When we think of budgets we often think of financial budgets. In my interactions with entrepreneurs and small business owners, I’ve come to realise that there are two other kinds of budgets: time and mental energy. These other two budgets also play a critical role in how well a business is run.
Let’s look at the first kind of budget: money. Tracking cash flow is an obvious budget. You don’t know how much you can spend (or should spend) unless you know how much you are earning. An obvious thing to do. Sometimes tricky to implement. But entirely doable.
The second budget: time. Something may be really interesting to do. The time it will take to do it doesn’t work with the rest of your schedule. Rushing from one project to another is exhausting. Eventually competing deadlines will conflict. When thinking of taking on new work – also consider how much time you have.
The third budget: mental energy. Sometimes you have the money and time to do something. You look at a project and think this could work. When you start getting into the details of the project, all of your energy starts to wane. It becomes difficult to get the simplest of tasks done. You end up hating the project and the work. That’s never a good sign.
When you’re deciding whether to take on new work, take into account these three budgets. If you are interested in the work but the project would stretch one or more of these budgets, approach colleagues to see if you can negotiate a better balance.
Self-awareness is the ability to be introspective, to identify one’s thoughts and emotions. It’s a skill that can be practiced and improved. Self-awareness is often underdeveloped in entrepreneurs but is critical to their success.
Entrepreneurs face many challenges and obstacles. By increasing their self-awareness entrepreneurs can select better courses of action. Consider the following examples:
Sofia started her business about 5 years ago. She’s taken workshops, webinars, and hired coaches on how to market her business. For all of her efforts, she remains stuck. She has some sales but her business isn’t developing the way she wants it to. She's working longer hours, attending more networking events, putting more effort into sales. But nothing is improving.
Olivier’s tried selling to one demographic for over a year. He’s tried several approaches without much success. As Olivier works on his self-awareness, he starts to realise that he’s not entirely comfortable in his target demographic. He’s trying to sell to them because that’s what he thought he had to do. Olivier stopped his efforts and reflected. He realised that his product would better serve another market, one that he was less familiar with. He would have to change his marketing and his approach but they would likely be more receptive.
For all of their similarities, Sofia and Oliver are different in one key aspect: Olivier is much more aware of how he is interacting with his environment. It’s this awareness that allows him to select more appropriate courses of action. A better learner turns into a stronger entrepreneur.
Have you had any ah-ha moments where self-knowledge changed the way you approached a situation? Feel free to share.
Allo there ~ I'm Renée and this is my blog on leadership and business development. Here I explore the nexus between leadership, conflict resolution, networks, innovation and prosperity.