon is also the best time to schedule your meetings. Having given to yourself and your business during the morning, you can now introduce the outside world into your day – meet with potential clients or suppliers, explore marketing efforts, get quotes, for example.
5pm is a good time to look at what needs to be done tomorrow, look at your calendar, prepare a to-do list, and confirm or schedule meetings. Preparation and organisation are crucial.
Anything But Work
Make a point to leave work at 6pm. Yes, there are always more things to be done. However, in the step above you’ve mapped out and prioritized what needs to be done tomorrow and now it’s time look at the other parts of your life which are important to you.
It could be time with the family, going for dinner, coming home and practicing an instrument for an hour, or hanging out with friends. Whatever it is, for the next couple of hours, spend your time doing something that does not involve your SME. Or your phone.
Checking In Quickly
An hour before going to bed, it can be helpful to check your e-mail to see if anything urgent has come up or, for example, the confirmation or an order you were waiting on has arrived.
Believe it or not, this checking-in process won’t start your brain again, instead it can help you switch off with the peace of mind that you’re on top of things.
Getting Ready To Sleep
Around 9pm is a good time to unwind. Lay in bed, pick up a book and read for 30 minutes. Or perhaps meditate. The goal is to get your brain into a relaxed state ready to sleep.
Aim for 7–8 hours sleep every night which research has found to be the optimal amount. A good night’s sleep ensures you wake in the best possible shape for tomorrow.
At the end of the day, running a small business means using your time and energy wisely so you can operate your SME as best as possible.