What can you learn from running a household that translates to running a business? In a recent survey by NAWBO and Ink from Chase, 42 percent of women business owners say their personal experience running a household directly influences the way they run their businesses, compared to just 25 percent of men.
Here are four lessons from family life that can translate to business.
- Multitasking can save time...or cause problems. Cleaning the house while talking on the phone can be a great way to get two things done at once or make a boring chore more fun. But if you find yourself multitasking everything, it’s time to stop. Checking your email while trying to hold a conversation with your daughter is likely to lead to hurt feelings and missed nuances in the conversation. Know when to dial back and focus on one thing at a time.
- You can’t do it all. Trying to run a business and handle every aspect of the household will put your over the edge. By the same token, trying to handle every single task of your business will drive you nuts (and probably put your company out of business). Just like you have your kids take out the trash or set the table, learn how to delegate the less important tasks, the simpler tasks or the tasks you don’t enjoy to your employees or outsource them to independent contractors. They’ll gain experience and you’ll gain freedom to do what you really like.
- Don’t micromanage. Your family hates it when you micromanage what they do, right? Your employees do, too. Let your son take out the trash his way (even if that means a few spills until he gets the hang of it). When you delegate a task at work, show the person what needs to get done, give them the tools to do it and then let them do it on their own. Mistakes are learning experiences.
- Make time to connect. Women business owners find it easy to get so caught up in their to-do list, kids’ sports schedules and work that they barely talk to their families. Just like you make time for family dinners and game nights, spend time to check in with your employees by walking around the business, scheduling group lunches or birthday celebrations, and hosting out-of-office events for everyone to socialize. Your business couldn’t succeed without your team, so take time to get to know the people who make it happen.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.