What 5 days in bed taught me about business
For almost two months I have been unwell every day. It has gotten to a point, that whatever is happening in my body, put me permanently in bed for 5 days straight. No computer. No television. No phone. No people around. Just my dog who has definitely developed cabin fever and is dancing at her own shadow right now, because she needs entertainment.
I won't go through the illness, but I will say it is a wake up call...I'm actually not invincible, and all that health stuff that happens to 'everyone else' can actually happen to me. I always thought that I would never really get sick, other than allergies or a common cold - all of which I am prepared for. I even ski like a maniac because I truly believe that no fall will keep me down, because the bad falls only happen to other people. My world is dilusional...that is for sure.
Laying in bed and only having my mind to entertain me in between bouts of sleep, I was able to put my world in perspective; what I want out of life, what's important, where I want to see my business go, what I could improve in my business, how I can better handle certain situations, my building project and a list of other things that make up my life.
What was remarkable is that I was able to see them really clearly. For all intents and purposes my going through these things in my mind, allowed me to process them and see it from an outside perspective. In some ways, I think the last 5 days will really help me better define the future, and make more decisions with the big picture in mind.
It can happen to you, even if you think it can't
Whether you like it or not, you are not excluded from anything in life. More specifically, health issues. I live a healthy life in general; organic food, vitamins, walk, ski and have regular massages. For my age, I think it is fair to say that I am in shape, but not in the overly "I'm a health nut way". More in a moderate sense, where I am conscious and actively living a fairly healthy life.
With all of that in mind, I have become unwell, and it has dragged on because I kept thinking that being unwell was temporary, and WebMD was helpful in establishing that. Firstly, don't trust WebMD, go to a physican, and never believe that "it won't happen to you".
When you get to over 40 years old, start getting yearly complete health checks, and all the other precautionary tests that you should do as a man or woman. It's a day out of your life, and it could mean whether you live a healthy life going forward. Early prevention does mean a better life and will ensure that you have the capacity to keep doing the things you love in life for a lot longer.
Business needs big vision, no matter how big the business
I have a business plan with a big vision, but sometimes that gets put to the wayside when other things comes up. Being a sole owner is not only lonely but it often isn't the best solution for growing a business internationally and expanding your product range. To get to the next level, you really need to look to others to bring in skills you don't have and money to fund growth. I have always been scared of this because hopping into bed with someone you don't know is scary. You really don't know if it is going to work out until you take the leap of faith no matter what due diligence you undertake. Sometimes you have to trust your gut instincts, and not what other people say and if you are anything like me, you second guess that all the time - but going into business with another partner, you have to have faith that this is right.
In the US in particular, a partner would be great that is already in the same game or at least technology or professional services. Having a CEO in the company driving this growth and leading the future of the business in the US is imperative to getting it right. We can't keep on dancing - we need to finish what we started.
How people are brought up, determines what type of employee they will be
If I look at my best employees and in particular the one's who have been with us for some time, there is one common thread; they were brought up right. They respect others, work hard, don't have a sense of entitlement, bring something to the table often, and know that we are in this together. We are family. So much so, that my long term employees are all in my Will and deserve their slice of the pie. I'm not sure many other people do that in business, but I know that they have my back and I have theirs. If something happens to them or their families, I am the first person to put up my hands, and during this time of being unwell, they are the first to offer help.
People may not have been brought up in the best circumstances, and that doesn't mean that they are not employable. It's more about their values and principals.
Work out how you spend your time
If you have multiple business investments, each need time - but how much? Work it out. If you don't dedicate time to these investments, quite often you may find that they may not be the best investment afterall. I have various businesses but I don't think consciously about what time I account to the different businesses. I need to. It would make me a much better operator.
Don't employ family or close friends
Being let down by family or close friends is personal. Being let down by people you only see at work, is just part of business. The best thing to do is to not employ family unless you are sure they are actually the people you would have take over your business. It's not fair on other team members and it's not good for family relations.
Life is going to get a lot better. More structure, better decisions, and a more conscious way of living. I'm looking forward to it.