It’s the start of a new financial year and we want to help you get off on the right foot.
In a pandemic climate, there’s been a lot of talk about healthy habits for our day-to-day lives, and how implementing them can help us cope when things seem a little uncertain. We want to expand on this conversation from a financial perspective, not just with an assortment of tips and tricks but with a holistic perspective for business owners. Developing good habits can bring structure to the elements of life that we actually have the ability to control, rather than putting valuable energy into the things we can’t, and in turn helps us work and live more effective and healthy lives.
In the words of Stephen R. Covey, “Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness or ineffectiveness.” (pg.25, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
Good habits enable business to become more effective, boosting revenue and productivity. But it’s not only the businesses bottom line that will benefit, it’s you too! A recent study by Xero reveals that 39% of business owners say that running a small business has negatively affected their health. What does that tell us? We need to address the underlying areas of business that are wearing us down, and conquer them in order to build something not only profitable, but sustainable.
There’s two major areas for business owners to get on top of: the mental game, and the financial game. This is Part I – The Mental Game, and we'll be sharing Part II – The Financial Game soon. Implementing these habits into your life will help to create momentum that you can use to build on personally, and for your business.
Part I – The mental game
The mental game is a huge focal point when talking about financial habits. We often cap our potential unknowingly by not approaching business and finances with good perspective. We’ve worked with many businesses owners over the past twenty years, and have seen first hand the crippling nature of the mental game. In order to lay the foundation of the financial habits that we’ll discuss in Part II, we’re starting by tackling some of the general concepts that prevent business owners from succeeding before they’ve even started. Integrating these habits into your day-to-day will help you gain clarity, build confidence, and sustain long-term business.
There’s all sorts of things that come between business owners and their success, but by far the most crippling can be their negative inner voice telling them they’re not good enough. In order to be truly effective in the area of finances, you need to have a clear, confident mind. So, our first order of business; busting open our inner-narrative, and becoming proactive in changing it.
The inner narrative is a secret killer because a lot of the time it’s hidden in our subconscious. Yet it’s a very real voice saying things like, “you’re no good at finances”, or “there’s nothing you can do to help your situation”. This can leave you feeling discouraged, or even totally overwhelmed before you’ve even started.
The best way to address the inner voices is to be aware of them, and start speaking the opposite. When you’re feeling discouraged about your business, your finances, or yourself, check in with yourself and ask, what am I telling myself about this? If it’s something like, “I’m a bad business owner”, or “this money stuff is too hard - I’m no good at it”, then actively change that story by speaking the opposite. It can be a simple sentence that rewrites the story in your mind. Try something like this: “I’m a good business owner, I know it’s hard but I can do this”, “look how far I’ve come since I started”, or simply “I’m doing a good job”.
Integrating this positive self talk into your day can significantly shift your mood and productivity, along with your ability to engage with those around you in a positive way. Integrate this as a habit, and you’re on your way to shifting your inner narrative for good, and enabling uninhibited work to be done.
Thinking clearly and long-term
Our culture has been shaped to think short-term these days. If someone sees success in another person or organisation, they might ask, “how did you do it?”, as if there’s a trick, or a quick-fix that got them their success. “Shortcuts” like this are often narrow-minded and produce short-term results that don’t address underlying issues. Having a holistic way of thinking deep and far, will produce the kind of transformative results that truly matter.
The best way to practice thinking long-term is to get a clear picture of what you’re working towards, and why you’re working towards it. Spend some time writing down your goals. Partner with someone you know and trust to walk through what you’re working towards, and crucially, “why” it’s important.
When we know where we’re going, we can set clear steps towards it. By regularly remembering our long-term goals, we can energize ourselves, make proactive steps towards our goals, and maintain the patience required to stay the course when challenges come our way. And, it helps others we are leading to have a clear sense of direction too, making for a more inspired, productive and proactive team.
“More money seldom solves someone’s money problems.”
— Robert T. Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad)
Part II to come...
Winning the mental game is the first priority in succeeding as a business owner, and the best way to set up for success in the financial game. We'll continue exploring the financial habits of a successful business owner in Part II – The Financial Game, which is coming soon. Sign up to our mailing list to receive a notification as soon as it's released.